September 26, 2009

No history of Canadian colonialism?!

Every G20 nation wants to be Canada, Stephen Harper insists

By David Ljunggren"We're so self-effacing as Canadians that we sometimes forget the assets we do have that other people see," he said, speaking with a rare passion.

"We are one of the most stable regimes in history. . . . We are unique in that regard," he added, noting Canada had enjoyed more than 150 years of untroubled Parliamentary democracy.

Just in case that was not enough to persuade doubters, Harper threw in some more facts about the geographically second-largest nation in the world.

"We also have no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them," he said.
Comment:  I presume Harper meant no history of external colonialism. Like the United States, Canada colonized the Indian nations in its path. In other words, the US and Canada were guilty of "internal" colonialism.

Even that isn't correct. Yes, these Indians nations are internal to the US and Canada now. But they really should count as examples of external colonialism. Remember, they were outside the boundaries of the US and Canada until the US and Canada overran them.

Borders enough to stop colonists?

This raises an interesting point. Apologists for American expansionism usually say the US government couldn't stop the pioneers from moving west and settling in Indian territory. But note: These pioneers didn't cross the border into Mexico or Canada and "settle" those countries.

Why not? If government laws and military force were enough to stop Americans at the country's northern and southern borders, why weren't they enough to stop Americans at the country's western border? Why didn't the pioneers keep going until they reached the North Pole or Tierra del Fuego?

Who cares if other people already occupied these lands? They weren't Americans. Did God and his Manifest Destiny tell the settlers to stay within the lines?

Answer: The settlers went west but not north or south because no one tried to stop them. Because Americans saw Indians as savage beasts in the way of progress--like so many herds of deer or buffalo. Because Americans didn't see them as civilized people inhabiting their own countries--as humans "created equal" to them.

If they had, the government could've and would've stopped the illegal migrations. The incursion into Indian nations established by legally-binding treaties.

For more on the subject, see Peru Conflict = Colonization and Colonization = Digestion.


Anonymous said...

*sigh* Piss off, Harper.

m. said...

A disgusting display of privilege in the form of ignorant, untrue statements. Canada itself is ONE BIG COLONIAL PROJECT. Just like the rest of "the Americas". Japan has also mastered it's own form of racism and brutality against the Ainu, and I needn't mention maybe Stephen Harper can lend some advice to Hatoyama on being a better internal colonizer. At least Kevin Rudd acknowledges Australia's history, unlike that bozo Harper. Amazing.

Stephen said...

"According to Glen Coulthard of the University of Alberta, The Canadian government's policies included the destruction of much of Native culture, values and religion. 7 With the help of the Christian churches, these traditions were largely replaced with versions of western Christianity. The main players were the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, and the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The government financed residential school systems; religious institutions ran them. Sometimes, children were kidnapped and taken long distances from their communities in order to attend school. Once there, they were held captive, isolated from their families of origin, and forcibly stripped of their language, religion, traditions and culture. Many native children grew up with little knowledge of their original culture."

I just realized who that genocide denying idiot reminds me of:


jean said...

Such arrogance surely stems from ignorance.And vice versa.

Anonymous said...

They did cross into Mexican borders. That's how Texas was formed.

Rob said...

Not quite, Anonymous. Here are the facts about Texas:

Authorities in Mexican Texas had neither manpower nor funds to protect settlers from near-constant Comanche raids and it hoped that settlers could control the raids, the government liberalized its immigration policies, allowing for settlers from the United States to immigrate to Texas.

As a result of multiple offers by the United States to buy Texas, Bustamente outlawed the immigration of United States citizens to Texas in 1830. Several new presidios were established in the region to monitor immigration and customs practices. The new laws also called for the enforcement of customs duties, angering both native Mexican citizens (Tejanos) and recent immigrants. In 1832, a group of men led a revolt against customs enforcement in Anahauc. These Anahuac Disturbances coincided with a revolt in Mexico against the current president. Texians sided with the federalists against the current government and drove all Mexican soldiers out of East Texas.

Texians took advantage of the lack of oversight to agitate for more political freedom, resulting in the Convention of 1832. The convention which, among other issues, demand that U.S. citizens be allowed to immigrate, and requested independent statehood for Texas. The following year, Texians reiterated their demands at the Convention of 1833. After presenting their petition, courier Stephen F. Austin was jailed for the next two years in Mexico City on suspicion of treason. Although Mexico implemented several measures to appease the colonists, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's measures to transform Mexico from a federalist to a centralist state provided an excuse for the Texan colonists to revolt.

Rob said...

Summarizing the key points:

* Initially Mexico let American settlers immigrate into Texas. There was no wave of immigration against the will of the Mexican government.

* Mexico changed its immigration policy and began enforcing its borders with presidios established to monitor immigration and customs practices. This enforcement was effective enough that the Texians rose up in protest. If the borders had been porous, I suspect the Texians wouldn't have felt the need to rebel.

In contrast, the US never tried to enforce its borders with Indian nations. It treated these lines as guidelines, suggestions, or jokes.

Can you imagine the outrage if the US Army had fined, arrested, or shot Americans who left the United States and entered Indian territory? I think we all can imagine that.

Anonymous said...

For a while, in Canadian French, Panis (derived from Pawnee) meant slave. Forget Hatoyama; it seems the Canadians and the Matsumae Han (the han that ruled Hokkaido; they killed and enslaved the Ainu) went to the same school.

When I first saw Yukie Adams' paintings, I became interested in Japan's own indigenous issues, and I found a lot of parallels. There was even a Matsumae named Kakizaki Hakyo who was the Japanese version of George Catlin.