History does repeat itself.
I am thinking about how colonization and assimilation works. In Labrador’s history Indigenous people and the environment have been subjected to the devious workings of a colonizing system.
Colonists have perfected the use of silence as a weapon of control.
Let’s see; not so far back in history the government and other ‘authorities’ decided that relocating Inuit was necessary for the ‘authorities” convenience.
Who were the ‘authorities’ in Labrador? The government, the doctor, the minister, the police (Newfoundland rangers), the Justice of the Peace — those who had assumed control over the people. And those same authorities supported each other to do their work.
How did they do that particular work? They held a meeting in a place where they knew people would be silent and not express any anger or resistance. They took them to the church (the house of the lord), where the threat of eternal punishment for disrespecting God silenced them. Having announced their plan of relocation, no one spoke up in the church, giving the authorities ‘reason’ to say “no one objected.”
To this day in Labrador, not much has changed, except perhaps the method of silencing possible resistance.
How is this happening?
Again, some of it is happening in the house of the ‘lord’. In the courtroom. The judge is bowed down to and addressed as ‘my lord’. In a subtle way, the judge is referred to as one would refer to Christ or God. His authority is not to be challenged for fear of drastic punishment. Maybe even eternal punishment. So people are silenced again.
Again, the authorities work together to ensure the silence of the people by the work of the government, the justice system and their ‘armed’ and uniformed forces.
Silence is used in another way by the government, the elected representatives. When questioned, or requested for help, the elected authorities are using silence to deny and dismiss the calls. Never has there been such silence as the silence of these days.
The silence is not because they have not heard, but because they can use it to not have to tell untruths. They can use it to avoid, to look the other way.
Silence has been a survival tool in the past. It would have been to the advantage of the hunter to be silent while waiting for game, the much needed source of food and comfort.
Silence, it now seems, have become a weapon to be used against an already compromised situation. It has become a way of control and dismissiveness. And those who want to silence someone can support and get support from the means to make that happen.
Shirley Flowers / Happy Valley-Goose Bay