By Jorge Antonio Vallejos
Four cowards. One warrior.
Two white boys given immunity, one acquitted, one handed a life (?) sentence. A stolen and erased Aboriginal sister joins her ancestors. An Aboriginal community saddened and silenced:
This is the Helen Betty Osborne murder, court case, and disgrace.
Journalist Lisa Priest starts her sympathetic and problematic book Conspiracy of Silence by saying, “November 13, 1971 was cold and miserable.”
The “cold” in the first line of Priest’s book is transferred to her zombification of Aboriginal women:
At times like these you wonder what Priest is trying to do. Does justice come through villainous jabs? Is empathy practiced through disempowerment? Is truth to be exposed through sweeping, racist statements?
None of the Aboriginal women this writer knows fit Priest’s description. Published in 1989, the description of Aboriginal women in Conspiracy of Silence is a part of the larger conspiracy to keep the epidemic of the 800+ MISSING and MURDERED Aboriginal women of Turtle Island from the world. Canada, a safe haven for millions who come from other lands, is unsafe for the life-givers of the original peoples. If and when news gets out that Aboriginal women are under attack with the support of government and police inaction, the response given is a description like the one Priest gives, along with blame laid on the women.
One of the biggest things activists both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal are fighting is the stigma of Aboriginal women that Priest promotes in her book. In a book that is supposed to fight the problem, Priest willfully adds to it.
For more on the subject, see Amnesty International Honors Native Reports and Media Ignores Victimized Native Women.
It all depends on where to go. I only ask for an accurate portrayal, nothing more or less.
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