CoHNA (Coalition of Hindus of North America) is horrified by the tragic evidence being unearthed in Canada around the genocide of its indigenous people. We stand with them through these heartbreaking times, as they process the mounting recent evidence.
The genocide of the indigenous people of North America has been an established fact, but what is particularly horrifying about this most recent set of discoveries is how this was not just something that happened in history, but continued well into the current times.
Like many, we have been following the rapidly unfolding story which includes the discovery of hundreds of bodies of indigenous children in unmarked graves, at what used to be “schools” run by the Church; the connivance of the state; the tales of torture, systemic abuse, and many unspoken evils that got buried without getting heard.
The loss of life, destruction of community, the robbery of land and wealth are all tragic enough on their own. This tragedy however, does not end there. Depriving people of their culture and erasing their history is as much of a crime-but one that is much too often ignored.
The world has seen the promise of an exclusive heaven for the dead result in hell for those alive. The drive to “civilize” has many times meant the annihilation of indigenous symbols, cultural constructs, and local identity, thus creating deep fault lines in society.
As Hindus, we unfortunately share a similar experience of being subject to the efforts of “civilizing”. We know the stories of “natives” hounded for customs, beliefs and rituals and share the horrors inflicted under colonial rule. We too have been subjected to inquisitions, forced conversions and violent indoctrination under cover of “better science” or the promise of an “exclusive path” to truth and salvation.
We hope that now at last, the crimes of the buried past will inform the implementation of present policy making. This will help spotlight destructive concepts of homogenized exclusiveness operating under the cover of promoting “higher ideals”.
With more evidence coming to light, we ask that the dark shadow of this inglorious history be addressed meaningfully. This is critical to pave the way for a process of healing and shared prosperity in the future.