Monday, October 27, 2008

Of Jesuits And Sauvages In Canada

How does a conversation of the Chinese Olympic Games turn to Canadian Sauvages?

This is an excerpt from an article in the Globe and Mail.

"We must not forget that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages, with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants of European descent, while in China, we're talking about a 5,000-year-old civilization," he said. In interviews with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Pound insisted the term sauvages carries a different meaning in French and English, and that he was using language of the era he was describing.

"I thought that in doing a 400-year-old picture, you use 400-year-old words," he said. "If that hurts somebody today, I had no intention of doing that." "I used the term that was regularly used there by the Jesuits, in the Relations and all the other published material, 'les sauvages,' "
he said. "There was no intention of making any racist comments. But you know, as well as I know, what was going on here 400 years ago." He said he hoped to move forward. "The first nations people are trying to regroup from a long period of what has been decline," he said. Mr. Dudemaine, of the aboriginal group LandInSights, said yesterday he considered Mr. Pound's apology insincere.
"There isn't a Jesuit today who would use such terms, or give him absolution either." The term sauvages, while once used to refer to natives, has fallen into disuse in Quebec for several decades.
The province still has more than a dozen rivers, streams, routes and mountains with names such as Lac aux Sauvages, but several have been changed in recent years.

Link (here)

Canadian Indians (here)

1 comment:

de Brantigny said...

Joseph, I have written several articles wherein I used the word sauvage to define what the Europeans thought of the inhabitants of the new world. It is not a derogastory word but a word used to describe the "native Americans" as not having reached th level of civilization as had the English, French of Spanish either in religion, or in government.

It was not be litttling then and I still use it. It is foolish and politicly correct tochange things as to make them more palatable to the ear.

I fear I am not sure that Mr Dudemaine can speak for any Jesuit about whom they would and would not absolve. This is what I find more troubling. I don't think an apollogy is required. It is just another case of the jacobin left pressuring someone to speak their way.

Dieu Le Roy.