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COMMENTARY · 16th April 2011
Kevin Annett

Professor John Milloy stared at me with a learned hostility obviously gained from years of intimidating undergraduates, from his pontifical perch at the back of the lecture hall at Trent University. It was a cold evening in the spring of 2006, and nobody in government or church had yet thought of using an apology to immunize themselves from doing jail time for the crime.

The pout on John's chubby countenance spread into an angry scowl as I began describing to a shocked audience some facts that normally dwell far, far far away from Canadian academic discourse, like piles of childrens' bones under churches.

The topic that night was crimes in Canadian Indian residential schools, and John, being the officially approved expert on the subject, started jumping and groaning like it was he, and not Indian kids, who had been at the receiving end of an electric cattle prod.

After I ignored his noises and began speaking about the documented death rate of more than fifty percent in the residential schools, John Boy just couldn't contain himself any longer, and he cried out,

"All that's been debunked!"

I stared at the guy, and thought his ejaculation sort of, well, a little odd, considering that he himself had cited the fifty percent death rate claim in his own book, A National Crime.

I reminded John of this fact and he looked like he had just swallowed a large jalapeno. He sputtered,

"Just because so many died doesn't mean it was deliberate!".

John Milloy really is a big, fat idiot.

Later, I began wondering how incredible dumbos like Milloy - who really seems to believe that thousands of kids can somehow die accidentally - get appointed as the court scholar and head muckamuck for every Say-Nothing Royal Commission on Indians for the past twenty years?

Well, says my sadder but wiser self, it's precisely because Milloy is such an idiot, and so fat, that he got to win the exalted spot of Official Say Nothing Expert since, let's face it, there's nothing messier and less Canadian than talk of the murder of children.

Maybe John's just lucky, even if he does weigh three hundred pounds. But he does have on his side the exalted Canadian academic tradition when it comes to Indians that I like to call No Name Research, of which Big John is a leading perpetrator.

No Name Research consists of talking all around an ugly truth without ever mentioning such incovenient details as who did what to whom, how, and when.

This week, NNR is being inflicted once more on the unsuspecting, loyally-taxpaying public that's funding the latest extravagant circus run by the government's misnamed "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" in Vancouver: an event as fat and as stupid as John Milloy, who helped set it up.

Asked by an atypically daring journalist about children who died in Indian residential schools, Milloy replied glibly,

"There's some talk of graves here and there, but we're leaving them pretty much undisturbed."

Pretty much?

In a similarly undisturbed manner, a battery of pale faced scholars almost as big as John gathered at a front table in front of the cluster of $500 a pop delegates to carefully dissect, camoflouge and chloroform the bloody fact of dead children by reducing them to items on that day's agenda, under such illuminating subject titles as "Modes of Discourse in Ethnographic Studies of the Impact of Religious Imperialism on Canadian indigenous Peoples".

I was away in Slovenia that week, continuing to annoy John, or I would have checked out the gala TRC conference: especially the free smorgasboard. I figure John must have chocked up another five pounds in the first day alone, with all the free food, desserts and booze. Maybe I'll write a paper soon entitled "The Correlation of Caloric Intake to Neuron Depletion in Past their Prime Academicians."

I really shouldn't be so hard on Fat Boy. He probably had the shit teased out of him as a kid. And besides, he's just doing the job he's paid to do, which of course is always the best defense.

I did have a friend attend the TRC pork fest, and he said he spoke to a South African delegate who had been flown to Canada, probably for a few thousand bucks, to speak for a half hour to all the Milloy lookalikes. The delegate looked confused, said my friend.

"Why is Canada going to so much trouble to create such an obvious pretense?" the South African wondered.

Big John would have been personally hurt, I warrant, by the foreigner's remarks, since Milloy takes pride in comparing Canada's little farce with the South African TRC: a stupid comparison, of course, since in South Africa, their investigation into apartheid's crimes didn't allow the guilty parties to grant immunity from prosecution to themselves, as the Canadian government and churches have done for their slaughter of children. And victims got to name the names of the criminals, and even bring charges against them - unlike at the Canadian TRC.

But then, as we know by now, John Milloy is stupid. And Fat.

My friend had to leave the conference after less than an hour, so he missed all the speeches to the few dozen token Indians carted in to sit in reverence before the pale faced scholars, who told them what their suffering was really all about.

Outside the warm and lavish conference hall, my friend came across a homeless aboriginal couple who were digging into a garbage bin for some bottles to recycle for fifty cents or so. He offered them a few bucks, but they turned him down. The native man said they preferred to work for it.