Marxist professor accused for “hate speech” for daring to criticize Canada’s broken aboriginal apartheid system:
Speaking at the 2008 meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA), Widdowson, a policy studies professor at Mount Royal College in Calgary, argued our Aboriginal reserve system isn’t working. It encourages unemployment and alcoholism, since there are few jobs on reserves, she said. Policies that encourage First Nations to live separate lives merely prop up a broken system; the best way to help natives achieve health and prosperity is assimilation. Her paper also criticized Aboriginal traditional knowledge, arguing that some claims didn’t hold up to scientific analysis, and discussed a “development gap” between natives and settlers, implying the Europeans were more advanced.
Aboriginal activists are forever yelling that there’s an epidemic of alcoholism and unemployment on the reserves. So why is it hate speech when this woman points it out, too?
If there is not “development gap” between “natives and settlers”, why are the “natives”, by their own admission, so ****ed up?
Never mind. It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s liberalism, Jake.
Meanwhile, Canada is the laughing stock of the world:
The incident has given momentum to a U.S. petition arguing that the right to free speech is threatened in Canada. The petition refers obliquely to this case and two others: the human rights commission complaints against Mark Steyn/Maclean’s, and the Christian pastor Stephen Boissoin, whose homophobic letters ran in a local paper. Its 60 signatories include some of the world’s most respected political scientists. In all three cases, says signatory Harvey Mansfield, a professor at Harvard, Canada failed to give sufficient protection to people with opinions that differ from the status quo.
Academic freedom and freedom of the press should mean unassailable rights, the petition argues—the same ones afforded by the First Amendment to the U.S. constitution. In the absence of such rights, the petition calls for written assurance from the Ontario and Canadian human rights commissions that they will “not interfere with legitimate academic discourse” during the American Political Science Association meeting in Toronto this September.
UPDATE: review of the book in question:
For those interested in a serious debate about Aboriginal politics in Canada, it’s evident the discussion is skewed. To see evidence, one need go no further than the Aboriginal issues section of any local bookstore, or academic journal articles on the topic. Most publications tend to rarely deviate from the following narrative: Aboriginal societies existed as nation-states and were just as advanced as European societies; all of the problems which beset indigenous communities can be attributed to “cultural loss” and colonization; and to restore full powers to First Nation communities will solve everything. To dispute any of the above assumptions is to be a “racist” or “Euro-centric” or against Aboriginal people.
Occasionally, some thinkers take these shaky assumptions to task. Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry is such a work. Written by Frances Widdowson, a political scientist from Mount Royal College, and Albert Howard, a former Aboriginal and government consultant, the work is a monumental achievement of clear thinking and a direct assault on the so-called Aboriginal Orthodoxy. It is worth reading for its honesty on so many Aboriginal issues, in particular for its refreshing analysis of cultural incompatibility.
PLUS: “Offended by the truth –race and culture not the same”
I have Mohawk and other indigenous backgrounds. However, I am quite pleased my ancestors came into contact with Europeans. I do not think I would enjoy a low-technology, nomadic existence and being confined to subsistence agriculture. I appreciate the blessings of individual rights and modern women’s freedoms. I take advantage of modern medicine and science. I have French-Canadian heritage, but I do not regret that my ancestors encountered the British who held to a more efficient form of land ownership and a market economy, not to mention democracy. Does all this make me a “traitor” to my people? I don’t think so, as pre-modern economic and social features are not intrinsic to any people.
Some cultural traditions are not worthy of holding. Years ago, the Canadian Museum of Civilization held an exhibit on the Bog People of Northern Europe. One of the exhibits was of a girl with a rope around her neck. According to the description, she likely was sacrificed because she had an awkward gait and curved spine. I am glad that tradition was discarded.
One wonders how post-moderns would respond if they were present when Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes witnessed the Aztecs sacrificing the hearts of prisoners to prevent the cosmos from collapsing. Would they pass judgment in that case?