Monday, November 24, 2014

Conrad Black is a perfect example of why I fear historians

How many historians have been lying to us, or at the very least, avoiding telling us the whole truth just like Conrad Black?  You can bet your bottom dollar there have been plenty and their kind will continue distorting the truth at every opportunity.

Don Marks writing at CBC:
Conrad Black's history of Canada:
Arrogant, misinformed and disgraceful
Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada from the Vikings to the present ignores the indigenous contribution

Conrad Black is either so arrogant and ignorant that he considers the opinions of others totally beneath him​,​ or he simply likes to fight so much that he deliberately tries to be as politically incorrect as possible.

He is all of this in his recent book, Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada from the Vikings to the present. 

The title is completely misleading.  This cannot be a history of Canada when it barely includes First Nations.   When it does, Black is mostly negative and dismissive.  

I thought we stopped publishing history books which ignored the contributions of indigenous people.  And texts that called any battle that was won by the Indians a massacre and any won by the whites a great victory.

First Nations are mostly relegated to three of the early pages of Black's 1,000 page tome (other references to native people are minimal; Big Bear is named, Elijah Harper gets a sentence and Phil Fontaine is completely ignored).  

Louis Riel receives more attention but, like the indigenous people who occupy those three pages, it would be better if Black excluded him entirely. His treatment of First Nations is so insulting and condescending and inaccurate, I am surprised there hasn’t been a major uproar.  

Black describes indigenous religion as “superstition”.   He claims their environmental practices consisted of “chasing away all the wildlife” or “fishing out” the lakes and rivers. 

Indigenous women were promiscuous to the extreme and Indians were untrustworthy (according to Black, they were the ones who didn’t honour treaties).  

Black makes broad accusations and sweeping conclusions as if he were there to provide a first​-​hand account, and he is so cocksure of everything that he writes it like fact.

Black concludes that “The Indians were splendid woodsmen and craftsmen but they were a stone age culture that had not discovered the wheel” and “Indian society was not in itself worthy of integral conservation, nor was its dilution a suitable subject for great lamentation​." 

It is conclusions like those that will provide readers with an indication of where this arrogant, ignorant snob is coming from.  

Modern society has discredited Eurocentric historians who dismiss native culture and contributions out of hand.   Yet Black can write like a dinosaur and seemingly get away with it. 

Well, not here.

Connie, it’s not like the native peoples of .......

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