Statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II are being toppled then painted red
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
During the past week, demonstrations by self-proclaimed indigenous citizens of Canada have turned somewhat more violent as statues of Queen Victoria and even Queen Elizabeth II are being toppled and painted red. The demonstrations are in response to increasingly grim news about massive tracts of unmarked graves being discovered near former “Indian Residential Schools.” In most cases, their parents were never officially notified of their deaths. The children just didn’t come home!
The national news media in the United States gives such pathetic coverage of events in our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, many of you probably don’t even know what the indigenous people of Canada call themselves . . . First Nations Peoples. The tragedy of how Great Britain and then the Canadian government treated the First Nations has dominated the TV newscasts and newspaper headlines in Canada during almost the same period as the political convulsions in the United States. I learned long ago in Mexico that the best way to know a country was to know a lady friend there. I have a pen pal in Ontario, who is quite intelligent and explains Canadian history and politics in a way that this simple mountain boy can understand.
Beginning in 1876, the Indian Residential School System operated as a network of mandatory boarding schools for Indigenous peoples. The network was funded by the Canadian government’s Department of Indian Affairs and administered by Christian churches, under contract with the federal government.
The school system was created to remove Indigenous children from the influence of their own culture and assimilate them into the dominant Canadian culture. Schools were intentionally located in communities away from where most of the children originated. The children were forcibly removed from their homes by provincial police or the RCMP. They often were not allowed to return home for a period of several years. In addition, students were forced to speak only English in all provinces, except Quebec, where they were forced to speak French. The last Indian residential school was closed in 1996.
The requirement to speak French was a special handicap placed on those students that made obtaining a job outside of Quebec very difficult, because they did not know any English. Caucasian students in Quebec had enough years of English in school to theoretically be fluent. However, I found that the three young Quebecois school teachers, whom I traveled with in northern Yucatan were not fluent in English. It was only my imperfect knowledge of French and Latin that made it possible for us to fully communicate.
In 2008, the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission began investigating the Indian Residential Schools. Few Canadians, other than First Nations peoples and social justice advocates paid much attention to its interim reports. The primary revelations were related to sexual abuse by nuns and priests in Roman Catholic schools, plus both physical and sexual abuse by dormitory supervisors in facilities run by all church denominations.
In 2020 a public relations bomb went off. Construction workers, employed in the redevelopment of a former residential school in British Columbia stumbled upon human bones in a tract of land near the main complex. Forensic archaeologists quickly determined the bones to be American Indian children. They initially assumed that this was a First Nations habitation site. However, after 215 remains of children were found, it was obvious that this was a cemetery containing unmarked graves of children being held at the school. That discovery has repeatedly been in the news for months.
The Canadian government then launched a nationwide survey of residential school locations by forensic archaeologists. The results are increasingly horrifying. The most recent discovery of at least 751 burials near a school in Saskatchewan has unleashed large political demonstrations in several parts of the nation, especially Manitoba, which has a large Metis and Cree People population. The violent destruction of statues honoring the British Empire began in Manitoba. Estimates for the number of anonymous burials that will be found vary from 6,000 to 30,000. No one really knows at this time.
In reviewing TV news broadcasts from Canada about the vandalism of statues, I noticed something odd. There were some demonstrators, who obviously were at least part indigenous Americans, but almost all their representatives, who were interviewed by TV reporters did not look indigenous at all.
For example, the leader of the mob which toppled Queen Elizabeth’s statue in Winnipeg, Manitoba had a Caucasian skull, bright red hair, blue eyes, pale white skin and some freckles. In other words, she looked like a Scottish Highlander. Yet she went on and on about how “she and her people had been persecuted by the whites, who control the governments in Winnipeg and Ottawa, the national capital. ”
Now, I am 3/4 Nordic and Sami, but this photo above, taken of me by the Atlanta Journal Constitution when I was 17, shows me clearly to have substantial Creek, Seminole or Chickasaw ancestry. That CANNOT be said for many, perhaps a majority of demonstrators, who are tearing down the statues in Canada.
Are there anarchists mixed in with the legitimate demonstrators? Are these anarchists, actually Russian agents? I know Russian agents are here the region, where I live. I caught a young woman last fall, adorned with Trump campaign buttons, committing a booboo. She had dyed blond hair and spoke educated English, typical of Pennsylvania and Upstate New York . . . but did not know where the State of Virginia was located and looked terrified, when I said, “Спасибо (spasibo)” which means “thank you” in Russian.
I asked my Canadian pen pal about this suspicious conflict between claims of mistreatment, because they were another race and their actual appearance. Hazel said that in recent decades, the determination of one’s ethnic identity in Canada has been determined either by membership in a federally recognized Native tribe or that one’s grandparents or parents officially described themselves as First Nations in tax returns or census polls. There was no one fact checking this self-declarations. There is little doubt that the Canadian government committed cultural genocide against its Native Peoples. However, I am not convinced that there are not some political activists (or spies) operating on a hidden agenda.
Comments and Suggestions from Champagne-Ardenne
Remember Vivi the French Courtesan? Vivi is not her real name. It was a nickname, meaning “lively” that was given her by her Mexican grandmother. I have also fictionalized several irrelevant details and events of those halcyon days, so no one will figure out who she is.
After several people contacted the Atlanta Consulate or French Embassy, claiming to be Georgia law enforcement officers, who wanted to interview her, Vivi had to devise a secure means for us to communicate. Remember she was or is a professional intelligence officer for the French government! That delayed her comments on what I had written.
I wrote a series of articles about Vivi during the Christmas holidays. She has remembered romantic details that I had pushed to the deepest corners of my brain. Part of the reason is that she has all of the photographs of us together, plus even some films of buildings that I was working on. Here is an example of what she remembered that I didn’t.
As I left for the farm on December 16, 1990, I assumed that I would never see Vivi again, because we lived in different worlds. However, she showed up at the farm in a Dulles Airport taxi-van on the morning of December 19. She wanted to see and photograph my cheese creamery and goats. She also wanted me to baptize her a Christian. On the night of December 15, I had showed her in the Bible passages that stated any Christian could serve communion – even to a non-believer and that any Christian could baptize her. Feeling “born again” as the Rev. John Wesley would say, she took me at my word. I just read some passages about John the Baptist and poured water from Toms Brook on her . . . that previously been warmed in the microwave!
Later in the day, I gave her a tour of the county’s many historic buildings and then we went into the 250-year-old Springhouse Tavern for lunch. Shenandoah County enjoys a constant flow of nationally and internationally famous people, so many of the restaurants have VIP seating areas where tourists can’t bug them. It’s the room with windows and a fireplace in the back of the photo above. Vivi was immediately recognized as some sort of celebrity in Europe. They asked her if she wanted her bodyguard (moi) to sit elsewhere. LOL Apparently, not only did I not look like a celebrity . . . but looked like someone, who should not even be in the same room with a celebrity.
A couple minutes later, a middle-aged Asiatic lady was ushered into the VIP Area. Vivi instantly recognized her as Yoko Ono, the widow of Beetle John Lennon. As a teenager, Vivi had attended a John Lennon-Yoko Ono Concert in Paris. They chatted for awhile in both French and English. Yoko also assumed that I was just a rustic bodyguard, until Vivi introduced me. A goatherd feller jest can’t get no respect!
Please be patient with construction activities
I had no clear plan of where I was going, when I started writing the book. I was merely reliving memories as they came back to me. Vivi thinks that this story has great potential for being dramatized by the European TV or film industry. She assumes that repressive political elements in the United States would squelch it.
She also noticed that my chronology was sometimes very confusing, plus I told the same story twice in different chapters, sometimes. That’s going to be fixed.
Finally, she scolded me for seeming to mock FBI agent Susan Karlson’s battle against satanic cults and crime. Actually, it was a very serious matter. Susan claimed that a recent Chairman of the Virginia Republican Party played a dual role as a Satanic high priest and the top leader in an evangelical church. She also said that the inner sanctum of his law office had a pentagram on the floor. In the center of the pentagram was supposedly his office desk. I was never in this office.
During the two years that Vivi was living in Virginia, looking for me, she conned her way into the inner sanctum office of this politically powerful man. Yes, his desk was in the center of the pentagram and there were also many occult symbols scattered about the office.
Vivi also said that I need to provide more photographic or verbal descriptions of the scenes in the book. She knows from being on my turf, Europeans are going to not understand the natural and urban environments. She used as an example when we were looking for a site for her winery in the Virginia Mountains. Europeans might think “Alps” when these were actually low mountains, covered with denser vegetation than any mountains in Europe.
Once I have the revised book set up on a separate website, Vivi will market it in Europe. She gets a 20% commission, if successful. (That’s fair, because the story is primarily about her.) The money will be used to set up a trust for any grandchildren. The reason for that is also a personal thing between us. The 80% will give me some cash reserve to pay for big ticket items like roof replacement, a new car or major health issues.
I might have to republish revised articles from the autumn of 2020. This could be considered a nuisance to some readers, but it is the only way I can substantially revise some chapters. Thank you for your patience.