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Archive for November, 2018

“November 27th marks a dark day in the history of the Battlefords. It is the anniversary of the executions which took place at Battleford in 1885, which were also the largest mass execution in Canadian history.

Six nêhiyawak (Plains Cree) and two Assiniboine men were hung at Battleford and their bodies dumped into an unmarked grave that remained undiscovered until the 1970s when erosion on the riverbank exposed some of the remains.

The men were named:

Kah – Paypamahchukways (Wandering Spirit)
Pah Pah-Me-Kee-Sick (Walking the Sky)
Manchoose (Bad Arrow)
Kit-Ahwah-Ke-Ni (Miserable Man)
Nahpase (Iron Body)
A-Pis-Chas-Koos (Little Bear)
Itka (Crooked Leg)
Waywahnitch (Man Without Blood)

Some facts about the hangings at Battleford:

1. Judge Rouleau, the man who sentenced the eight men to die at Battleford, had his house in Battleford burned during the Resistance: The local newspaper at the time reported that Judge Rouleau: “is reported to have threatened that every Indian and Half-breed and rebel brought before him after the insurrection was suppressed, would be sent to the gallows if possible. In view of all the circumstances, and particularly as Judge Rouleau was a heavy loser pecuniarily by the Indian outbreak at Battleford, it is contended that he should not have been allowed to preside at the trial of the prisoners. A memorial has been received by the Department of Justice asking that the matter be investigated.”

2. Although the men spoke Cree – not English, none were provided with a translator at their trials.

3. Almost all of the historical writings about the hangings were written from the perspective of settlers. Blood Red the Sun and other narrative accounts paint the men as criminals. Barry Degenstein, local author of In Pursuit of Riel, as one relatively recent example, has continued to assert the men were “cold blooded murderers of innocent civilians.” (See: https://www.newsoptimist.ca/…/grave-not-that-of-heroes-and-…) It is important to remember that the North West Mounted Police (now Royal Canadian Mounted Police) played a major role in colonizing the region around the Battlefords and committed serious violent acts against Indigenous people here. The history of the Battle of Cut Knife Hill and other major events are primarily told in history books and other accounts from the perspective of the colonizers and settlers. (See also: Views from Fort Battleford: Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West https://archive.org/details/ViewsFromFtBattleford)

4. Hayter Reed, the Assistant Indian Commissioner in 1885, wanted a public execution. He asked the Lieutenant Governor to send any Indians who were sentenced to death during the second series of Regina trials so they could be executed with those sentenced to die in Battleford. He insisted that “the punishment be public as I am desirous of having the Indians witness it – no sound thrashing having been given them, I think a sight of this sort will cause them to meditate for many a day and besides have ocular demonstration of the fact.” This was echoed in the local newspaper. The Saskatchewan Herald’s P.G. Laurie understood the importance to the government of making the hangings a public spectacle. “We are not in favor of public executions as a rule,” wrote Laurie, “but we believe that in this instance it would have a wholesome influence on the Indians at large to have the extreme penalty of the law so carried out on those whom the court may find guilty.” Laurie viewed the hangings as a type of deterrence to further violence, arguing that the calm administration of punishment would impress the Native population more than further battlefield bloodshed. Laurie also agreed with the government that the executions should happen at the place of the capital trials, in Battleford. Laurie argued, “[I]f the Department of Justice will.. .permit the executions to be public, the sight will have such an effect upon the native beholders as will make them think twice before they again take up arms.” (See “A Lesson They Would Not Soon Forget” Chapter 3: https://drive.google.com/…/1yvqkd4LfbfO4YC5mWcQS0QfCPVEWNo_k)

5. The biography of Senator John Tootoosis notes at page 77 that among the witnesses at the hangings were “the Indian children from the Battleford Industrial School who had also been brought to see the eight men die. It was a part of their education that none of them would soon forget!”

6. One week prior to the hangings, Prime Minister John A. MacDonald wrote in a confidential letter to the Indian Commissioner: “The executions… ought to convince the Red Man that the White Man governs.”

7. Little Bear continued to assert that he was innocent until his death.

8. Loyal Til Death (a thoughtful account of the true history of this period by Blair Stonechild and Bill Waiser – https://www.amazon.ca/Loyal-Till-Death-North-West-Rebell…/…/) discusses the terrorizing effect the hangings had on Indigenous people in the region: “As for the Indians assembled in front of the gallows, they watched in quiet horror as the men dropped to their doom and then silently moved off once the bodies had been placed in the coffins. Nothing was said or done. They simply returned to their reserves, trying to put behind them the shock of the executions. But to this day, the executions have remained a numbing event, comparable to an old scar on the soul of a people. Elder Paul Chicken of the Sweetgrass reserve recalled how the Indians of the area lived in morbid fear of being picked up and tried before "Hanging Judge Rouleau.” Dressyman’s grandson, meanwhile, related how his reprieved grandfather and several other men were forced to watch the executions and threatened with a similar fate if there was any more trouble. “My grandfather was there, he saw them hung, he watched it all,” he recounted. “They didn’t like the hanging… the law overdone it.” Don Chastis, a descendent of one of the Cut Knife warriors, said that he often heard the Elders speak of the bravery of the condemned men, how they all sang on the platform in the face of death. He also speculated that the police refused to release the bodies for a traditional burial because the government did not want the men glorified as braves. “So they were forbidden to have anything to do with them. That’s why they buried them right there in a mass grave,” Chastis said. “It would have defeated the whole purpose of the hanging if they let these people [bodies] go.” The Battleford trials and executions accelerated the exodus of Indians to the relative safety of the United States.“ (At page 226-227 of Loyal Til Death.)

9. There are almost no artistic works or photographs that depict the hangings other than the attached illustration from "Loyal Til Death” by Blair Stonechild and Bill Waiser – https://www.amazon.ca/Loyal-Till-Death-North-West-Rebell…/…/

We remember the eight men who were executed at Battleford, and encourage people to consider the perspective of the historical accounts and begin working to decolonize the accounts of this history.

Is it time to consider exonerating or posthumously pardoning the eight warriors executed at Battleford?

(See: https://www.cbc.ca/…/pm-trudeau-exonerate-tsilhqotin-chiefs…)”

– from the Battleford Residential School Facebook page

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“Convict’s Thrilling Escape: Leaps From Fast Train,” Toronto Globe. November 25, 1918. Page 08.

Man With Bad Record in Toronto Fools County Constable and Flees Near Shannonville – Recaptured at Napanee

John Gowans, who was on his way to Kingston penitentiary, where he was to commence a second five-year sentence for housebreaking, escaped from the custody of County Constable Frank Brown near Shannonville on Saturday morning. Gowans made his escape by obtaining permission to go to a lavatory, and then by leaping from the window of the train after he had slammed the door upon Constable Brown.

Gowans was the housebreaker who entered the house of the widow of the late Dr. Fenton, and assaulted her when she endeavored to hold him until the arrival of police. He was later arrested, and only recently completed his sentence. Judge Winchester on Wednesday sentenced Gowans to five years’ imprisonment upon convictions registered against him for housebreaking in Parkdale.

The convict was recaptured at Napanee on Saturday just before midnight.

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“…in the late 19th century, a British naval officer discovered the extraordinarily remote community in the Andaman Sea. Fascinated, the officer, Maurice Vidal Portman, essentially kidnapped several islanders, according to the New York Times.

He took them to a British-run prison on a larger island where he watched the adults grow sick and die. After that, he returned the children to their home and ended his experiment, calling it a failure.

Over the next few centuries, few outsiders ever returned and the islanders were left to deal with the traumatic experience.

“We cannot be said to have done anything more than increase their general terror of, and hostility to, all comers,” Mr Portman admitted in his 1899 book. Centuries later, in the 1960s, anthropologists succeeded in exchanging gifts and conducting field visits but abandoned their efforts some 25 years ago in the face of renewed hostility.

No one really knows why they are deeply suspicious of outsiders but perhaps it could stem from the trauma of the original kidnapping. [Epidemic disease] could be another traumatising factor behind the aggressive hostility of the Sentinelese.

When the British first made attempts to colonise these islands in the 19th century, their population was estimated to be some 8000. Now, their current population is believed to be 150, although a national census based on photos taken from afar put their numbers as low as 15.

Veteran anthropologist T.N. Pandit, who visited North Sentinel 50 years ago, believes there should be no rush to make contact with the Sentinelese.

Of the four Andaman tribal communities, we have seen that those in close contact with the outside world have suffered the most. They have declined demographically and culturally,” he told Down To Earth magazine in a recent interview. […] Survival International, an organisation that works for the rights of tribal people, said Mr Chau may have been encouraged by recent changes to Indian rules about visiting.

While special permissions are still required, visits are now theoretically allowed in some parts of the Andamans where they used to be entirely forbidden.

The authorities lifted one of the restrictions that had been protecting the Sentinelese tribe’s island from foreign tourists, which sent exactly the wrong message, and may have contributed to this terrible event,” the group said in a statement.”

– Julia Corderoy, “Traumatic history of isolated tribe who killed American missionary.” News Corp Australia Network, November 25, 2018.

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JS: So, I want to start off by asking you about a phrase that you use in your latest book. You say that we now have a counterinsurgency warfare model of politics. What do you mean by that?

BH: So, what I mean by that is that basically all of the [ways] in which we govern abroad and at home is now funneled through a particular way of thinking about the world. It’s a mentality. It’s a way of thinking about society that triggers particular kinds of strategies and politics that result from that. And the way of thinking about society is this counterinsurgency paradigm of warfare.

So, counterinsurgency started in the 1950s – well, it started long before then, but it kind of crystallized with Western powers in the 1950s and 60s in Algeria, and Indochina before then, and in Vietnam for the Americans. And it was a particular way of thinking about society, the way society is structured into three groups. With, on the one hand, a small active minority who are the insurgents, and a large passive majority who can be swayed one way or the other, and then a small minority of counterinsurgents.

And that way of thinking has become internalized, second hand. Most, I would say, many in America, but certainly our political leaders are looking at the world through that lens when they look at other countries when they look domestically at their own population, and as a result of that it triggers particular kinds of counterinsurgency practices, really. And three practices particularly that I think when you look at what we’re doing both abroad and at home, you see resonances of them everywhere. The first is the idea of getting total information awareness. That’s always been the key linchpin of counterinsurgency theory, is to get total information on the total population.

And that’s what distinguishes it from just getting good intelligence. It’s that you have to get total intelligence on the total population, not just targeted to people who you suspect, but on the total population. So that you can make a distinction between or you can identify that small group of active insurgents. And you need the information on everyone so that you can make that separation, those fine distinctions between someone who is in that active minority or someone who’s just [in the] you know, passive masses. So that’s the first strategy. The second strategy is then that you have to rid of the active minority that you identified, just that small group of individuals, the insurgents, and you do that through any means possible. And then the third strategy is to win the hearts and minds of the masses, basically.

And I think that starting after 9/11. We saw that way of thinking become the dominant way of governing abroad particularly with the war in Iraq, but then more generally with the use of drones outside of war zones et cetera, use of total information through the NSA in the way in which everything was captured about everyone to the most minor detail. And then also trying to pacify the masses in Iraq through kind of some provision of services or just distribution of cash. But then eventually, when this way of thinking comes back to the United States through different forms of pacification of the masses. Particularly right now, I would say through forms of distraction, really.

JS: How does this counterinsurgency warfare model of politics apply in the Trump era?

BH: The Trump Administration is kind of a crystallization, or it seals the deal really on this on this model of governing. But what I want to emphasize though is that it wasn’t unique to Trump. And so, it goes back and it threaded through the Obama Administration and the Bush Administration.

I’ll come back to that in a second. But when you see it today, what you see predominantly is through Trump’s creation of an internal enemy. So, one of the things that drives counterinsurgency ways of thinking is having an internal enemy that, the internal enemy which is that identifiable small class of the active insurgents.

And I think that Trump [has] really rested his entire way of governing us by creating internal enemies out of whole cloth, really, in this case. It started with the Muslims and Muslim Americans and the idea that we needed a Muslim ban.

But when you listened to the rhetoric that surrounded the Muslim ban, it was this rhetoric about, “Muslims are coming into the country. We got to keep them out and even the ones who are here aren’t patriots. They don’t call the police when they have information. We need a registry for them. We need – there was talk about –

JS: Surveillance on mosques.

BH: – Well, exactly, right. All of the surveillance on the mosques and on all of the Muslim businesses, everywhere. And so, all of that was the creation of a dangerous element in this country, which were the Muslim Americans. And we saw it, of course with Mexican Americans, with talking about Mexicans as criminals, as rapists. You saw it just recently with the whole caravan episode, right. I mean, I think that the caravan episode was an effort to create an internal enemy because it was not only identifying and indexing this real group of individuals, but I think it was, through those groups of individuals, it was pointing at all of the undocumented persons who are in this country and who substantiate that threat.

JS: If that philosophy is as you say, what is the purpose then of identifying these people as you say, as sort of the insurgents?

BH: It’s a coherent strategy that not only kind of identifies the danger and then, of course, tries to eliminate the danger, right. But is doing that in part to pacify the masses to win the support of the masses to bring them on Trump’s side. And of course, that was exactly a strategy for the whole week preceding the midterm elections, right? It was to win the hearts and minds of Americans by targeting this dangerous internal enemy that was coming to the border but that also is in the country, is in the country already. It’s these undocumented residents.

So, it’s got these different prongs to it and in part, what’s always been unique about counterinsurgency theory from the 1950s is that it is focused on the population in this interesting way. So, when you read all of the text by the great counterinsurgency commanders — the French, and British, and some Americans, and texts that were written for and by the RAND Corporation on counterinsurgency — one of the central pillars of this way of thinking is that the battle is over the population. It’s over the masses.

– Jeremy Scahill interviews Bernard Harcourt, “THE COUNTERINSURGENCY PARADIGM: HOW U.S. POLITICS HAVE BECOME PARAMILITARIZED.” The Intercept, November 25, 2018.

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“The Sentinelese are not “Stone Age” people. They live in the 21st century and, like all cultures, have changed and adapted, so are not somehow frozen in time. They use modern tools because they live now, and modern doesn’t have to mean industrialized.

When we call people “prehistoric” or “Stone Age” or “pre-literate” we assume (often without meaning to!) that other cultures have to catch up with the rest of us, and we miss that there are lots of perfectly valid ways to live in the world. The Three-Age System is useful for some European and Mediterranean archaeology, but it doesn’t even generally fit well outside of this region.

The language of the Capitalocene makes it hard for us to talk about groups of people anywhere without presuming 1. An inherent right to have our curiosity satisfied and 2. An assumption that the idea of “human progress” is linear and industrial.

These are all things that have been used to justify colonialism and “civilizing” projects. They also experience the Capitalocene, even to the extent that they’ve had to adapt to the constant threats industrialized societies pose to them.

Even if there weren’t the issue of lack of immunity to diseases of the industrialized world, they would still deserve their privacy and independence because the very least we can do as part of industrialized cultures is not to wreck everyone else’s lives by thinking we know better.

The protection of their space shouldn’t be paternalistic or infantilizing. They aren’t simple or more “natural”, they’re complex like all humans are. The problem isn’t that a guy wanted to tell them about Jesus, it’s that we mostly carry an unchallenged belief that dominant cultures have a right to access anything we want.

It’s colonialism and capitalism, and missionary work is a vector, but so is a lot of adventure travel, development work, and even academic research. We don’t have a right to know stuff about people without their consent. (This is how we got digital colonialism, too.)”

– Jane Ruffino, November 25, 2018.

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https://bandcamp.com/stream_redirect?enc=mp3-128&track_id=1251485892&ts=1544493137&t=14ebdd21627b01e2a5e1af94ddd05aa67ac859dd?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

November 24, 2018: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM. Tone Deaf Kingston is wrapping up its annual festival of adventurous sound tonight, so in tribute: music by performers from this year and festivals past, including Hieroglyphic Being, Luyos MC, KOREA TOWN ACID, Jerusalem In My Heart, Joseph Shabason, Pantayo, Phèdre, Tamayugé + more. Tune in at 101.9 on your FM dial, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or listen to the finished show on cfrc.ca or here: https://www.mixcloud.com/cameronwillis1232/the-anatomy-lesson-november-24-2018/

Luyos MaryCarl / Anthony Donovan – “Alt to unending conquest (dreams version)” (2018)
Joseph Shabason – “I Thought That I Could Get Away with It” Anne (2018)
Sarah Neufeld – “Chase the Bright and Burning” The Ridge (2016)
Jake Meginsky – “Human Grapes 45” Vandals (2015)
Tamayugé – “Live on CKUT 90.3 FM Montreal (excerpt)” (2018)

Pantayo – “Eclipse” Live at Sofar Toronto (2017)
Le Révélateur – “Age Maze” Fictions (2011)
Holzkopf – “Proposal for a Flat God” Place Out of Context (2016)
Jerusalem In My Heart – “Bein Ithnein” Daqa’iq Tudaiq (2018)
Phèdre – “Swipe” (2018)
Korea Town Acid – “Virtual Reality” Mahogani Forest (2018)
Hieroglyphic Being & The Truth Theory Trio – “Keep Your Mind Open” Keep Your Mind Open (2015)

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“In The Seats of Royalty,” New York Times. November 23, 1943. Newsclipping.

“Cpl. Joseph Barber of Girard, O., is ‘king’ and Lieut. Maryellen McCutcheon of Birmingham, Mich., the ‘queen’ in this little tableau photographed in the throne room of one of the royal palaces in Naples, Pvt. William Dato, Hoboken, N. J.; Pvt., William Montgomery, Detroit, and Cpl. Thomas Shaw, New York, are ‘courtiers.’

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