The article Memory

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According to the article Recollection, Erasure, and National Myth, amid the many injustices perpetrated by Canada toward indigenous communities in the region, the country continues to retain a memory block about the address of such massacres. Essentially, the Canadian governing agency has subtly rejected and failed to pay for the expenses that underpin modern-day Canada. Through its public institutions, the state promotes a partial historical narrative. It refuses to recognize the genocide against native Indians during the colonial period. Logan, on the other hand, stresses that recollection, erasure, and national myth cannot re-define Canada's genocide. To begin with, Logan suggests that the suppression of memories in the Canadian public institutions is a denial of genocidal crimes (150). The state exerts control over memory. It defines the nature of the memory, the victims of the memory and the implication of the memory on the present-day society. Most states refuse to acknowledge genocides in the knowledge that they will be made to account for the crimes committed in the past. It is a medium through which the state shelves social and financial responsibility. The suppression of information that points to a conflicting past negates integration in the present society. Essentially, when the state assumes the role of suppressing memory, it is allowed the power to determine a people’s perspective regarding their history. It is the duty of the government to assume responsibility for crimes committed in the past. The mitigation of present ethnic and racial conflict will depend on the willingness to address genocide. Ideally, the author argues that memory, remembering, forgetting and denial cannot be separated from the study and analysis of genocide. The major account that is often by the state, with regards to genocide, is always intended to paint the government guiltless of the crimes committed against indigenous groups. Logan suggests the Turkish authorities’ attempts to suppress the implication of the Armenian genocide attests to the political influence that states wield over the determination of truths about genocides (150).

Memory, Erasure and National Myth emphasizes that the role of the public and the bystander population should be emphasized if a true account of genocide in Canada is to be inferred. Thus, public memory, compiled together with the state history, provides the best medium through which truth about historical genocides can be emphasized. States that issue directives against the presentation of a deviating analogy on genocidal histories impede the successful establishment of measures that can be used to augment integration and facilitate collective development. Longan argues that the Turkish government provides a perfect example of states that have failed minorities and indigenous groups through suppression and restructuring of a genocidal history (150). Even when a genocidal history denigrates a state, the latter is obligated to provide mechanisms through which the public and other independent institutions can voice their contentions. Thus, the public memory performs the role of promoting advocacy for justice against historical injustices. The author alludes to the “right to memory”. The term is a reflection of the need to allow the victims of genocidal history to offer their insights on the progresses that have been made by the state to address injustices.

Essentially, Canada’s ability to rally all citizens towards collective national goals is subject to significant imposition as a result of a segmented genocidal history. According to Logan, a nation-creating narrative cannot be achieved in Canada unless the state is willing to determine and integrate the narrative of colonial justice. The Euro-Canadian governance sought its legitimacy through the displacement of indigenous groups in the region (Logan 151). Integrating colonial genocide into nation-building narratives provides a medium through which a new understanding about the subject displacements and impositions can be addressed (Logan 152). Despite the establishment of many initiatives that have been aimed at addressing previous injustices against native Indians, there are significant conceptual blockages which hinder the methodologies (Moses 7). There are two major conceptual blockages that hinder the effectiveness of genocidal history in Canada. The author contends that the include the tendency to frame genocidal events through the perspectives of the Australian and American colonialisms. To prevent a biased outcome from such aa process, there is an overriding need to revise the Canadian history to ensure that genocide historiography in Canada is expanded (Moses 9). The next cause of conceptual blockages is the erroneous assumption that Holocaust provides the main example of genocide to have occurred outside of Europe. Overall, Logan suggests that to ensure the development of a nation-narrative in Canada that reflects historical genocides, there is need to assess the traditions and stories in the indigenous communities.

Alternatively, the author claims that the political climate in Canada stifles comprehensive Canadian history. While a narrower view of politically sanctioned history is celebrated through state funding, the other form of comprehensive history is shelved in the Library and Archives Canada institution. Increased influence of the federal government over historical institutions acts as the metrics which define the viability and validity of given historical narratives. Segmented funding that undermines the true reflection of genocidal tendencies in the past is mirrored in the decision that was undertaken by the Canadian government to rebrand the Canada Museum of Civilization into the Canadian Museum History. Logan argues that the baseless argument that was used by the then Heritage Minister was that the rebranding of the museum was predicated on the fact that Canadians needed a national museum that reflects the Canadian story and also one that present’s Canadian treasures to the world. The process was flawed because the Canadian story that was to be shared with the world was not inclusive or comprehensive. Essentially, rather than channeling funds towards such partial projects, the indigenous groups in Canada should be funded to further their goal of advocating for human rights. Today, many of the individuals from indigenous communities who had witnessed the genocide in residential schools are able to voice their opinions regarding the issue given the limited empowerment they have received. An increased examination of the culture and memory systems of communities such as First Nations, Metis and Inuits provides a medium through which a collective Canadian narrative can be inferred.

Conclusively, the article Memory, Erasure, and National Myths establishes that the three elements cannot be used to suppress the truth about historical genocides that occurred in Canada. The act of denying the occurrences of historical genocides serve to inspire internalized resentment within the victim indigenous communities. Conceptual blockages result in segmented narratives about the history of Canada which in turn hinder cohesion in the country. Museums should fully capture history regardless of the implications that will be borne by the state.

Works Cited

Logan, Tricia. “Memory, Erasure and National Myth” in Laban, Alexander. Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America by Hinton. Duke University Press, 2014.

Moses, A. Dirk. “Conceptual Blockages and De National Dilemmas in the ‘Racial Century’: Genocides of Indigenous Peoples and the Holocaust.” Patterns of Prejudice, no. 4, (2002), pp. 7–36

October 20, 2022

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Colonialism Americas

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Memory Canada

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