Whose History? Why Not All History Needs to be Represented in Our Capitol (Part 2)

If you’ve been to St. Paul lately, you’ve likely seen that the Minnesota Capitol Building is undergoing a massive renovation. More than $300 million is being spent to make the century-plus building a host of structural and technological upgrades. Once completed in the fall, a nearly two year-long project will come to an end.

However, it is not the building itself that’s been grabbing headlines. Instead, it’s the art inside – art that’s been estimated to be worth nearly $1 billion. Many of these pieces depict key moments in the state’s history: Among them the landing of Father Hennepin and the gallantry of the 2nd Minnesota Company from the American Civil war. One piece that will not be on display when the Capitol reopens is a 1906 work by Anton Gag. It shows the attack on New Ulm by Dakota warriors during the short-lived 1862 conflict.

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“Attack on New Ulm” by Anton Gag, 1904

Continue reading “Whose History? Why Not All History Needs to be Represented in Our Capitol (Part 2)”

Indigenous Youth and the Looming Threat of Cultural Genocide in Minnesota

On August 20th, the Star Tribune published a story highlighting the incredible disparity between Native Americans and the rest of Minnesota in foster care placement. According to Stahl and Webster’s article, American Indian youth are ten times more likely to end up in foster care in comparison to the rest of the state. On average, two indigenous youth are sent to foster homes in Minnesota every day, the highest rate in the nation.

The sheer number of Native American children being sent to foster care in the United States is creating a significant problem. In 1978 Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). At the time, it was an attempt to keep Native American youth in tribal communities by placing them with Native foster families whenever possible. Now nearly thirty years later, Minnesota has a shortage of Native American foster homes to house the increasing number of children being taken from their home.

Continue reading “Indigenous Youth and the Looming Threat of Cultural Genocide in Minnesota”

Another Genocide Declaration: This One Matters

This morning, Germany became the thirtieth country to officially recognize the massacre of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans a century ago as genocide. Although Germany’s recognition comes after several other nations made similar declarations since last April, several factors make the Bundestag’s resolution especially unique: historical ties, the war in Syria and Germany’s own immigrant history all culminate to make today’s news a momentous occasion.

Continue reading “Another Genocide Declaration: This One Matters”

101 Years of Denial: How Turkish Policy Keeps the Pain of Genocide Alive

The Turkish systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects from their historic homeland in the territory constituting present-day Turkey between 1915-1923 can be defined with one word: genocide. Is this by now an incontestable statement? Over the last century, the surviving Armenian communities, spread across the globe as part of one of the world’s largest diasporas, have struggled to gain official recognition for the genocide. Along the way, Turkish nationalist organizations have fought recognition. Instead these organizations push for reconciliation, which merely serves to perpetuate denialist propaganda as it distracts from Turkey’s role in committing genocide.

Continue reading “101 Years of Denial: How Turkish Policy Keeps the Pain of Genocide Alive”

Genocide News Digest for April 2016

ISIS is Committing Genocide: Now what?

On March 15th, the United States House of Representatives passed an unprecedented resolution: it condemned the actions of ISIS as genocide. In a clear demonstration of the barbarity of the terrorist regime, the House resolution passed 393-0, a virtually unheard of display of bipartisan support. Two days later, the Obama administration confirmed the House’s decision, when Secretary of State John Kerry said: “My purpose here today is to assert in my judgment, (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims.”

Continue reading “Genocide News Digest for April 2016”

Hidden No More: Our Continued Conversation with Dr. Adam Muller

2016-02-16_1410This is the second half of a two part interview with Dr. Adam Muller from the University of Manitoba. CHGS interviewed Dr. Muller after his November presentation on campus in which he highlighted the Embodying Empathy project, a collaborative project at the University of Manitoba that will bring Canada’s residential schools alive with an immersive digital experience.

If you’d like to get caught up, you can find the first half of the interview here.

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Hidden No More: How Technology is Bringing Canada’s Residential Schools to Life

2016-02-11_1756In November, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies welcomed Dr. Adam Muller from the University of Manitoba to discuss his upcoming project, which creates a virtual First Nations residential school.  Dr. Muller is part of the Embodying Empathy project, which seeks to create a digital immersive experience for educate visitors about the settler-colonial interactions at Canada’s residential schools. The project is also exploring whether immersive representations can bridge the empathetic distance separating victims from secondary witnesses to atrocity.

Dr. Muller is Associate Professor of English at the University of Manitoba (Canada). He specializes in the representations of war, genocide and mass violence, human rights, memory studies, critical theory, cultural studies, and analytic philosophy.

CHGS followed up with Dr. Muller to learn more about his innovative project. You can find a recording of the original presentation here.  This is part 1 of our conversation.

Continue reading “Hidden No More: How Technology is Bringing Canada’s Residential Schools to Life”

The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Report: Does it Change Anything?

trc02On December 15th, the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report. It documents the treatment of indigenous children in Canadian residential schools over the course of more than twelve decades. More 150,000 youth were sent to the schools. The report estimates that more than 3,200 never came home. In June, Beverly McLachlin, chair of the TRC commission, labelled the residential schools cultural genocide.

To many, the report and its finding are an astounding admission to the culpable role the Canadian government played in the destruction of several generations of indigenous culture. The release of the report raises an interesting question: can this be a positive sign of Canada coming to grips with its troubling past?

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Reconciliation in Minnesota: An Interview with Sam Grey

This year, the University of Minnesota will be hosting Sam Grey, a Fulbright Scholar from Canada. Sam comes to campus to continue her research in the field of reconciliation, specifically in settler-colonial states. While in Minnesota, Sam will be exploring the resistance to reconciliation in Minnesota a century and a half after the Dakota conflict of 1862. Continue reading “Reconciliation in Minnesota: An Interview with Sam Grey”

Film Review: Watchers of the Sky

large_unnamedSix decades after he first coined the term genocide, Raphael Lemkin’s life has made it to the silver screen. In Watchers of the Sky director Edet Belzberg takes viewers through the efforts of Lemkin to get the crime of genocide recognized by the international community and the United Nations.

Throughout the movie, activists, scholars and experts share their reflections on the legacy of Lemkin’s tireless dedication to pursuing justice for victims of atrocities around the world. Among those interviewed is Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN and author of A Problem from Hell, which served as an inspiration for the documentary. Continue reading “Film Review: Watchers of the Sky”