November 08, 2010

Native soldiers scalped WW II enemies?

WW II scalping claim dismissed as ‘racist’

By John WardA French historian’s claim that Canadian soldiers of native origin scalped prisoners during World War II has drawn outrage from aboriginal veterans and scorn from academics.

The allegation has been described as “racist,” “appalling” and “garbage.”

The grotesque accusation is found in Olivier Wieviorka’s book, Normandy, an otherwise conventional account of the lead-up to D-Day and the eventual liberation of Paris. It was first published in France in 2007. Harvard University Press published a hardcover edition in 2008 and has just re-issued it in paperback.

The offending passage comes in a segment discussing atrocities. After briefly outlining the 12 SS Panzer division’s penchant for murdering PoWs (many of them Canadians) during the Normandy campaign, Wieviorka turns to what he says are Allied atrocities.

Among them: “Some Canadian soldiers of native Indian origin scalped their captives.”

No source or footnote is given. Harvard University Press did not reply to an email asking for comment.

Alex Maurice of Beauval, Sask., president of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association, is furious.

“This is racism at its ugliest, and I can only assume that person watched too, too many John Wayne movies,” he said when told of the claim.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Scalping, Torture, and Mutilation by Indians.

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