Every year, we First Peoples of Canada are granted a new spell to conjure guilt in all non-Indians. The curse du jour is "genocide," thanks to the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls' final report, which states: "[collected] information and testimonies... provide serious reasons to believe that Canada's past and current policies, omissions, and actions towards First Nations Peoples, Inuit and Mtis amount to genocide."
The MMIWG inquiry cost nearly $100 million to reach that conclusion, a hefty price tag for supposedly serious people to misinterpret history and facts so brazenly. One might wonder if there wasn't a hidden agenda for using the "g-word" in order to gain more attention and funding.
Genocide is defined by the United Nations as "acts committed with intent to destroy... a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group."
Canada has committed sins against aboriginals. But the worst trespasses of the Indian Act and residential school system were never a Holomdor or Holocaust. Marginalization, segregation, even apartheid-like behaviour at times?
Yes. But state enforced famine cleansing?
No, and the report's authors are woefully off base to say otherwise.
The inquiry's title hinted at purposes beyond polarization. But what is really happening to Indigenous women and girls can't be said because of political correctness: a majority of victims are targeted by men (and women) from the same population.
Of the remainder, many are the victims of predators and serial killers, particularly on our Highway of Tears.
Finally, the poverty on reserves makes women and their children, especially daughters, vulnerable to cycles of abuse.
All of this has been well known for decades but, ironically, economic solutions are those shouted down the loudest.
Improvements on reserves require changes to the Indian Act, which threatens the power enjoyed by families who dominate chief and council; thus more funding is demanded, instead of the liberty and enfranchisement, notably private property, that might end the socio-economic realities that make Indigenous women and girls susceptible to exploitation.
Someday, a direct connection between the American money funding aboriginal groups' injunctions against economic opportunities in Canada and the choices leading to the abuse or death of female Indians will be drawn, revealing a calumny and blood guilt that damns us all.
But outside the callous hearts of Aboriginal activists and oligarchs, the worst crimes committed against women and girls ought to be answered with reinstating the death penalty.
It's cold comfort to the mourning families, but at least the public would know justice was done.
The law should apply retroactively and those quibbling about "ex post facto" are welcome to explain to Canadians why we are feeding and sheltering monsters who were proven guilty in open court.
Of course, more resources must be provided to police to find the remains of victims and, in turn, obtain DNA profiles of the perpetrators in order to narrow down the long list of suspects.
The report does call for more community resources, educational awareness, etc. - all the usual boilerplate policies that covers the authors' derrieres and, eventually, politicians who need to demonstrate their "deep concern."
But new women's shelters from Alert to Windsor cannot cure the malaise of cyclical poverty and violence that has long haunted our Indigenous communities.
A change in culture, fostered by individual responsibility, is needed to amend the state of Indians' affairs.
That will require tackling the untouchable political class, rewriting or discarding the Indian Act, and granting autonomy to all First Peoples so they can improve their station, as well as that of their family and communities, with both hands free.
Until then, the MMIWG inquiry will be just another sad chapter in a century-long history of despair, forgotten sooner than most.