Center for World Indigenous Studies
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A Deafening Silence

Published: August 27, 2007, Author: JayTaber

It is often perplexing to citizens of the former British Empire to watch their governments and militaries assist Third World dictators in slaughtering Fourth World peoples in order to deny them their indigenous claims to resources and territories. Especially when they are non-violent, unarmed, and simply ask to be left alone.

Reading of the British warships shelling Biafran villagers during the Nigerian Civil War reminded me of a story my sister told me of talking with Australian Air Force pilots who’d just returned from what they described as a “turkey shoot” in East Timor, where the Australians were murdering native civilians alongside Indonesian forces as part of the ethnic cleansing of the region adjacent to oil fields the two countries planned to divide between themselves once the rightful owners had been eliminated. More recent actions to exterminate West Papuans with US armaments, likewise, seemed destined to clear away tribal peoples for the benefit of Canadian and American mining corporations.

Sometimes, though, I think that the incongruity of British, American, Canadian, and Australian relief efforts for starving children or traumatized adults — in these Fourth World theaters of war instigated by their own governments — must dawn on at least a few perceptive souls. So why is it that no one speaks of indigenous peoples?

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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