BREAKING: The Department of Indigenous Studies and others vehemently condemn Frances Widdowson
Hymie RubensteinJan 27
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A scheduled February 1, 2023 lecture at the University of Lethbridge (U of L) by Dr. Frances Widdowson whose unfair dismissal in December 2021 from her tenured position at Calgary’s Mount Royal University [MRU] has been reported on several times in this newsletter, including in the piece below, has created a firestorm of controversy.The REAL Indigenous Issues NewsletterFighting Back Against Big Brother’s LoveAs most active readers know, Frances Widdowson is a former professor of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies at Mount Royal University unfairly fired by the university in December 2021 for daring to be a vocal advocate for academic freedom and free speech…Read morea month ago · 10 likes · 2 comments
Hundreds of people have digitally signed a petition on Change.org seeking to have the event cancelled. The petition states:
Her presence on campus not only denigrates the status of the University by giving space to a speaker who promotes historical falsities and racial bigotry, but endangers students’ well-being and safety.
The petition has attracted the attention of U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon, who issued the following statement:
The University of Lethbridge has become aware of a guest speaker, invited by one of our faculty members, whose views are in conflict with a number of the values held by the University — including the University’s stated commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We strongly disagree with assertions that seek to minimize the significant and detrimental impact of Canada’s residential school system. I have heard from many students, faculty and staff who have expressed their disappointment that this event is taking place. It is encouraging that a concurrent evidence-based counter-lecture has also been organized, and that the vast majority of our community finds these views abhorrent.
The U of L Statement on Free Expression states that its “mandate affirms its commitment to protect free inquiry and scholarship, facilitate access to scholarly resources, and support artistic expression and free and open scholarly discussion of issues.
Mahon also said that debate or deliberation on campus “may not be suppressed because the ideas put forward are thought by some, or even more, to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or misguided.”
This largely virtue-signaling reply that nevertheless upholds academic freedom and constitutionally protected speech did not satisfy the U of L’s indigenous studies department which just issued the following statement full of distortions and other errors as shown by my annotated comments in UPPER CASE BOLD.
The Department of Indigenous Studies vehemently condemns the anti-Indigenous rhetoric routinely disseminated by former MRU professor Frances Widdowson and deplores the fact that she is being given a platform to legitimize that discourse on our campus. [ANTI-INDIGENOUS RHETORIC IS ANYTHING THAT REMOTELY CHALLENGES THE RHETORICALLY FALACIOUS MAINSTREAM NARRATIVE] Widdowson has left us in no doubt as to her positions; she has regularly espoused these views through published articles, public speaking, broadcast podcasts, and other public forums. She specifically denounces the TRC’s classification of the Residential School system as genocide and disputes the veracity of the unmarked graves of Indigenous children found at the sites of multiple former Residential School sites. [GENOCIDE? THERE IS NOT SINGLE VERIFIED EXAMPLE OF A CHILD MURDERED BY A STAFF MEMBER AT ANY RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL; NO “UNMARKED GRAVES” HAVE BEEN LOCATED OUTSIDE THOSE IN KNOWN INDIGENOUS RESERVE GRAVEYARDS. NONE.]
The facts of the Residential School system and the experiences of Indigenous children within that system were rigorously established through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. [THE WORK OF THE TRC AND THE QUESTIONING OF THE INDIGENOUS “SURVIVORS” WAS THE FURTHEST THING FROM “RIGOROUS.”]
- At least 150,000 Indigenous children across multiple generations were removed from their families and communities. [MOST OF THESE STUDENTS VOLUNTARILY ATTENDED THE SCHOOLS.]
- They were processed through an alien education system that was designed to forcibly remove all vestiges of their original identities, cultures, and languages. [THIS IS A GROSS DISTORTION EVEN OF WHAT IS CONTAINED IN THE TRC REPORTS AND BY THE VOLUMINOUS MATERIAL ON THIS BRAND NEW SITE: https://indianresidentialschoolrecords.com/.
- These policies, which are a matter of historical record within Canada, clearly meet the United Nations definition of genocide, as listed in Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. [NOTHING COULD BE LESS CLEAR BECAUSE THE IRS AND OTHER INDIGENOUS EXPERIENCES SATISFY NOT A SINGLE ELEMENT OF ARTICLE II:“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
A protest organized by the U of L Student Action Assembly is scheduled to be held at the university’s Anderson Hall building beginning at 4:00 p.m. on February 1, 2023, prior to the start of Widdowson’s speech at 4:30 p.m.
Don’t be surprised if the ferocity of this protest results in the cancellation of Dr. Widdowson’s address.
At the same time that Widdowson will give her speech at the U of L, Dr. Sean Carleton, a self-declared “settler” on indigenous soil, and assistant professor of history and native studies at the University of Manitoba will deliver a virtual presentation, titled, “Truth before Reconciliation: How to Identify and Confront Residential School Denialism.”