By C. P. Champion
Dear Professors Milligan and Peace, Ian and Thomas (if I may),
The Dorchester Review is indeed grateful for the notice you have taken of our participation in the Open Letter organized by Professor Dummitt in response to the CHA’s overreach in its ex cathedra definition of “genocide” as an infallible doctrine of Canadian History. Few causes could be more worthy of support, in our view, than resisting this evidence of a peculiar tendency to attempt to impose ideological conformity upon our profession as if the CHA Council were equivalent to the College of Cardinals at Vatican Council I. It should be obvious to any scholar that this type of purportedly binding pronouncement, while quite appropriate in the context of Roman Catholic faith and morals as they apply to the faithful, is by the same token entirely inappropriate when it comes to the give and take, and indeed cut and thrust, of Canadian historical debates.
That much should be obvious to you two worthy gentlemen. However we write today specifically to address a particular defamatory assertion in your blog post “It Is Time to End the History Wars,” by which we surmise you intended to convey that, “The CHA Must Withdraw Its Ill-Judged Canada Day Statement,” since it is that very statement that has provided the unfortunate casus belli and that can only perpetuate a new campaign in said wars.
Indeed when it comes to “inflammatory” rhetoric (the word you kindly chose to describe The Dorchester Review’s headline “Historians Rally vs. ‘Genocide’ Myth,” the CHA Council might consider that it is arguably, on the contrary, the extremely imprudent hijack and misapplication of the term “genocide” from the totalitarian crimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and the like, that has been inflammatory — since the irrational and emotive image it conjures in the minds and hearts of the ignorant and prejudiced has, aggravated by factually-incorrect and irresponsible media coverage of “mass graves," led to century-old Indigenous heritage buildings being destroyed by fire, much to the chagrin of local Indigenous victims of apparent arsonists.
To cut to the chase, you stated that The Dorchester Review has a “track record” of "explicit denial of residential school trauma.” This is false and defamatory. No writer published in The Dorchester Review, nor indeed any post on @dorchesterrev, has denied that trauma was experienced by students at residential schools. The only two articles we have published dealing with the subject are: