An Ontario school board removed nearly 5,000 books for children that were deemed to be harmful to Aboriginal people from schools. This was condemned by political leaders.
A great “literary cleansing” took place in the libraries of the Providence Catholic School Board, which brings together 30 French-language schools in southwestern Ontario, Radio-Canada reported on Tuesday, September 7.
These works, which were considered harmful to natives, were removed during a ceremony. “Purification with flame”According to the media, 2019 is coming. The titles that were withdrawn included albums by Tintin (Lucky Luke), Pocahontas, and Asterix.
With the September 20th federal election fast approaching, political leaders took a position on the matter in the middle of the campaign. During a press conference, the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, ruled “Unacceptable”To burn books, regardless of their contents. “I consider burning books to be an atrocious act.”He clarified.
In the Bloc Québécois (separatist), the party leader, Yves-François Blanchet, who “Devotes books a cult”The destruction of literary work was opposed by. “There have been millions of books written in history. I believe that most of them, depending upon the period, convey ideas that we today don’t agree with. […]. We won’t burn them all.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole opposes this “Burning of Books”The decision to ban works that are harmful to indigenous people is understandable. “It’s possible to remove books and comics without burning them, but we have to have a respectful approach to issues related to reconciliation and our history. “
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s outgoing Prime Minister, indicated that at « [titre] Personal [il n’est] never agree that we burn the books ”It wasn’t his or theirs. “Non-natives should tell natives what they should feel or do to promote reconciliation.”. Instead, the liberal leader suggests “Demonstrate an understanding of the sadness, perhaps anger, that many of them feel about reconciliation and the work we still have to do”.
Some politicians might have a stronger view, but all have stressed the importance reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Radio-Canada reported that the 2019 project to remove racist books or stereotypes from books was started in 2019. “Purification with flame”. The ashes could then have been used to fertilize. “Plant a Tree and turn Negative to Positive”.
This Ontario school board disposed of the books during reconciliation ceremonies with First Nations. The project was delayed due to the pandemic.
Radio-Canada obtained a 165-page document listing all titles that were withdrawn as well as the reasons. A committee consisting of Native guides and members of the school board examined these books.
Among the destroyed works, would appear the comic strip “Tintin in America” which the school board has criticized among others. “A flawed representation of the natives on the drawings”. Concerned would also be the album “Asterix and the Indians”, for which the school board would have denounced “The sexualization and infatuation of Obelix on a native”.
These comics are not the only ones that were destroyed. The list also contains biographies of people who would have been “To be recycled, thrown away”But also books such “Pocahontas”, which are based on the Disney cartoon.