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What if the Holocaust had never stopped?

What if, no liberating armies invaded the territory stormed over by a draconian State? No compassionate throng broke down the doors to dungeons to free those imprisoned within? No collective outcry of humanity arose as stories of the States abuses were recounted? And no court of World Opinion seized the States leaders and held them in judgement as their misdeeds were chronicled? What if none of this happened?

What if, instead, with the passage of time the World came to accept the State's actions as the rightful and lawful policies of a sovereign nation having to deal with creatures that were less than fully human? And what if, curbing some of the more glaring malignancies of its genocidal excesses, the State increasingly became prominent as both a resource for industrial powers and as an industrial power in its own right? What if the State could rely upon the discretion of other nations, engaged in their own local outrages, to wink at its past, so that the lie told to and accepted by other nations was one the State could tell itself and its "real" citizens without fear of contradiction? What if the men who conceived, fashioned, implemented and operated the machinery of destruction grew old and were venerated and hailed as the "Fathers" of their country and as men of insight and renown?

What if, the Holocaust had never stopped, so that, for the State's victims, there was no vindication, no validation, no justice, but instead the dawning realization that this was how things were going to be? What if those who resisted were crushed, so that others, tired of resisting, simply prayed that the "next" adjustment to what remained of their ways of life would be the one that, somehow, they would be able to learn to live with? What if some learned to hate who they were, or to deny it out of fear, while others embraced the State's image of them, emulating as far as possible the State's principles and accepting its judgment about their own families, friends, neighbors and joined the State as their own oppressors and abusers? And what if others could find no option other than to accept the slow, lingering death the State had mapped out for them, or even to speed themselves along to their State-desired end?

What if?

Then, you would have Canada's and the United State's treatment of the North American Aboriginal population in general, and the Indian Residential School Experience in particular.

The patterns of abuse in Aboriginal Boarding and Residential Schools in North America researched and documented by the Four worlds International Institute for Human and Community development and the other Aboriginal research groups in Canada and the United States include the following:

Physical Abuses

· Sexual assault, including forced sexual intercourse between men and women in authority and girls and/or boys in their charge;

· Forced oral-genital or masturbatory contact between men or women in authority and girls and/or boys in their charge;

· Sexual touching by men or women in authority of girls and/or boys in their charge;

· Performing private pseudo-official inspections of genitalia of girls and boys;

· Arranging or inducing abortions in female children impregnated by men in authority;

· Sticking needles through the tongues of children, often leaving them in place for extended periods of time;

· Inserting needles into other regions of children's anatomy;

· Burning or scalding children;

· Beating children into unconsciousness;

· Beating children to the point of drawing blood;

· Beating children to the point of inflicting serious permanent or semi-permanent injuries, including broken arms, broken legs, broken ribs, fractured skulls, shaffered eardrums, and the like;

· Using electrical shock devices on physically restrained children;

· Forcing sick children to eat their own vomit;

· Unprotected exposure (as punishment) to the natural elements (snow, rain and darkness), occasionally prolonged to the point of inducing life-threatening conditions (e.g., frostbite, pneumonia);

· Withholding medical attention from individuals suffering the effect of physical abuse;

·Shaving children's heads (as punishment);

Psychological Emotional Abuses

Enforcing Unsuitable Living Conditions

· Starvation (as punishment);

· Inadequate nutrition (e.g., nutrition levels below that of needed for normal growth and subsistence);

· Providing food unfit for human consumption;

· Exploiting child labour;

· Forced labour under unsafe working conditions;

·Inadequate medical services, sometimes leading to children's deaths;

Omissions of Action

Church Inaction

                    · Failure to bring local incidents of abuse to the attention of higher church authorities;

  · Failure to bring local incidents of abuse to the affention of federal and appropriate provincial governmental authorities;

· Failure to protect children under their care from the sexual predations and physical and emotional abuse of older children also affending Residential school;

· Failure to remove known sex offenders from positions of supervision and control of children;

· Acquiescence to federal funding levels below those the churches themselves believed necessary for operation;

          · Starvation (as a cost-cuffing measure);

          · Neglect of their educational mandate;

Governmental Inaction

· Failure to adequately inspect or otherwise maintain effective supervision of institutions into which their legal wards had been placed;

· Failure to fund church schools at levels sufficient for maintaining the physical health of their legal wards

· Failure to live up to the spirit of treaties signed promising education for Aboriginal Peoples;

· Collaboration with church officials in covering up the criminal behavior of officials, both governmental and ecclesiastical;

· Removal or relocation of internal personnel critical of Residential school conditions.

Excerpts from: The Circle Game ,Rowland D. Chrisjohn, Ph.d., & Sherri L. Young, MA., 1994
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