Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State

Tamara Starblanket (Author) Sharon Venne (With)
& 1 more


Winner of The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, Simon Fraser University Originally approved as a master of laws thesis by a respected Canadian university, this book tackles one of the most compelling issues of our time--the crime of genocide--and whether in fact it can be said to have occurred in relation to the many Original Nations on Great Turtle Island now claimed by a state called Canada. It has been hailed as groundbreaking by many Indigenous and other scholars engaged with this issue, impacting not just Canada but states worldwide where entrapped Indigenous nations face absorption by a dominating colonial state.Starblanket unpacks Canada's role in the removal of cultural genocide from the Genocide Convention, though the disappearance of an Original Nation by forced assimilation was regarded by many states as equally genocidal as destruction by slaughter. Did Canada seek to tailor the definition of genocide to escape its own crimes which were then even ongoing? The crime of genocide, to be held as such under current international law, must address the complicated issue of mens rea (not just the commission of a crime, but the specific intent to do so). This book permits readers to make a judgment on whether or not this was the case.Starblanket examines how genocide was operationalized in Canada, focused primarily on breaking the intergenerational transmission of culture from parents to children. Seeking to absorb the new generations into a different cultural identity--English-speaking, Christian, Anglo-Saxon, termed Canadian--Canada seized children from their parents, and oversaw and enforced the stripping of their cultural beliefs, languages and traditions, replacing them by those still in process of being established by the emerging Canadian state. She outlines the array and extent of the destruction which inevitably took place as part of the effort to bring about such a wrenching change--forcible indoctrination by means of massive and widespread death by disease and dilapidated living conditions, torture, forced starvation, labor, and sexual predation--collateral damage to Canada's effort to absorb diverse original nations into one larger, alien and dominating body politic. The cumulative effects of genocide continue to be exhibited by the survivors and their descendants who suffer from the trauma and dysfunction, primarily in healthy proper parenting, which results in ongoing forcible removals via the child welfare systems to this day.

Product Details

$29.95  $27.55
Clarity Press
Publish Date
June 01, 2018
5.9 X 1.0 X 8.9 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author

Tamara Starblanket is Spider Woman, a Nehiyaw iskwew (Cree woman) from Ahtahkakoop First Nation in Treaty Six Territory. Tamara holds an LLM (master of laws) from the University of Saskatchewan, and an LLB from the University of British Columbia. She is the Co-Chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples' Caucus (NAIPC).
Afterword: Sharon Venne LLB (Notokwew Muskwa Manitokan) is an Indigenous Treaty person (Cree) and by marriage a member of the Blood Tribe within Treaty 7. Sharon has published materials on the history of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations since 1977 and an article on the problem of NGOs and their interference in Indigenous Peoples' exercise of the right to self-determination within international law. In 2015, Sharon was given the lifetime achievement award from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians for her work for Treaty Peoples.
Foreword: Ward Churchill has achieved an unparalleled reputation as a scholar-activist and analyst of indigenous issues. He is a former Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a leading member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and the author of numerous books, including A Little Matter of Genocide, Struggle for the Land, and Fantasies of the Master Race.


"This carefully researched and penetrating study focuses on one of its ugliest manifestations, the forcible transferring of indigenous children, and makes a strong case for Canadian complicity in a form of 'cultural genocide.'" NOAM CHOMSKY
""[B]elongs on the reading list of anyone concerned with social justice and addressing the ongoing colonialism on which the Canadian nation-state stands." STUDIES IN SOCIAL JUSTICE, McGill University
"Suffer the Little Children is a path-breaking text that rigorously and robustly documents the numerous ways in which the Canadian state has and continues to commit genocide against Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island." THE JOURNAL OF TEACHING AND LEARNING, Lakehead University "Tamara Starblanket's book, Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State (with a foreword by Ward Churchill and an afterword by Sharon H. Venne), does what she declares it to do in the first chapter; "... to serve as a battering ram in which to hammer through the wall of denial." She accomplishes her purpose and more in this compelling and well-researched book.." CHRISTOPHER BLACK, Anishinabek News "Throughout the book Starblanket demonstrates a broad knowledge of both history and law. The documentation is vast and precise... a tour de force..." ALFRED DE ZAYAS, former Secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, International Indigenous Policy Journal "Starblanket's book is an important, thought-provoking, and timely interdisciplinary contribution to the field of law, history, and Indigenous Studies that will push readers to reconceptualize colonization and the characterization of residential schools as genocidal." CARLING BENINGER, BC STUDIES