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Corso Media release re: Indigenous Holocaust
31 August 2000
Corso Media release
The furore raised by statements made by Associate Minister of Maori Affairs Tariana Turia at a conference of Psychologists earlier this week is totally predictable, given the denial of the violence of colonisation so prevalent in colonial societies such as NZ, Corso National Co-ordinator, Suzanne Menzies-Culling said in Dunedin today. "And it is time we stopped this denial."
"The History of New Zealand and its Inhabitants" by Dom Felice Vaggioli recently translated and published by University of Otago Press portrays clearly and graphically what was done here to Maori. This book was written in the 19th century and was so clear and graphic that the British government pressured the Catholic Church of the day to destroy all copies. Fortunately some survived. We must resist the urge to sanitise our history because it makes us uncomfortable." Ms Menzies-Culling told members of Corso's Pacific Programmes Group in Dunedin.
It is also unfortunate that a member of the NZ Jewish Community should have allowed himself to make a statement on television, which seemed to downplay the genocide that has been experienced by the world's indigenous people since 1492 and which is historically documented. Our media would also benefit from some basic research so that they could be part of INFORMED debate about the numbers of people who died as a direct result of colonisation.
It has been recorded that 40 million indigenous Americans died in the first 40 years following the arrival of the Spanish in their world. African-American scholars estimate that between 80-100 million Africans lie at the bottom of the Atlantic ~ these are the ones who were enslaved to work in the American colonies but who never survived the passage. Maybe a Holocaust only reflects genocide of white people by white people.
"Tariana Turia said that indigenous people (including Maori) suffered genocide and likened it to the Jewish Holocaust. Maybe we need another word to describe the much greater numbers of indigenous people and of other people of colour who have died because of colonisation." Ms Menzies-Culling said.
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