‘Plague Bearers’ is an exploration of the colonial violence foundational to North America that remains endemic in Canadian society today. It is a deconstruction of the dominant and false narrative we're taught in the media and in school. It is told from the colonizer’s perspective because I am of a European settler-colonialist descent and a beneficiary of a white supremacy. It speaks of the colonial ideologies and policies that led to the residential school system and traces this deliberate attempt to eradicate the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples through systemic abuse under the guise of “assimilation” and “civilization.” It speaks of the Canadian government, in league with various churches, purposefully hiding and continuing to withhold information pertaining to their program of ethnic cleansing. It speaks of my experiences growing up in an extremely racist society, oblivious to the true history of the treaty six and treaty four lands beneath me: the traditional territories of Cree, Assiniboine, Saulteaux, Chipewya, Nakota Sioux and Métis. I believe it is my responsibility - all settlers’ responsibility – to learn the truths of “nation building,” to acknowledge its destructive legacy, to make space and listen to the stories and counter-narratives of survivors who continue to endure institutionalised racism and marginalisation, and to be an ally in dismantling colonialism and imperialism.
“Decolonization is a lifelong struggle filled with uncertainty and risk taking.” - Paulette Regan 'Unsettling the Settler Within'
This is my humble attempt to breathe life into reconciliation. This is my way of accepting the gift of survivor testimonials and the value of their teachings. This an ode to resilience.
The system failed.
To Learn More:
Findings from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: www.trc.ca
They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada staff
Larry Loyie, Wayne K. Spear and Constance Brissenden. - Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - 'An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States'
Paulette Regan - 'Unsettling the Settler Within'
Documentaries (which can be found on YouTube)
Sleeping Children Awake
Silent Thunder: The Search for Truth and Reconciliation
Beyond the Shadows - The legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada
Kuper Island – Residential School Survivors
this will be available on some sort of hard copy format at some point for anyone who gives a damn. the whole thing was recorded in one day, live, the right fucking way. recorded at the dissident sound industry studios in tottenham by nick and then mastered by nick on a freezing day in december nearly 100 years ago.