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Yes, how Canada has and continues to treat its Indigenous populations is genocide

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17.06.2019

Canada is currently embroiled in a debate about whether the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls should have used the word "genocide" to describe our federal, provincial and municipal governments' past and current treatment of Indigenous peoples. Perhaps this word is too strong and inaccurate.

Many horrible events are not genocide. Warfare is not genocide. Apartheid in South Africa was not genocide. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was not genocide. Torture is not genocide.

In international law, genocide refers to "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such." This is the definition in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

One crucial word in this definition is intent. Did or do Canadian authorities, in the past or the present, intend to destroy the "racial" or ethnic group of Indigenous Canadians, in whole or in part?

But this is not only the question behind the Inquiry's decision to describe official Canadian treatment of Indigenous peoples as genocide. The central question it asked was, if you consider all the........

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