VFA Journal # 4

      

       Our first article in this edition is another look at the process of meditation, continued from

our previous Journal, in "The Myths of Meditation! New Light on Dhyana" by Yogi Harinam

Baba Prem Tom Beal.

        Our second article is "Preaching in India's Northeast for Cultural Preservation". This looks

at some of the activities of the VFA in my description of our trip to Assam and the "North East

India Janajati Faith & Culture Protection Forum" which took place on the 14th and 15th of

December, 2002. It reveals the dangers that exist there, not only for people who enter the region,

but also for the people that live there and continue to follow their own culture. It is something

that not enough people are aware of.

        Our third article is "HIDDEN FROM HISTORY--The Canadian Holocaust." It is a

shocking and disturbing look at the planned extermination of the indigenous people of Canada by

the Church. If you have any concerns for the First Natives of the area, or other indigenous people

around the world, this will be of most interest to you. I hope you like these articles, and we will

see you again in our next issue.

Hari Om and Hari bol,

Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)

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The Myths of Meditation! New light on Dhyana.

By Yogi Harinam Baba Prem Tom Beal

The western mind has often missed important subtitles when attempting to experience and

understand the ancient teachings regarding meditation. For most people the goal of meditation is

to relax, whereas in India meditation cannot be achieved without relaxing first. The second

misconception is that the mind should be empty. An examination of the words Dhyana and

mantra will illuminate this and clearly reduce the most common misconceptions regarding

meditation.

Roots of the words.

The Sanskrit word for meditation is Dhyana, which comes from the verbal root dhi or dhya. Both

roots mean to "think", this is particularly true in the sense of inquiry, examination or

introspection. In fact, in Vedic yoga, "dhi" is a reference to the Buddhi or thinking and discerning

mechanism of the mind. It would be correct to call the intellect the Buddhi in its lower function.

Dhyana as meditation is not merely a quiet mind, though this can be a significant achievement.

One of the initial goals of Dhyana should be proper or controlled thought. Clearly illustrated in

PatanjaliĂs yoga sutras, which states in the eight limbs that before meditation can begin one must

possess concentration (Dharana). Concentration is not the removal of thought but the focusing of

thought onto a single object or a single thought. An advanced state of the final three limbs

(Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) is often referred to as "one-pointed ness". One-pointed ness is the

continuous flow of thought, but each thought is in perfect harmony with the preceding thought.

In addition, it could be viewed as such intense concentration that there is mergence with the

object of concentration. These two points would indicate that the goal is not mere absence of

thought, which is beyond reach of most beginner and intermediate students, but a singular or

focused thought rooted in powerful concentration. This focused thought actually forms the basis

of practical application of Advaitic philosophy, known as inquiry. This system is one of the most

advanced philosophical systems from India. But can more light be shed on the process of

meditative thinking? Yes! The importance of thought can be clearly illustrated by the word

mantra.

Mantra is derived from the verbal root man, which means, to "think". "Tra" as a suffix to man

means to "rescue". It would also be correct to interpret "tra" indicating a means or method.

Mantra is controlled thinking that actually rescues or saves the mind. What this means in reality is

to purify the mind and prepare it for more expansive thought.

For most people the mind could be viewed as a vast sea with a hurricane flowing across it. The

thoughts are waves coming from all directions without rhyme or reason. In fact, for most

beginners the focusing of thought can be a considerable challenge. In the preparatory stages of

meditation (learning to relax) they feel like a ship trapped at sea in a horrible storm of thought.

They wrestle with the thoughts, attempting to harness the wild activity only to experience

frustration, after frustration.

Primary differences in systems.

The conflict appears to be between two philosophical differences between the yogic and Vedic

yogic, especially the advaitic systems. Close examination will reveal that actually both systems

have the same ultimate goal. Yoga is primarily taught to focus on purification of the mind. The

Advaitic system is to go beyond mind entirely. Does yoga contain this concept? Yes! In the

oldest Vedic teachings and within many Upanishads there is constant reference to thought being

the foundation of physical and astral existence. This is especially true in the writings of the great

Rshi Vashishta.

Within yoga we actually see a similar teaching "ogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha" Yoga Sutras of

Patanjali B.1 s.2, Yoga is restraint of thought in the field of the mind. Here is an apparent

paradox and basis for the misunderstanding. Proper thought leads to restraint of thought, or

focused thought leads to restraint of thoughts. Incorrectly this sutra has lead some to consider

the absence of thought to be the actual teaching, but Patanjali's selection of the word nirodha

(restraint) is the key. Regrettably this has resulted in many thinking that the elimination of

thought is the only goal. Especially since many scholars consider the second sutra to be the most

important sutra, and the rest of the book is written to deal with that one issue.

Nirodha comes from the root rudh which means to Šobstruct÷, the prefix ˘ni÷ literally means

lowness or downward motions. Nirodha means not just restraint of thoughts but to obstruct

thoughts of lower nature. This would increase thought and concentration of a higher nature. A

more western practical approach would be restraint of thoughts within the field of the ego, and an

objective awareness of the thoughts rising from the cosmic mind (Brahman), or as some systems

might say merging into pure thought, or pure consciousness. When the mind becomes fully

focused on a single object of examination it is able to transcend itself and merge into pure

consciousness. So Nirodha arises from one-pointedness or ekagra. It does not arise from a merely

blank or unfocused mind. Extreme one-pointedness is Nirodha, not simply a mind left blank or

wandering.

An examination of the remainder of the Yoga sutras of Patanjali will reveal that the last three

limbs called Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi (concentration, meditation, super consciousness)

actually contain thought and work within the field of thought (material creation, mental creation,

emotional creation) through proper restraint, control and direction of thought. In fact, the Yamas

and Niyamas (controls and restraints) introduced in PatanjaliĂs yoga are founded in control of

thought, though the goal taught is often just control of action. The goal is actually not just

control of action but ultimately this must become control of thought, which results in these

thought lower or negative thoughts being absence from the field of thought.

The goal within the Vedic system is to understand the expansiveness of the mind, and then to go

beyond the mind, first by moving past the limited mind (Manas and Ahamkara), and eventually

moving past Buddhi and Mahat eventually merging with Brahman. This is achieved by

suspending some forms of thought but thought itself has not come to an end yet. In the highest

levels, thought itself comes to an end. But that is beyond the scope of a beginner or intermediate

student.

Vedic Yoga's solution.

To deal with this issue the Vedic Yoga system provides three jewels:

1. Pranayama

2. Mantra

3. Dhyana

For the average beginner student the journey toward true meditation can easily begin with

Pranayama. In its more advanced forms pranayama is actual control of prana; for beginners it is

literally controlling the breath. Careful examination of simple breathing exercises will quickly

reveal a meditative truth. As mentioned earlier, the goal is controlled thought. The concentration

required for pranayama begins to bring the thinking process under control. In yogic philosophy,

the breath is a reflection of the mind and visa versa. So the easiest path to control of the mind is

through control of the breath. Once the basics of this is accomplished, pranayama can have step

two added to it, mantra.

In the Vedic Yoga system Brahmins used various breathing exercises (pranayama), which are still

in use today. The Vedic meter and swara both require control of the breath. But mantra takes

the controlled thinking process to another level. Mantra begins to purify the field of the mind,

further preparing for deeper meditation. Repetition (Japa) of mantra over long periods of time

has been demonstrated to have powerful healing and clearing effects on the mind. The use of

mantra appears in vedangas and upavedas such Jyotisha, Vastu, and Ayurveda. Not to mention

the Rg Veda, Atharva Veda, Yajur Veda and the entire Sama Veda contain numerous mantras for

these very purposes. In fact mantra appears within Brahmanas, Arankyas, Puranas, and

Upanishads. Invocations and specific mantras are used to prepare the mind to think with many of

the major Upanishads such as the Aitareya and Taittirya. It is quite clear from reviewing the

ancient text that a great importance was placed on mantra. The cosmos first gift to the physical

form was the ingoing breath, and with the outgoing breath mantra was manifested on the physical

level.

Initially mantra can be practiced aloud, after sometime it should be whispered. But the most

profound effect on the mind comes from silent repetition of mantra. "Japa," the Sanskrit word for

repetition comes from the root "jap" which means to whisper. It is important to note that in some

Indian systems Japa is broken into two primal roots, "Ja" and "Pa". "Ja" can refer to the mind, or

that which is born, and "Pa" can mean to protect. So in some yogic system japa can refer to

protecting the mind. After sufficient practice and experience with mantra, then the aspirants mind

is prepared for Dhyana.

In the Vedic yoga system, Dhyana can manifest as many forms; one of the most popular is

meditation on the physical form of a deity. This powerful and important tool in Vedic meditation

is all but ignored in western society. This is due to numerous reasons such as: unawareness of the

technique, fear of offending people, conflicting religious views, and the desire of western teachers

to only be pleasing to students for financial reward among other reasons. Meditation on a

physical form of the deity is a vital second step in the process of self-realization for many

students.

Some might argue this point, possibly by pointing out that Buddhism does not use deities. It

should be noted that deities such as Tara do appear in several forms of Buddhism, and the image

of the Buddha is used in almost all, if not all systems of Buddhism. Though the Buddha image is

not though of as a deity, clearly we can see the same process at work as in the Vedic system. It is

important to remember that Gotama Buddha did not rebel against Hinduism; as he often referred

to his people as Aryan <his teaching as Arya Dharma>. He rebelled against the emptiness and

unawareness that had developed within the Vedic ritual. In fact the relationship between

Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism has been a fairly close relationship, with even the Dali Lama

agreeing that the roots Buddhism come from Hinduism. In addition, Tibetan Buddhism has been

critical in preserving numerous Hindu texts, philosophies, and works.

The use of a deified image even exists within the Catholic Church with mother Mary representing

the Shakti (feminine power) of divinity. Daily Catholics pray to a variety of images of Saints and

Angels. It is quite clear that the use of a deity image or image for spiritual growth is almost

universal. In reality and with proper education there should be conflict with using an image in

meditation. It is one of the oldest and most widely used techniques in the world. After practice

one would most certainly agree that it is a powerful technique and form of meditation. The

appearance of a deity in Bhakti yoga is a very powerful aspect of the practice of Bhakti yoga,

though there are some forms of Bhakti that are more oriented toward not accepting attributes.

Work with a deity image is a powerful technique that greatly aids in awakening the higher

function of the buddhi (it should be noted that mantra facilitates the awakening of the Buddhi

also). More abstract forms of deity meditation can be used as the skill of the practitioner

increases, such as yantras, which serve as the body of the deity in the Tantric system, and with

mantra, which serves as the mind of the deity. And still even more advanced meditation can be

practiced on the deity by performing samyama on various attributes of the deity and ignoring the

form completely; eventually leading to formless meditation for some practitioners that desire to

explore that direction. Though some may chose to stay within the field of form, which is a

completely valid system also.

This can eventually evolve into one of the simplest and highest forms of dhyana, which is

self-inquiry such as taught by Ramana Maharishi. It is important to note that Ramana Maharishi

had no objections to the use of form, ritual, or puja. Again we see that the concept of thought or

the thinking principle is not deserted but is used like a hot knife to cut through the butter of

limiting thought.

We see that the ancient seers recorded a perfect system for discovery of the true nature of the self.

It can be, at the highest levels, pure absence of thought or absence of ego, but initially entails a

great degree of effort to control and direct thought. Clearly we see ample evidence that the

ancient seers considered it very important that the mind be cleared and prepared to fully

experience dhyana and one of the most powerful tools in preparation for dhyana is mantra and

pranayama.

Great appreciation and thanks are given to Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) for his

insight into Vedic Yoga. Vedic Yoga and its principle's is a term that was first introduced to the

author by Dr. Frawley.

References:

Dr. David Frawley www.vedanet.com

Frawley, David, ˘Vedic Yoga, the Oldest Form of Yoga÷. www.vedanet.com

Rg Veda

Sama Veda

Atharva Veda

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yogi Harinam Baba Prem Tom Beal

universalyoga@netzero.net

407-299-8518

1338 Hampshire Place Circle

Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

=====================================================================

Preaching in India's Northeast for Cultural Preservation

By Stephen Knapp

This article not only relates my experience of traveling into India's Northeast hinterlands, but it also reveals the truth about the dangers there. It shows what is being applied to the villagers to force them to lose or give up their Vedic or indigenous cultures and replace them with the western forms of religion. It is something of which many people are not aware, so this article will inform you of the reality of the situation through my own first-hand experience.

        India's northeast is an area that I had never visited before. So my

experience of touring Arunachal Pradesh (in December of 2002) and lecturing

about the glories of Vedic culture was not only inspiring, but was also a terrific

adventure. Fortunately, I was able to see not only some of its large towns but

also some of its smallest villages.

        My intent is to work with the extended Hindu society for a common cause. This shows the

usefulness that we can be to the larger community as well as the power that comes from an

expansive and cooperative effort. I have also written several books that have

reached and been appreciated by this broader society of Sanatana-dharma.

        It is for this reason that I had originally been invited by Swami

Dayanand Sarasvati from Coimbatore, along with several other delegates from

the West, to go to Guwahati in Assam to participate in the "North East India

Janajati Faith & Culture Protection Forum". This conference took place on the

14th and 15th of December, 2002. It focused on the increasing threat in India's

northeast regions of the loss of its culture and traditions because of the number

of conversions that are taking place, often by questionable tactics. I and the

other delegates were there to give lectures and presentations on the benefits of

the local and Vedic culture of the region.

        The other delegates from the west included Dr. David Frawley, Andrew

Foss, Vrindavana Parker, Yvette Rosser, and Surya das Youngwolf, all of

whom are members of the Vedic Friends Association. Now you might ask

why they might want westerners such as us to come and give talks. Surely their

own local people would know more about their own culture than we would.

        The point is that when they see Westerners talking about the glories of

Vedic culture, the Indians take it more seriously. It adds credence to the

presentation. This is not the first time that I've been touring India and giving

lectures, and I have found that this is true. They look at a typical westerner,

such as myself, who has been brought up in a country like America, the most

materially affluent country in the world, and often grown up in the usual

Christian background, who then comes to India and explains how much we

have been influenced by the Vedic tradition and knowledge. This is a real

novelty to some of them. This is very unusual that we should speak with such

approval of what the Vedic culture has had to offer humanity. This is because

we often look at India not from an outsider's viewpoint but from an Indian's

perspective. And it gives them a sense of pride in what they have.

        Furthermore, as David Frawley told me, the Prime Minister of India,

Vajpayai personally said to him that as westerners, we can say more than

Indians can. If an Indian gets up and speaks, or even if a Swami speaks about

the glories of Vedic culture, it is to be expected. It's nothing new. But if a

westerner does it, then that is different, and we can say things that the locals

cannot always say and be taken seriously. In fact, all of us Western delegates

got coverage in the press over the next few days for being there and giving talks

at the conference. So in light of this, I felt good that I could come and do my

part in encouraging people to value their own culture.

        This conference was the first of its kind, and there were almost 300

delegates from the northeast. Many were there to speak and give their concerns

with what is happening, and there was hardly enough time for everyone.

However, many papers were also presented, and it certainly provided the means

for planning for an even more effective conference the following year.

Traveling in Arunachal Pradesh

        After the conference, most of us western delegates went our separate

ways into the interior of the region. Vridavana and Yvette went into Nagaland,

Andrew went to Schillong, Meghalaya for a few days, and Surya das

Youngwolf and I went into different parts of Arunachal Pradesh. My own route

took me to the eastern part, closer to China and Myanmar. You need special

permits to travel into these parts, but the organization I was working with, the

Vivekananda Kendra, provided the means for such permits to be granted. So I

spent another seven days traveling to many towns and villages, giving from one

to three lectures everyday, except on the days that were full of traveling.

        I was able to also see much of the area's wilderness. There are

extremely lush forests, beautiful hills and valleys, and lovely flowing rivers. The

most prominent river of course is the Brahmaputra. It also has many tributaries

that reach much farther into the hills and mountains. The best time to travel is in

the winter, which is the dry season here. Once the rainy season starts in March,

the Brahmaputra rises much higher and can be up to ten miles wide in some

places. Then it must be crossed by ferry, which can take several hours in parts.

        As it was, in the eastern region, we could sometimes drive right through the

shallow portions of the rivers. At areas where we could not see exactly where

the road went, we would throw rocks into the shallow parts of the river. If you

could hear the rocks bounce off the bottom, that's where we would drive the

jeep. However, there was a time when we miscalculated and we drove into the

river and the water started coming up over the front of the jeep. So before we

got soaked, the driver stepped on the gas and we simply went through it to the

other side without a problem. At other areas, we would have to take the

pontoon bridges. However, in the rainy season even these could be washed

away.

        While traveling in these hilly areas, some of the roads were the worst I'd

ever ridden on in India. In other places you could not tell where the road ended

and another started. They were like mere paths in the sand. And while driving

up to the town of Khonsa during the night after a day of rain, the roads were so

bad that without a four-wheel drive jeep there would have been no way we

could have gotten through the mud, which was easily six inches deep or more

along steep hillsides. I have been on narrow mountain roads of the Himalayas

before while going up to Badrinatha or Gangotri, so I know what they can be

like. But when the tires start spinning and the jeep begins sliding around in the

mud and getting close to the edge of the road, then it gets a little hair-raising.

Long drop offs down from the edge of the road were not unusual.

        To reach these towns I traveled in a jeep and was accompanied by a

driver, along with two members of the Vivekananda Kendra, Rupesh and

Ramana, and my own personal security officer for extra safety. This was not

because the people are unfriendly, but because of the danger the region has

suffered due to the effects of militant Christian insurgents coming from

Nagaland. They come in and terrorize the people and force them with threats to

pay high taxes to fund their cause, or with death if they do not convert to their

religion. This is called "gunpoint conversions". They have even taken people

out to the forests to shoot and kill them when they have refused to convert.

Furthermore, when we were traveling from Mergherita to Khonsa we had a

truck with four additional armed soldiers follow us into the forest region for a

few hours for extra protection. You never know when the insurgents could

show up in the middle of a forest, set up road blocks, and threaten your life.

Though I never felt in peril, you never knew if something might happen. So

while traveling and speaking on the benefits and glories of Vedic culture, this

was one of the dangers with which we had to contend.

        An example is the town of Khonsa. This is a pleasant hillside town with

neighboring villages. Yet, some years ago the town and its shops would often

stay open with activity until eight o'clock or later. But after the insurgents

started coming and making their demands, the town now closes up shortly after

dark, which is around five PM or later. The people became fearful of what

could happen. Even though the police and military have increased its numbers

to add protection, the people have become extra cautious, and there are certain

things that they can no longer do. This is one way in which their freedom to

practice their culture is being threatened. The original traditions of this region

are parts of the great river of Sanatana-dharma that flows throughout India, or

are all tributaries of that great river. Naturally we are respectful toward all

religions. But it should not be at the expense of one's own culture. We must not

humble ourselves out of our own existence, or our own values and traditions.

        We must know when to stand and take counter measures for preserving our

own heritage. This is why attention needs to be given to the Northeast region so

that the simple and innocent people of this area can be protected from falling as

victims of destabilizing forces.

The People

        The people in the region are wonderful, for the most part. Extremely

hospitable and courteous. They are simple, humble, shy, and incredibly

conscientious of others' feelings and well being. They maintain ecological

lifestyles and acquire whatever they need by living off the land. I met many

people there who always invited me to their homes for dinner or lunch to try

their local vegetarian foods. And they were always giving me gifts that

represented their local crafts and traditions. I also met other Indians who were

from other parts of the country that upon arriving in Arunachal Pradesh simply

loved the people so much that they have stayed there.

        In Arunachal Pradesh, the ecologically built houses are made mostly

from bamboo and do not even have doors or locks on them. People can come

and go as they like with no fear from thieves or dacoits from within their own

village. Because of their values, these villages have no beggars, no orphans or

destitutes. Everyone takes care of everyone else. For example, when a young,

newly married couple wants to build a house, the whole community works

together to build it in what's called "community house building." If any house

gets burned down, the whole village comes together to rebuild it. I was

personally shown a part of a village where several houses had burnt down. The

houses were all rebuilt in two days because everyone worked together. Then

others come to offer the people in need such items as blankets, utensils, or other

necessities. In this way, within 24 hours or so a well-furnished house can be

ready for a family. When a whole village is burnt, other neighboring villages

come together to rebuild and furnish the houses. The society responds to the

needs of its members. Therefore, it does not need an orphanage or a destitute

home, nor a police force, or government forms of welfare. The society itself is a

welfare society. And yet the western or converted missionaries want to

"civilize" these people by making them change their ways and religion. Then

wherever conversions take place, these traditional values and community

cooperation are lost.

 

My Lectures

        During my tour, I visited and lectured at several schools to both

students and teachers, as well as several community centers where people

gathered to hear me and ask philosophical and spiritual questions. I spoke to

local people as well as tribal chiefs or local government officials. Some of the

students had never seen an American before.

        When I would speak, I was always introduced as being a disciple of His

Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, and having joined the Hare

Krishna movement back in 1975. Even though I was working with

organizations outside Iskcon, I was surprised at how many Krishna bhaktas I

met. And I was also impressed with how many people view Srila Prabhupada

with the utmost respect and feel that Iskcon is an organization that is working

very nicely for the protection, preservation and expansion of Vedic culture. So

for this reason, I'm happy to broaden my participation with whom I work for

these preaching efforts. After all, it was the Vivekananda Kendra and other

organizations who had arranged for my travel and speaking engagements

through this region, and who paid for and arranged for my transportation and

the places for me to stay. We were working to achieve the same thing, which is

the continuance and expansion of the Vedic principles and culture.

        For me personally, I am also working to keep India the homeland of a

living and dynamic Vedic civilization, which in many ways is being threatened in

particular areas of India. The Northeastern region is another area in which a

growing militant view, influenced by western religions, makes people demand

succession from India as a separatist country. This is especially in Nagaland,

Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachala Pradesh, etc., although a fair number of

people still want to follow their own indigenous culture. So this is one reason I

have gone on lecture tours throughout India, and was visiting the northeastern

region on this trip. When people see a westerner speaking with such dedication

to the Vedic path, it gives them more self-confidence.

        After all, what other culture in the world has given society such deep

and philosophical insights into the reasons for life, and the perception of our

spiritual identity? What culture has given more realizations into humanity's

spiritual unity, and our connection with God?

        In America there are more people than ever looking toward the East for

spiritual knowledge and a heightened understanding in the meaning of life.

There are over seven million Americans who practice yoga on a regular basis,

and many others are adopting to the Eastern forms of diet and Ayurvedic health

care for improving their lives. More magazines than ever before are found at the

news stand that deal with Eastern lifestyles and philosophy, such as

reincarnation, life after death, diet and exercise, or even the philosophical

adaptations for corporate management.

        Another thing that is happening in America is the epidemic of

depression. The statistics say that as many as 70 million Americans are suffering

from depression. This is a lack of motivation, of purpose in life, and feeling

lethargic, uninspired, and even suicidal over the way life is going for them. So

again, people are looking for more purpose in life. This shows that merely

adapting to the Western lifestyle or its religions may not be the way to be

perfectly happy or solve all our problems. It may not be all that is required to

advance in life. There is something more that is necessary. America is a young

country, so it really does not have much culture of its own. That is why when

Americans look for culture, they often have to look outside of their own

country. And that search often takes people toward the East. So it may surprise

many people who live in India and the Eastern countries how the West is

looking toward them to add purpose and deeper meaning and understanding to

their lives.

        Because of this, and also due to the increasing number of Indians and

foreign people who practice Vedic culture or forms of Sanatana-dharma who

are moving to America, the demographics in the United States is rapidly

changing. You find an increasing change in the religious temperament of the

population. There is more openness to alternative spiritual paths than only

Christianity. There is a decrease in the evangelism that goes on in the West,

which is presently so popular in India. It is becoming more of a thing of the

past. Churches are also not as full, especially in Europe. People are looking at

the more personal ways of practicing spirituality, something that the Vedic

system has provided for centuries.

        The Vedic culture is also the oldest of any culture in the world, and for

thousands of years has provided mankind with standards, ideals and insights for

living that have provided for peace, harmony and spiritual development. The

world has always looked toward India for spiritual guidance. Therefore, who

should tell me that if I expect to advance into the 21st century that I must give

up this culture? Or that the Vedic customs are evil and Satanic? Since when did

they ever become Satanic, except with the presence of the foreign missionaries?

The Vedic tradition and all its tributaries in the region have already existed for

thousands of years, so who is to tell me that it is not good enough to last for

another several thousand years?

        The Vedic customs and philosophy have withstood the test of time

because of their universal nature. It has lasted because of the respect given to

the individual, as opposed to forcing people into following the dictates of an

institution at the expense of individual freedom. Under the Vedic umbrella there

is, nonetheless, the freedom for religious diversity. Recognizing our spiritual

similarities provides the means for unity in diversity. The Vedic system

establishes certain principles by which we can live and grow in peace. As long

as those principles are respected and practiced, it does not demand that people

drastically change from their indigenous culture.

        The people of Bharat are rooted in religious culture. In fact, as I have

traveled around most of India, I can see that many of the social problems that

have developed are not because of the culture itself, but because of the

distancing or even disconnection from the true teachings of Vedic culture. Or it

is because of following a perversion of what the culture once was.

This doesn't mean that people must give up on technological

advancement. No. As my own spiritual master Srila Prabhuapda has said, along

with others like Vivekananda, the need is to combine the advancements of

the West with the spiritual knowledge of the East. This is what provides for a

decent and progressive society. The only need is to keep the basis of Vedic

culture, but merely add to it the modern technological developments of the

West. You simply broaden your education to include the modern technologies

that are helpful and applicable to the region. Include what is necessary to

improve the roads and methods of transportation, the medical systems and

hospitals, the communication systems, the agricultural techniques, and so on.

You don't have to give up your culture or religion to do this. Keep what you

have and simply add to it. Or modify the customs according to what is most

appropriate to the times, but do so with proper respect for the tradition.

        The point to consider is that the farther a people go from their original

indigenous culture and the values and principals it contained, often the worse

life becomes for them. They become but slaves to a new establishment that

cares little for their genuine welfare or original traditions. Forgetting their own

ethics and values is often what happens at the demands of the foreign institution

or religion, thus, often furthering interest in shallow or false aims of life.

        The lectures and presentation that I gave went so well that they want me

to return next year and spend more time in that area cultivating the values and

focusing on the glories of Vedic culture and the original traditions of the region.

So I want to do this. As I get to know the people on an increasingly personal

level, then the more effective I can be in working to retain the natural culture of

the area and delivering genuine spiritual knowledge.

The Dangers in the Northeast

        In personally interviewing the local people about the situation, this is

what I learned: That the northeast region has become so infected by Christian

militants and conversions that they want to secede from the rest of India and

become their own Christian country, against the wishes of those who want to

remain a part of the Vedic or indigenous cultures.

        Assam, for example, has an economy based on agriculture and oil.

Assam produces a significant part of the total tea production of the world, and

produces more than half of India's petroleum. Assam has 30 major tribes of

people while the nearby state of Arunachal Pradesh has 24 major tribes.

However, the current political situation in Assam is unstable with the United

Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) fighting a low-intensity but widespread

guerrilla warfare for independence from India. Although the Indian military has

tried to quell the insurgents with a large presence for more than ten years, they

have not been very successful. Plus, there are other militant groups that are

seeking independence or autonomy in Assam.

        Mizoram is another state that is now mostly converted to Christianity,

but whose people have shunned the path of violence and are peace loving. They

are, nonetheless, reviving their age old culture, traditions and festivals after

feeling the dread impact of westernization which invaded their land with the

alien religion.

        Manipur, south of Nagaland and north of Mizoram, still remains

attached to its old Vedic culture, especially through its song and dances, many

of which tell the stories of Lord Krishna. However, many changes have also

been felt there as well.

        Christians entered Nagaland and Mizoram in 1860-70, and Arunachal in

1952. Because of the influence of western evangelists, the local traditions are

now in the process of being transformed beyond recognition or wiped out

totally. Taking advantage of the poverty, lack of employment and education,

these foreign missionaries have lured away a large part of the people from their

traditional moorings. Types of food, drink, dress, songs, dances and festivals

are all being lost or forgotten because of recently being regarded as

unrighteous, and being replaced by modern western pop songs and dances.

        However, the people have not completely snapped the bond with the culture of

their forefathers. Conversion tears the individual away from his or her family,

and from the rest of the community. Acts of conversion, therefore, create social

unrest and clashes in an area that has until recently been a place of community

peace and cooperation. What is now appearing is the typical form of

competition found in western society, and a class struggle emerging in the once

classless society. In this way, we can understand that the work of religious

conversion in the guise of social service by calling the indigenous cultures and

the forefathers as satanic or worshipers of Satan, or people of darkness and

damned to hell, is a form of violence of the worst sort. It is, therefore, all the

more necessary to think of ways and means to stem the tide of this so-called

modernism which is producing the loss of the Vedic indigenous cultures in the

area.

        One of the methods of the missionary schools to make Christian

converts is that they offer free education to the local children. They educate

them freely for one or two years and then begin charging them for books and

clothes. However, if the parents cannot pay the costs, the schools tell them that

if they make four or five boys into Christians, then they do not have to pay the

school tuition. Thus, the education narrows their views of their own culture to

the point where they willingly give it up and help perpetuate that limited notion.

        The people are also told that they are not Indian, and should not think

they need to be loyal to India or the Indian traditions. They are told by the

schools that they are actually "austro-mongoloid" (by anthropologists) to

inspire a feeling that the people do not belong here since they do not look like

other Indians. Or since there is a difference in food habits, as some people eat

beef in Arunachal Pradesh, they should not identify with other Indians. The

missionary schools then focus on differences, and people become influenced

because they do not have a deeper understanding of the unifying principles.

        The idea is given that unless the people become Christian, they will not

become qualified to develop themselves like America has done. They are told

that becoming Christian is the way to become more materially successful.

        Another method is that when the Church comes in, the missionaries say

that the people and their ancestors have been practicing evil. Sometimes they

are even told that they and their customs are Satanic. Thus, all traditions,

worship, festivals, etc., must stop since it is equal to devil worship. However,

when people listen and adopt the ways of Christianity, the harmonious

community living ends and the people become divided. The new Christians no

longer participate in community activities, such as festivals, town meetings, or

in respecting the land when a section is cleared for farming for a few years and

later replanted with trees for future balance. Nor do they help with community

house-building. All this stops among the Christian converts.

        For example, in the villages people are so united that, as previously

explained, when a house burns down, everyone helps to build a new house for

the people who had been living there. Some people will also give utensils,

others give blankets, and so on so that in a few days the people whose house

burned down will have a new place and everything they need to go on as

normal. So when this cooperation ends because some of the townspeople have

become Christian, people become selfish and alienated from age-old traditions

and from each other.

        A simple example of this is the regional custom of making rice beer. The

Christian missionaries have come in and told people they must give up their

traditions because they are evil, including the making of rice beer, which anyone

can do. It's not an industry. Rice beer is made from rice and is actually a

nutritious drink. Yet, it must stay contained and ferment for a long period of

time before it becomes a strong brew. You have to drink a lot of it if you expect

to become inebriated. Otherwise, it is like a fruit drink with very little strength.

So, with the incentive of the foreign missionaries they give up making the rice

beer and instead they are encouraged to simply buy wine. Now there are so

many wine and liquor shops in some areas like Assam that alcoholism is

becoming a real concern. And there are far more health problems with liquor

than there is with rice beer. So, in the name of progress, the situation has

become more detrimental to the people than helpful or improved.

        The missionaries, as part of their campaign for conversion, have also

called the gods and goddesses of the communities "spirits." The people were

told, "You do not have God, You only worship spirits. What you have is only

primitive ideas of religion and a bundle of superstitions. If you want to be

saved, you must follow our One True God." Thus, they took away the people's

confidence in their culture, but by using the word "spirit" they also

philosophically separated the local Vanavasi people from their Hindu or Vedic

connection.

        At many times the church has not made any attempt to hide what they

are doing. Actually, they have to include the number of converts they are

making because that helps increase the funding they receive from the West.

Thus, local people have been hearing and reading in the Christian propaganda

that third world countries like India are the prime missionary fields. They

declare their intention through radios, literature, or in church services, of

turning India into a land of Christ by hook or crook.

        A few other things that the church uses as techniques for conversion is

explained by Naga Rani Gaidinliu. In 1978 the people of Lungkao village in

Manipur had been approaching the state government for establishing a medical

dispensary. As it could not happen for a long time, the men from the Christian

church began visiting the people and would tell them that God could fulfill their

desire for a dispensary only if they all stopped pursuing their age-old indigenous

faiths and accepted Jesus Christ only as their personal savior. They began to

repeatedly tell the simple and innocent villagers that as long as they were on the

side of "Satan" (meaning the indigenous faith) they would not have their desired

dispensary but worse, they would also be burnt in hell fire before long. They

were about to begin succeeding in this process when the State Government of

Manipur gave approval to allow for the medical dispensary and saved the

situation.

        Failing to convert adult Hindus, the economically powerful American

Baptist Church, which had been working in the Kiriba town, as well as the

Roman Catholic Church elsewhere, entice the minor children to join their

school. Thereafter, they work to convert them by baptizing them without the

knowledge of the parents. As soon as a tribal child is converted, his or her

indigenous name is changed in the school register the next day to something like

that of John, Joseph, Mary or Margaret. Such conversions of minor children

invariably lead to disharmony, unhappiness and eventual shattering of the

families, along with their age-old traditions and culture. This could be compared

more closely to psychological warfare against the people and communities in

which such churches have been allowed to exist, rather than social service,

welfare and upliftment.

        The northeast region of India, especially around and in Nagaland, has 40

different missionary groups, all quarreling and competing for converts to

Christianity. But it also has 18 major Christian militant groups, which are

extremely dangerous. The Nagaland militants get church money and then buy

guns, such as AK47s and AK57s from Burma or Bangladesh. They will also go

into villages and threaten people to pay a tax to them. Then they use the money

to buy guns and weapons. The Indian Army is helping to stop such activities,

but the secular press writes against the Army activities, making them appear to

be villains working against the freedom of the people.

        These militant groups travel throughout the area and kidnap people for

ransom money. They patrol Arunachal towns to make them Christian. They tell

the people that their lives are in danger if they do not build a church or pay a

tax to them. Some people may argue that these are not real Christians, but

"Nagaland for Christ" is the name they use, which is stamped on the notes that

demand tax. These groups may also say that they are servants of the

government, and thus collect a tax which they use for their purpose. Of course,

some people may say that these are not real Christians, so we should not take

them seriously. Yet, if that's the case, then why don't you try telling them that

and see what happens? They may not be convinced of your point of view and

may end up turning their guns toward you. They are completely convinced that

they are doing the right thing for their religion.

        What the militants do is that groups of 20 to 30 men will come from

places like Nagaland and then travel through the forest into towns of Arunachal

Pradesh. They take food and rest, and then demand that the people should

become Christian and threaten them with guns. Due to fear, people then convert

in "gunpoint conversions". There are both Catholic and Baptist militant groups.

Though these groups are all Christian, they still have no respect for each other

and often fight amongst themselves. One such group, the National Socialist

Council of Nagaland has two factions. One is the Kaplan group, and the other is

the Isak Muria group. On December 14 of 2002, The Kaplan group attacked

the latter group when they were at church during a Sunday gathering. Four

people were killed and others injured. So we have to ask ourselves; how can

social harmony come from such disharmony? How can unity come from such

disunity? So how can we combat this chaos and clean up this dilemma?

Working to Restore Cultural Balance

        To summarize the situation in the words of Talom Rukbo the Father of

the Donyipolo Movement in Arunachala Pradesh from a talk he gave called

"The Truth Every Bharatiya Should Know":

"The church--Christian missionaries--quickly capitalized on the

innocence of our forefathers. They fraudulently convinced our people that we

were barbarians and converted some into Christianity. Having put into them the

fear of God, the temptation of Paradise, they put the Bible into their hands and

employed the local youth to translate it and hymns in their local dialect. The

books were made for free distribution in the local areas. Those brainwashed

youths became their tools and handmade for propagation of their religion and

erected churches to attract the innocent Arunachalee people, thus converting

them into missionaries. The so called "Service" they offered--medicines and

school--were thin disguises for their crooked purpose of conversion. They

declared that the converted persons must discard (1) the "animist" practices,

(2) our festivals and that our Gods and Godesses were Saitan (evil spirits--

Satan). Christians must depend only on the CROSS for their safety and security.

Slowly this created frequent disturbances and social disharmony. The Christian

missionaries were stooping to the lowest, most uncivilized means to tear social

fabric of our society apart.

        "Our traditions, customs, rituals, faith, festivals, dress, etc., have deep

roots and profound meaning. We should remember that our forefathers have

lived it with peace and happiness. We should take supreme pride in them,

preserve then and guard them from the attack of any force--whichever it might

be. Yes, it may have to be modified as per the social needs but without

destroying its essentials. Seeing and worshiping the sun, moon, tress, earth... all

these natural things, are reflections of our culture. We are seeing in them the

expressions of ultimate divinity! Being the inheritors of such a lofty philosophy,

why should we feel inferior to anyone or accept foreign faith? Let us stop using

the word tribal, henceforth as a cancerous legacy from the 'colonialists'. It was

in keeping with their 'divide and rule policy'. Never be under the impression that

modernization means westernization, it is not. Let us not imitate but adapt and

accept whatever is constructive and in tune with our moral aptitude. Let this be

our yardstick."

        To help in this way, the Vivekananda Kendra has been establishing

schools since 1977 with 60-70% support from the local people. Now they do

not convert to Western religions so easily anymore in those areas. The quality

of work of the Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas (VHVs) can be judged by the

fact that starting in 1977 with only 7 schools, 23 teachers and 220 students, the

VKVs have grown to 20 schools, 267 teachers and 6278 students in 25 years.

Three more schools are scheduled to start in 2003, and the Kendra is still not

able to meet the demand for more schools.

        Graduates are becoming doctors, engineers, lawyers, administrators, but

are also taking active roles and important positions in local government to work

for the preservation of the cultures. Many also come back to Arunachal to work

toward the development of the state and its people. The education provided in

the VKVs is based on the principle of "Man Making and Nation Building,"

which encompasses a full curriculum of subjects and activities for mental,

intellectual, physical and spiritual development.

        Vivekananda Kendra also started the Vivekananda Kendra Aruna Jyoti

in 1993, a multi-dimensional service project for everyone. It includes five

separate wings for education, health care, youth, women, and culture.

The goal is the development of the local culture through the arts and

crafts for economic progress and freedom from the schemes of the Church to

bride people with money to become Christian. Also, the Northeast regions have

lush forests with many medicinal and Ayurvedic plants that are useful on the

international markets. So these are also being harvested and marketed by local

people. The people in these areas are also naturally very creative, so the

emphasis is on getting the local economy more organized through sustainable

development with local culture and traditions, along with crafts of bamboo and

cane work, woodcarving, textiles, and other handmade crafts. By encouraging

everyone to have strong roots in their own way of life and traditions, their

culture can be protected in time.

        Arun Jyoti is the organization that promotes culture in education and

personality development and nation-building work in Arunachala. In the area of

the Itanagar belt of Arunachal Pradesh, 172 study centers have been

established, while in the eastern area there are not as many.

        The Changalang district of Arunachala Pradesh is primarily Buddhist but

as we travel south it becomes mostly Christian. At least 60% of the people,

however, support the Vivekananda Kendra because they now want to continue

their own traditions. To further cultural awareness, the Vivekananda Kendra

has one or two large seminars in the tribal areas each year, along with smaller

symposiums in each town one or two times a year. This helps provide the

venues in which people can discuss issues, ideas, and the means of protecting

the practice of their own traditions that they have known for many hundreds of

years. However, from the article that follows, there is much work that needs to

be done, and quickly. And we members of Iskcon should take note of this and

realize the need to do our part in preserving and expanding the true depths of

Vedic culture.

HINDUSTAN TIMES, DECEMBER 31, 2002

 

NOW A CHRISTIAN-HINDU DIVIDE IN TRIPURA VILLAGES

Agence France-Presse, Guwahati, December 31

 

        Tribal Hindu villagers in Tripura on Tuesday pledged to fight alleged

extortion demands by a Christian separatist group, community leaders said.

Militants of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have

served extortion notices to hundreds of Hindu tribals and threatened them with

death if they do not pay up.

        "The demand notes were served only to tribal Hindu villagers with warnings

of capital punishment to those who violated their diktat," Aswathama Jamatia,

head priest of the Jamatia Hoda, an influential tribal Hindu group, told AFP by

telephone.

        Police have confirmed the extortion demands by the NLFT, which is a

predominantly Christian group fighting for an independent tribal homeland.

Community leaders say the NLFT has demanded three per cent of the

annual earnings of all government employees as tax, besides charging anything

between Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 from farmers and businessmen.

        Villagers in remote areas have formed vigilante groups to foil the NLFT's

drive. "People armed with sticks and other crude weapons, including bows and

arrows, patrol vulnerable villages to scare away militants who come for

extorting money," Rampada Jamatia, secretary of the Jamatia Hoda, said. "At

no cost are we going to pay the militants."

        Tribal Hindus account for about 22 per cent of Tripura's 3.2 million people.

Christians are just about eight per cent of the state's population.

        Tribal Hindus also accuse the NLFT of converting people to Christianity at

gunpoint. Insurgency in the state took root after a massive influx of

Bengali-speaking refugees when East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, was created

during India's partition in 1947.

        The indigenous tribal people, who accounted for 95 per cent of the Tripura

population in the 1931 census, are now just 30 per cent.

        More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Tripura

during the past two decades.

        From: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_129174,0009.htm

===================================================================

HIDDEN FROM HISTORY

The Canadian Holocaust

       

    Through the Canadian residential school system, the Christian churches along

with state authorities, the judiciary, doctors and the police implemented a

policy of genocide against the native population.

 

by Rev. Kevin D. Annett, MA, MDiv

2001 The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada

Email: kevinannett@yahoo.ca

Email: kevin_annett@hotmail.com

Website: http://annett55.freewebsites.com/


Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 9, Number 2 (February-March 2002)

PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia. editor@nexusmagazine.com

Telephone: +61 (0)7 5442 9280; Fax: +61 (0)7 5442 9381

From our web page at: www.nexusmagazine.com

        (The following is an edited extract from the report, "Hidden From History: The

Canadian Holocaust - The Untold Story of the Genocide of Aboriginal Peoples by

Church and State in Canada - A Summary of an Ongoing, Independent Inquiry into

Canadian Native 'Residential Schools' and their Legacy", by Rev. Kevin D.

Annett, MA, MDiv. The report is published by The Truth Commission into Genocide

in Canada, a public investigative body continuing the work of previous Tribunals

into native residential schools: The Justice in the Valley Coalition's Inquiry

into Crimes Against Aboriginal People, convened in Port Alberni, British

Columbia, on December 9, 1994, and The International Human Rights Association of

American Minorities Tribunal into Canadian Residential Schools, held in

Vancouver, BC, from June 12-14, 1998. Editor.)

FOREWORD

        Jasper Joseph is a sixty-four-year-old native man from Port Hardy, British

Columbia. His eyes still fill with tears when he remembers his cousins who were

killed with lethal injections by staff at the Nanaimo Indian Hospital in 1944.

I was just eight, and they'd shipped us down from the Anglican residential

school in Alert Bay to the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, the one run by the United

Church. They kept me isolated in a tiny room there for more than three years,

like I was a lab rat, feeding me these pills, giving me shots that made me sick.

Two of my cousins made a big fuss, screaming and fighting back all the time, so

the nurses gave them shots, and they both died right away. It was done to

silence them. (November 10, 2000)

        Unlike post-war Germans, Canadians have yet to acknowledge, let alone repent

from, the genocide that we inflicted on millions of conquered people: the

aboriginal men, women and children who were deliberately exterminated by our

racially supremacist churches and state.

        As early as November 1907, the Canadian press was acknowledging that the death

rate within Indian residential schools exceeded 50% (see Appendix, Key Newspaper

Articles). And yet the reality of such a massacre has been wiped clean from the

public record and consciousness in Canada over the past decades. Small wonder;

for that hidden history reveals a system whose aim was to destroy most native

people by disease, relocation and outright murder, while "assimilating" a

minority of collaborators who were trained to serve the genocidal system.

        This history of purposeful genocide implicates every level of government in

Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), every mainstream church, large

corporations and local police, doctors and judges. The web of complicity in this

killing machine was, and remains, so vast that its concealment has required an

equally elaborate campaign of cover-up that has been engineered at the highest

levels of power in our country; a cover-up that is continuing, especially now

that eyewitnesses to murders and atrocities at the church-run native residential

"schools" have come forward for the first time.

        For it was the residential "schools" that constituted the death camps of the

Canadian Holocaust, and within their walls nearly one-half of all aboriginal

children sent there by law died, or disappeared, according to the government's

own statistics.

        These 50,000 victims have vanished, as have their corpses - "like they never

existed", according to one survivor. But they did exist. They were innocent

children, and they were killed by beatings and torture and after being

deliberately exposed to tuberculosis and other diseases by paid employees of the

churches and government, according to a "Final Solution" master plan devised by

the Department of Indian Affairs and the Catholic and Protestant churches.

With such official consent for manslaughter emanating from Ottawa, the churches

responsible for annihilating natives on the ground felt emboldened and protected

enough to declare full-scale war on non-Christian native peoples through the

20th century.

        The casualties of that war were not only the 50,000 dead children of the

residential schools, but the survivors, whose social condition today has been

described by United Nations human rights groups as that of "a colonized people

barely on the edge of survival, with all the trappings of a third-world

society". (November 12, 1999)

The Holocaust is continuing.

        This report is the child of a six-year independent investigation into the hidden

history of genocide against aboriginal peoples in Canada. It summarises the

testimonies, documents and other evidence proving that Canadian churches,

corporations and the government are guilty of intentional genocide, in violation

of the United Nations Convention on Genocide, which Canada ratified in 1952 and

under which it is bound by international law.

        The report is a collaborative effort of nearly 30 people. And yet some of its

authors must remain anonymous, particularly its aboriginal contributors, whose

lives have been threatened and who have been assaulted, denied jobs and evicted

from their homes on Indian reserves because of their involvement in this

investigation.

        As a former minister in one of the guilty institutions named in our inquiry -

the United Church of Canada - I have been fired, blacklisted, threatened and

publicly maligned by its officers for my attempts to uncover the story of the

deaths of children at that church's Alberni residential school.

Many people have made sacrifices to produce this report, so that the world can

learn of the Canadian Holocaust, and to ensure that those responsible for it are

brought to justice before the International Criminal Court.

        Beginning among native and low-income activists in Port Alberni, British

Columbia, in the fall of 1994, this inquiry into crimes against humanity has

continued in the face of death threats, assaults and the resources of church and

state in Canada.

        It is within the power of the reader to honour our sacrifice by sharing this

story with others and refusing to participate in the institutions which

deliberately killed many thousands of children.

        This history of official endorsement of, and collusion in, a century or more of

crimes against Canada's first peoples must not discourage us from uncovering the

truth and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

        It is for this reason that we invite you to remember not only the 50,000

children who died in the residential school death camps, but the silent victims

today who suffer in our midst for bread and justice.

(Rev.) Kevin D. Annett

Secretary

The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia, February 1, 2001

PART ONE: Summary of Evidence of Intentional Genocide in Canadian Residential

Schools

        Article II: The intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national ethnic,

racial or religious group; namely, non-Christian aboriginal peoples in Canada

The foundational purpose behind the more than one hundred Indian residential

schools established in Canada by government legislation and administered by

Protestant and Catholic churches was the deliberate and persistent eradication

of aboriginal people and their culture, and the conversion of any surviving

native people to Christianity.

        This intent was enunciated in the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857 in Upper

Canada, and earlier, church-inspired legislation, which defined aboriginal

culture as inferior, stripped native people of citizenship and subordinated them

in a separate legal category from non-Indians. This Act served as the basis for

the federal Indian Act of 1874, which recapitulated the legal and moral

inferiority of aboriginals and established the residential school system. The

legal definition of an Indian as "an uncivilized person, destitute of the

knowledge of God and of any fixed and clear belief in religion" (Revised

Statutes of British Columbia, 1960) was established by these Acts and continues

to the present day.

        Then, as now, aboriginals were considered legal and practical non-entities in

their own land and, hence, inherently expendable.

        This genocidal intent was restated time and again in government legislation,

church statements and the correspondence and records of missionaries, Indian

agents and residential school officials (see Documentation section). Indeed, it

was the very raison d'tre of the state-sanctioned Christian invasion of

traditional native territories and of the residential school system itself,

which was established at the height of European expansionism in the 1880s and

persisted until 1984.

        By definition, this aim was genocidal, for it planned and carried out the

destruction of a religious and ethnic group: all those aboriginal people who

would not convert to Christianity and be culturally extinguished. Non-Christian

natives were the declared target of the residential schools, which practised

wholesale ethnic cleansing under the guise of education.

        As well, such "pagans" were the subject of government-funded sterilisation

programs administered at church-run hospitals and tuberculosis sanatoriums on

Canada's west coast (see Article IId).

According to an eyewitness, Ethel Wilson of Bella Bella, BC, a United Church

missionary doctor, George Darby, deliberately sterilised non-Christian Indians

between 1928 and 1962 at the R. W. Large Memorial Hospital in Bella Bella. Ms

Wilson, who is now deceased, stated in 1998:

        Doctor Darby told me in 1952 that Indian Affairs in Ottawa was paying him for

every Indian he sterilised, especially if they weren't church-goers. Hundreds of

our women were sterilised by Doctor Darby, just for not going to church.

(Testimony of Ethel Wilson to International Human Rights Association of American

Minorities [IHRAAM] Tribunal, Vancouver, BC, June 13, 1998)

        According to Christy White, a resident of Bella Bella, records of these

government-funded sterilisations at the R. W. Large Hospital were deliberately

destroyed in 1995, soon after a much-publicised police investigation was to open

into residential school atrocities in British Columbia. Ms White stated in 1998:

I worked at the Bella Bella hospital, and I know that Barb Brown, one of the

administrators there, dumped sterilisation records at sea on two occasions. Some

of the records were found washed up on the beach south of town. That was just

after the cops opened their investigation into the schools, in the spring of

1995. They were covering their tracks. We all knew Ottawa was funding

sterilisations, but we were told to keep quiet about it. (Testimony of Christy

White to Kevin Annett, August 12, 1998)

        Legislation permitting the sterilisation of any residential school inmate was

passed in BC in 1933 and in Alberta in 1928 (see "Sterilization Victims Urged to

Come Forward" by Sabrina Whyatt, Windspeaker, August 1998). The Sexual

Sterilization Act of BC allowed a school principal to permit the sterilisation

of any native person under his charge. As their legal guardian, the principal

could thus have any native child sterilised. Frequently, these sterilisations

occurred to whole groups of native children when they reached puberty, in

institutions like the Provincial Training School in Red Deer, Alberta, and the

Ponoka Mental Hospital. (Former nurse Pat Taylor to Kevin Annett, January 13,

2000)

        Of equal historical significance is the fact that the Canadian federal

government passed legislation in 1920, making it mandatory for all native

children in British Columbia - the west coast of which was the least

Christianised area among aboriginals in Canada - to attend residential schools,

despite the fact that the same government had already acknowledged that the

death rate due to communicable diseases was much higher in these schools and

that, while there, the native children's "constitution is so weakened that they

have no vitality to withstand disease". (A. W. Neill, West Coast Indian Agent,

to Secretary of Indian Affairs, April 25, 1910)

        That is, the Canadian government legally compelled the attendance of the most

"pagan" and least assimilated of the native peoples in residential schools at

precisely the time when the death rate in these schools had reached their

pinnacle - about 40%, according to Indian Affairs officers like Dr Peter Bryce.

This fact alone suggests a genocidal intent towards non-Christian aboriginals.

Article II (a): Killing members of the group intended to be destroyed

        That aboriginal people were deliberately killed in the residential schools is

confirmed by eyewitness testimonies, government records and statements of Indian

agents and tribal elders. It is also strongly suggested by the bare fact that

the mortality level in residential schools averaged 40%, with the deaths of more

than 50,000 native children across Canada (see Bibliography, inc. the report of

Dr Peter Bryce to Department of Indian Affairs Superintendent Duncan Campbell

Scott, April 1909).

        The fact, as well, that this death rate stayed constant across the years, and

within the schools and facilities of every denomination which ran them - Roman

Catholic, United, Presbyterian or Anglican - suggests that common conditions and

policies were behind these deaths. For every second child to die in the

residential school system eliminates the possibility that these deaths were

merely accidental or the actions of a few depraved individuals acting alone

without protection.

        Yet not only was this system inherently murderous, but it operated under the

legal and structural conditions which encouraged, aided and abetted murder and

which were designed to conceal these crimes.

        The residential schools were structured like concentration camps, on a

hierarchical military basis under the absolute control of a principal appointed

jointly by church and state, and who was usually a clergyman. This principal was

even given legal guardianship rights over all students during the early 1930s by

the federal government, at least in west coast residential schools. This action

by the government was highly unusual, considering that native people were by law

the legal wards of the state, and had been so since the commencement of the

Indian Act. And yet such absolute power of the school principal over the lives

of aboriginal students was a requirement of any system whose killing of

aboriginals had to be disguised and later denied.

        The residential schools were constructed behind this deception in such a way

that the deaths and atrocities that constitute genocide could be hidden and

eventually explained. In the Canadian context, this meant a policy of gradual

but deliberate extermination under a protective legal umbrella, administered by

"legitimate and trusted" institutions: the mainline churches.

        It should be clarified from the outset that the decisions concerning the

residential schools, including those which caused the deaths of children and

resulting cover-ups, were officially sanctioned by every level of the churches

that ran them and the government which created them. Only such sanction could

have allowed the deaths to continue as they did - and the perpetrators to feel

protected enough to operate with impunity for many years within the system,

which they universally did.

Exposure to Diseases

        In 1909, Dr Peter Bryce of the Ontario Health Department was hired by the Indian

Affairs Department in Ottawa to tour the Indian residential schools in western

Canada and British Columbia and report on the health conditions there. Bryce's

report so scandalised the government and the churches that it was officially

buried and only surfaced in 1922 when Bryce - who was forced out of the civil

service for the honesty of his report - wrote a book about it, entitled The

Story of a National Crime (Ottawa, 1922).

        In his report, Dr Bryce claimed that Indian children were being systematically

and deliberately killed in the residential schools. He cited an average

mortality rate of between 35% and 60%, and alleged that staff and church

officials were regularly withholding or falsifying records and other evidence of

children's deaths.

        Further, Dr Bryce claimed that a primary means of killing native children was to

deliberately expose them to communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and then

deny them any medical care or treatment - a practice actually referred to by top

Anglican Church leaders in the Globe and Mail on May 29, 1953.

In March 1998, two native eyewitnesses who attended west coast residential

schools, William and Mabel Sport of Nanaimo, BC, confirmed Dr Bryce's

allegation. Both of them claim to have been deliberately exposed to tuberculosis

by staff at both a Catholic and a United Church residential school during the

1940s.

        I was forced to sleep in the same bed with kids who were dying of tuberculosis.

That was at the Catholic Christie residential school around 1942. They were

trying to kill us off, and it nearly worked. They did the same thing at

Protestant Indian schools, three kids to a bed, healthy ones with the dying.

(Testimony of Mabel Sport to IHRAAM officers, Port Alberni, BC, March 31, 1998)

Reverend Pitts, the Alberni school principal, he forced me and eight other boys

to eat this special food out of a different sort of can. It tasted really

strange. And then all of us came down with tuberculosis. I was the only one to

survive, 'cause my Dad broke into the school one night and got me out of there.

        All of the rest died from tuberculosis and they were never treated. Just left

there to die. And their families were all told they had died of pneumonia. The

plan was to kill us off in secret, you know. We all just began dying after

eating that food. Two of my best friends were in that group that was poisoned.

We were never allowed to speak of it or go into the basement, where other

murders happened. It was a death sentence to be sent to the Alberni school.

(Testimony of William Sport to IHRAAM officers, Port Alberni, BC, March 31,

1998)

Homicides

        More overt killings of children were a common occurrence in residential schools,

according to eyewitnesses. The latter have described children being beaten and

starved to death, thrown from windows, strangled and being kicked or thrown down

stairs to their deaths. Such killings occurred in at least eight residential

schools in British Columbia alone, run by all three mainline denominations.

Bill Seward of Nanaimo, BC, age 78, states:

        My sister Maggie was thrown from a three-storey window by a nun at the Kuper

Island school, and she died. Everything was swept under the rug. No

investigation was ever done. We couldn't hire a lawyer at the time, being

Indians. So nothing was ever done. (Testimony of Bill Seward, Duncan, BC, August

13, 1998)

        Diane Harris, Community Health Worker for the Chemainus Band Council on

Vancouver Island, confirms accounts of the murders.

We always hear stories of all the kids who were killed at Kuper Island. A

graveyard for the babies of the priests and girls was right south of the school

until it was dug up by the priests when the school closed in 1973. The nuns

would abort babies and sometimes end up killing the mothers. There were a lot of

disappearances. My mother, who is 83 now, saw a priest drag a girl down a flight

of stairs by her hair and the girl died as a result. Girls were raped and

killed, and buried under the floorboards. We asked the local RCMP to exhume that

place and search for remains but they've always refused, as recently as 1996.

Corporal Sampson even threatened us. That kind of cover-up is the norm. Children

were put together with kids sick with TB in the infirmary. That was standard

procedure. We've documented thirty-five outright murders in a seven-year period.

(Testimony of Diane Harris to the IHRAAM Tribunal, June 13, 1998)

        Evidence exists that active collusion from police, hospital officials, coroners,

Indian Agents and even native leaders helped to conceal such murders. Local

hospitals, particularly tuberculosis sanatoriums connected to the United and

Roman Catholic churches, served as "dumping grounds" for children's bodies and

routinely provided false death certificates for murdered students.

        In the case of the United Church's Alberni residential school, students who

discovered dead bodies of other children faced serious retribution. One such

witness, Harry Wilson of Bella Bella, BC, claims that he was expelled from the

school, then hospitalised and drugged against his will, after finding the body

of a dead girl in May 1967.

        Sadly, the two-tiered system of collaborators and victims created among native

students at the schools continues to the present, as some of the state-funded

band council officials - themselves former collaborators - appear to have an

interest in helping to suppress evidence and silence witnesses who would

incriminate not only the murderers but themselves as agents of the white

administration.

        A majority of the witnesses who have shared their story with the authors and at

public tribunals on the west coast have described either seeing a murder or

discovering a body at the residential school he or she attended. The body count,

even according to the government's own figures, was enormously high. Where,

then, are all these bodies? The deaths of thousands of students are not recorded

in any of the school records, Indian Affairs files or other documentation

submitted thus far in court cases or academic publications on the residential

schools. Some 50,000 corpses have literally and officially gone missing.

        The residential school system had to hide not only the evidence of murder but

the bodies as well. The presence of secret gravesites of children killed at

Catholic and Protestant schools in Sardis, Port Alberni, Kuper Island and Alert

Bay has been attested to by numerous witnesses. These secret burial yards also

contained the aborted foetuses and even small babies who were the offspring of

priests and staff at the schools, according to the same witnesses. One of them,

Ethel Wilson of Bella Bella, claims to have seen "rows and rows of tiny

skeletons" in the foundations of the former Anglican residential school of St

Michael's in Alert Bay when a new school was built there in the 1960s.

There were several rows of them, all lined up neatly like it was a big cemetery.

The skeletons had been found within one of the old walls of St Mike's school.

None of them could have been very old, from their size. Now why would so many

kids have been buried like that inside a wall, unless someone was trying to hide

something? (Testimony of Ethel Wilson to Kevin Annett, Vancouver, BC, August 8,

1998)

        Arnold Sylvester, who, like Dennis Charlie, attended Kuper Island school between

1939 and 1945, corroborates this account.

        The priests dug up the secret gravesite in a real hurry around 1972 when the

school closed. No one was allowed to watch them dig up those remains. I think

it's because that was a specially secret graveyard where the bodies of the

pregnant girls were buried. Some of the girls who got pregnant from the priests

were actually killed because they threatened to talk. They were sometimes

shipped out and sometimes just disappeared. We weren't allowed to talk about

this. (Testimony of Arnold Sylvester to Kevin Annett, Duncan, BC, August 13,

1998)

        Local hospitals were also used as a dumping ground for children's bodies, as in

the case of the Edmonds boy and his "processing" at St Paul's Hospital after his

murder at the Catholic school in North Vancouver. Certain hospitals, however,

seem to have been particularly favourite spots for storing corpses.

        The Nanaimo Tuberculosis Hospital (called The Indian Hospital) was one such

facility. Under the guise of tuberculosis treatment, generations of native

children and adults were subjected to medical experiments and sexual

sterilisations at the Nanaimo Hospital, according to women who experienced these

tortures (see Article IId). But the facility was also a cold storage area for

native corpses.

        The West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni not only stored children's

bodies from the local United Church residential school; it was also the place

where abortions were performed on native girls who were made pregnant at the

school by staff and clergy, and where newborn babies were disposed of and

possibly killed, according to witnesses like Amy Tallio, who attended the

Alberni school during the early 1950s.

        Irene Starr of the Hesquait Nation, who attended the Alberni school between 1952

and 1961, confirms this.

        Many girls got pregnant at the Alberni school. The fathers were the staff,

teachers, the ones who raped them. We never knew what happened to the babies,

but they were always disappearing. The pregnant girls were taken to the Alberni

hospital and then came back without their babies. Always. The staff killed those

babies to cover their tracks. They were paid by the church and government to be

rapists and murderers. (Testimony of Irene Starr to Kevin Annett, Vancouver, BC,

August 23, 1998)

        Article II (b): Causing serious bodily or mental harm

Early in the residential schools era, the Indian Affairs Superintendent, Duncan

Campbell Scott, outlined the purpose of the schools thus: "to kill the Indian

within the Indian".

        Clearly, the genocidal assault on aboriginals was not only physical but

spiritual: European culture wished to own the minds and the souls of the native

nations, to turn the Indians it hadn't killed into third-class replicas of white

people.

        Expressing the "virtues" of genocide, Alfred Caldwell, principal of the United

Church school in Ahousat on Vancouver Island's west coast, wrote in 1938:

The problem with the Indians is one of morality and religion. They lack the

basic fundamentals of civilised thought and spirit, which explains their

child-like nature and behaviour. At our school we strive to turn them into

mature Christians who will learn how to behave in the world and surrender their

barbaric way of life and their treaty rights which keep them trapped on their

land and in a primitive existence. Only then will the Indian problem in our

country be solved. (Rev. A. E. Caldwell to Indian Agent P. D. Ashbridge,

Ahousat, BC, Nov 12, 1938)

        The fact that this same principal is named by eyewitnesses as the murderer of at

least two children - one of them in the same month that he wrote this letter -

is no accident, for cultural genocide spills effortlessly over into killing, as

the Nazis proved so visibly to the world.

        Nevertheless, Caldwell's letter illuminates two vital points for the purpose of

this discussion of mental and bodily harm inflicted on native students: (a) the

residential schools were a vast project in mind control, and (b) the underlying

aim of this "re-programming" of native children was to force aboriginals off

their ancestral lands in order to allow whites access to them.

        To quote Alberni survivor Harriett Nahanee:

They were always pitting us against each other, getting us to fight and molest

one another. It was all designed to split us up and brainwash us so that we

would forget that we were Keepers of the Land. The Creator gave our people the

job of protecting the land, the fish, the forests. That was our purpose for

being alive. But the whites wanted it all, and the residential schools were the

way they got it. And it worked. We've forgotten our sacred task, and now the

whites have most of the land and have taken all the fish and the trees. Most of

us are in poverty, addictions, family violence. And it all started in the

schools, where we were brainwashed to hate our own culture and to hate ourselves

so that we would lose everything. That's why I say that the genocide is still

going on. (Testimony of Harriett Nahanee to Kevin Annett, North Vancouver, BC,

December 11, 1995)

        It was only after the assumption of guardianship powers by the west coast school

principals, between 1933 and 1941, that the first evidence of organised

pedophile networks in those residential schools emerges. For such a regime was

legally and morally free to do whatever it wanted to its captive native

students.

        The residential schools became a safe haven - one survivor calls it a "free fire

zone" - for pedophiles, murderers and brutal doctors needing live test subjects

for drug testing or genetic and cancer research.

        Particular schools, such as the Catholic one at Kuper Island and the United

Church's Alberni school, became special centres where extermination techniques

were practised with impunity on native children from all over the province,

alongside the usual routine of beatings, rapes and farming out of children to

influential pedophiles.

        Much of the overt mental and bodily harm done to native students was designed to

break down traditional tribal loyalties along kinship lines by pitting children

against each other and cutting them off from their natural bonds. Boys and girls

were strictly segregated in separate dormitories and could never meet.

        One survivor describes never seeing her little brother for years, even though he

was in the same building at the Alert Bay Anglican school. And when children at

the schools broke into each other's dormitories and older boys and girls were

caught exchanging intimacies, the most severe punishments were universally

applied. According to a female survivor who attended the Alberni school in 1959:

        They used the gauntlet on a boy and girl who were caught together kissing. The

two of them had to crawl naked down a line of other students, and we beat them

with sticks and whips provided by the principal. The girl was beaten so badly

she died from kidney failure. That gave us all a good lesson: if you tried

having normal feelings for someone, you'd get killed for it. So we quickly

learned never to love or trust anyone, just do what we were told to do.

(Testimony of anonymous woman from the Pacheedat Nation, Port Renfrew, BC,

October 12, 1996)

        According to Harriett Nahanee:

The residential schools created two kinds of Indians: slaves and sell-outs. And

the sellouts are still in charge. The rest of us do what we're told. The band

council chiefs have been telling everyone on our reserve not to talk to the

Tribunal and have been threatening to cut our benefits if we do. (Harriett

Nahanee to Kevin Annett, June 12, 1998)

        The nature of that system of torture was not haphazard. For example, the regular

use of electric shocks on children who spoke their language or were

"disobedient" was a widespread phenomenon in residential schools of every

denomination across Canada. This was not a random but an institutionalised

device.

        Specially constructed torture chambers with permanent electric chairs, often

operated by medical personnel, existed at the Alberni and Kuper Island schools

in British Columbia, at the Spanish Catholic school in Ontario, and in isolated

hospital facilities run by the churches and Department of Indian Affairs in

northern Quebec, Vancouver Island and rural Alberta, according to eyewitnesses.

Mary Anne Nakogee-Davis of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was tortured in an electric

chair by nuns at the Catholic Spanish residential school in 1963 when she was

eight years old. She states:

        The nuns used it as a weapon. It was done on me on more than one occasion. They

would strap your arms to the metal arm rests, and it would jolt you and go

through your system. I don't know what I did that was bad enough to have that

done to me. (From The London Free Press, London, Ontario, October 22, 1996)

Such torture also occurred at facilities operated by the churches with

Department of Indian Affairs money, similar to the sterilisation programs

identified at the W. R. Large Memorial Hospital in Bella Bella and the Nanaimo

Indian Hospital.

        Frank Martin, a Carrier native from northern BC, describes his forcible

confinement and use in experiments at the Brannen Lake Reform School near

Nanaimo in 1963 and 1964:

        I was kidnapped from my village when I was nine and sent off to the Brannen Lake

school in Nanaimo. A local doctor gave me a shot and I woke up in a small cell,

maybe ten feet by twelve. I was kept in there like an animal for fourteen

months. They brought me out every morning and gave me electric shocks to my head

until I passed out. Then in the afternoon I'd go for these X-rays and they'd

expose me to them for minutes on end. They never told me why they were doing it.

But I got lung cancer when I was eighteen and I've never smoked. (Videotaped

testimony of Frank Martin to Eva Lyman and Kevin Annett, Vancouver, July 16,

1998)

        Such quack experimentation combined with brutal sadism characterised these

publicly funded facilities, especially the notorious Nanaimo Indian Hospital.

David Martin of Powell River, BC, was taken to this hospital in 1958 at the age

of five and used in experiments attested to by Joan Morris, Harry Wilson and

other witnesses quoted in this report. According to David:

        I was told I had tuberculosis, but I was completely healthy; no symptoms of TB

at all. So they sent me to Nanaimo Indian Hospital and strapped me down in a bed

there for more than six months. The doctors gave me shots every day that made me

feel really sick, and made my skin all red and itchy. I heard the screams of

other Indian kids who were locked away in isolation rooms. We were never allowed

in there to see them. Nobody ever told me what they were doing to all of us in

there. (David Martin to Kevin Annett, Vancouver, November 12, 2000)

        A recurring and regular torture at the residential schools themselves was

operating on children's teeth without using any form of anaesthesia or

painkiller. Two separate victims of this torture at the Alberni school describe

being subjected to it by different dentists, decades apart. Harriett Nahanee was

brutalised in that manner in 1946, while Dennis Tallio was "worked on by a sick

old guy who never gave me painkillers" at the same school in 1965.

        Dr Josef Mengele is reputed by survivors of his experiments to have worked out

of Cornell University in New York, Bristol Labs in Syracuse, New York, and

Upjohn Corporation and Bayer laboratories in Ontario. Mengele and his Canadian

researchers, like the notorious Montreal psychiatrist Ewen Cameron, used

prisoners, mental patients and native children from reserves and residential

schools in their efforts to erase and reshape human memory and personality,

using drugs, electric shocks and trauma-inducing methods identical to those

employed for years in the residential schools.

        Former employees of the federal government have confirmed that the use of

"inmates" of residential schools was authorised for government-run medical

experiments through a joint agreement with the churches which ran the schools.

        According to a former Indian Affairs official:

A sort of gentlemen's agreement was in place for many years: the churches

provided the kids from their residential schools to us, and we got the Mounties

to deliver them to whoever needed a fresh batch of test subjects: usually

doctors, sometimes Department of Defense people. The Catholics did it big time

in Quebec when they transferred kids wholesale from orphanages into mental

asylums. It was for the same purpose: experimentation. There was lots of grant

money in those days to be had from the military and intelligence sectors: all

you had to do was provide the bodies. The church officials were more than happy

to comply. It wasn't just the residential school principals who were getting

kickbacks from this: everyone was profiting. That's why it's gone on for so

long. It implicates a hell of a lot of top people. (From the Closed Files of the

IHRAAM Tribunal, containing the statements of confidential sources, June 12-14,

1998)

        Such experiments and the sheer brutality of the harm regularly inflicted on

children in the schools attest to the institutional view of aboriginals as

"expendable" and "diseased" beings. Scores of survivors of 10 different

residential schools in BC and Ontario have described under oath the following

tortures inflicted on them and other children as young as five years old between

the years 1922 and 1984:

--tightening fish twine and wire around boys' penises;

--sticking needles into their hands, cheeks, tongues, ears and penises;

--holding them over open graves and threatening to bury them alive;

--forcing them to eat maggot-filled and regurgitated food;

--telling them their parents were dead and that they were about to be killed;

--stripping them naked in front of the assembled school and verbally and sexually degrading them;

--forcing them to stand upright for more than 12 hours at a time until they collapsed;

--immersing them in ice water;

--forcing them to sleep outside in winter;

--ripping the hair from their heads;

--repeatedly smashing their heads against concrete or wooden surfaces;

--daily beating without warning, using whips, sticks, horse harnesses, studded metal straps, pool cues and iron pipes;

--extracting gold teeth from their mouths without painkillers;

--confining them in unventilated closets without food or water for days;

--regularly applying electric shocks to their heads, genitals and limbs.

        Perhaps the clearest summary of the nature and purpose of such sadism are the

words of Bill Seward of Nanaimo, a survivor of the Kuper Island school:

The church people were worshipping the devil, not us. They wanted the gold, the

coal, the land we occupied. So they terrorised us into giving it to them. How

does a man who was raped every day when he was seven make anything out of his

life? The residential schools were set up to destroy our lives, and they

succeeded. The whites were terrorists, pure and simple. (Testimony of Bill

Seward to Kevin Annett and IHRAAM observers, Duncan, BC, August 13, 1998)

Editor's Note:

        To obtain a copy of "Hidden From History: The Canadian Holocaust", contact The

Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, c/- 6679 Grant Street, Burnaby, BC V5B

2K9, Canada, telephone +1 (604) 293 1972, email kevinannett@yahoo.ca or

kevin_annett@hotmail.com, or visit the website http://annett55.freewebsites.com.

See review, NEXUS 9/01.


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