Suicide is Genocide!

Suicide is genocide and nothing more,
all these loves I’ve lost,
I lay at Canada’s door.

Xhopakelxhit

This idea new to me seems to be as clear as day and as old as clay, as far as native peoples are concerned. A quick search on the internet with  ‘suicide is genocide’ yielded a poem on the now defunct ancestralpride.ca , the opening stanza of which I copy above. The promise and the problem of Canada is as complex as her land is vast. It will need considered and concerted effort to find the threads of rapprochement among her disparate constituents. In this effort,I believe that native rights, needs and demands should, in ethical ranking at least, come first in our collective consideration. Ruth Hopkins opens her article Suicide as Genocide with the line `Genocide has found a new disguise: that of adolescent suicide’ and goes on to analyze and explicate the desperate realities of this very contemporary situation. This is the wider historical, ethical and sociological scenario that Malaysian petroleum giant PETRONAS is wading into in the emerging conflict with the natives of British Columbia. While teenage suicide is clearly not a problem for the Lax Kw’alaams, and while the particulars of each native community is different, their collective struggle against colonial, national and now transnational, imperatives must be understood as being part of a continuum.

 

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