Podcast # 194: Canada’s Unmarked-Graves Social Panic: How Did the Media Get This Blockbuster Story So Wrong?

Quillette podcast host Jonathan Kay talks to National Post reporter Terry Glavin about the blockbuster 2021 claim that hundreds of murdered Indigenous children had been found in unmarked graves, the process by which that story began to unravel in the year that followed, and what the whole spectacle tells us about Canada’s intellectual class.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://quillette.com/2022/08/03/podcast-194-understanding-wokeness-as-a-make-work-strategy-for-the-privileged-class/

The moral position that providing indigenous people with cultural tools and language skills necessary for successful entry into the broader society in which they have been caught is a policy of cultural extinction misses the point. It is morally comforting to the observer to express the enlightened view that losing the ability to speak languages and follow cultural norms of other cultures is a huge cultural loss. But failure to be conversant in English and the operate within the broader culture of the western world dooms an individual to marginality. Far from being “misguided”, efforts to westernize indigenous people is their only pathway for a livable future. It is self-righteous and misguided to pretend the damage to their ways of life has not already passed the point of no return. The only positive way forward for indigenous people is by mainstreaming within a community of their choosing.

Many my age from Spanish speaking homes grew up only speaking English and they’re not really culturally Hispanic. This was not the result of broader society forcing English and their culture on children. It was the result of parents sacrificing greatly to make sure their children would be able to participate as a full member of broader society. Now these individuals are just like any other next door neighbor who is also decended from parents and grandparents who likely spoke other languages and lived with vastly different values.

I am not defending miscreants and predators that took advantage of institutions intending to protect vulnerable people from broader society. Also, I am not arguing that programs removing children from their homes were humane and intelligently designed. However, today many indigenous communities are prosperous and self-sustaining because there were individuals within the community capable of moving the community forward in beneficial ways. It is likely that most of these people were prepared for their roles by well intended members of the dominant culture providing guidance and instruction in language and western culture as well as the guidance of their parents and community.