Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Genocide' will have its place

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Your July 26 story CMHR rejects 'genocide' for native policies errs in its assertion that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is not using the word "genocide" in exhibits dealing with Canada's treatment of aboriginal people.

We have chosen, at present, not to use the word "genocide" in the title for one such exhibit, but will be using the term in the exhibit itself when describing community efforts for this recognition. Historical fact and emerging information will be presented to help visitors reach their own conclusions.

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Public discussion about the use of the term "genocide" in the context of the aboriginal experience in Canada provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the nature of human rights violations in our own backyard. The CMHR, as a venue for education, reflection and dialogue, strongly supports and encourages this conversation.

In the museum, we will examine the gross and systemic human rights violation of indigenous people. This will include information about the efforts of the aboriginal community, and others, to gain recognition of these violations as genocide -- and we will use that word. We will look at the ways this recognition can occur when people combat denial and work to break the silence surrounding such horrific abuses. In one such exhibit, residential schools will serve as the recognizable entry point for visitors.

While a museum does not have the power to make declarations of genocide, we can certainly encourage -- through ongoing partnership with the indigenous community itself -- an honest examination of Canada's human rights history, in hopes that respect and reconciliation will prevail.

 

STUART MURRAY

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2013 A14

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