Benjamin Franklin
1706 - 1790

Franklin wrote the following after a large group of innocent Indians were massacred because of the actions of others from another Tribe:

"If an Indian injures me, does it follow that I may revenge that Injury on all Indians?

"It is well known that Indians are of different Tribes, Nations and Languages, as well as the White People.

"In Europe, if the French, who are White People, should injure the Dutch, are they to revenge it on the English, because they too are White People?

"The only Crime of these poor Wretches seems to have been, that they had a reddish brown Skin, and black Hair; and some People of that Sort, it seems, had murdered some of our Relations.

"If it be right to kill Men for such a Reason, then, should any Man, with a freckled Face and red Hair, kill a Wife or Child of mine, it would be right for me to revenge it, by killing all the freckled red-haired Men, Women and Children, I could afterwards any where meet with."

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7
Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 |Chapter 14 
Chapter 14

We Were Not the Savages - The Struggle For Freedom

What Then Must We Do?

I sit
on a
man's back
choking him
and making
him carry me
and yet assure myself
and others that I am sorry for him
and wish to lighten his load by
all possible means, except by
getting off his back.
(Leo Tolstoy, 1886)

The message delivered in Tolstoy's poem fits the story of the twentieth-century Mi'kmaq to a tee. It eloquently describes how governments and society can oppress a people while pretending to be compassionate.

The following speaks volumes about such pretensions. On April 29, 1948, Frank T. Stanfield, Member of Parliament for Colchester-Hants, and part of one of the country's foremost political families, wrote a letter to the Director of the Indian Affairs Branch about the living conditions of the Mi'kmaq residing at Indian Brook Reserve. It starkly demonstrates the depth of the condescending and paternalistic systemic racism the Mi'kmaq then had to deal with:

Mr. R. A. Hoey, Director
Indian Affairs Branch

When I was home the last time in Truro I was in Shubenacadie. I did not see Mr. Rice but I saw a number of people around the village and they certainly thought the Indians were very prosperous and should not have much cause for complaint. Now that the roads are good I will get hold of Mr. Rice and go up and see the Chief on the Reserve and have a good talk with him.

I agree with you it was a good move in getting all the Indians possible gathered together on the Reserve at Shubenacadie on the mainland of Nova Scotia, as they were causing a lot of trouble scattered around in little groups all over the province. I also realize it is likely costing your department a lot of money. Something will have to be done to provide work for the male Indians and the female too, for that matter, as they will not be able to make a living at farming or cutting the little bit of wood they are

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