Photo: The children who never came home, Carlisle Indian School, Penn., by Brenda Norrell.
Healing cannot even begin for the survivors of genocide until truth emerges and is acknowledged. This to me is one of several essential reasons I have chosen to support and if possible to actively participate in Kevin Annett's call for holding an International tribunal on North American genocide.
With the mass graves of perhaps 100,000 indigenous school children of recent origin littered over the North American continent, and many more systematically and sexually abused, and used in human medical experiments, it is for the direct survivors, the surviving victums of these crimes, and families to finally know where their missing children have been buried that is another essential reason for such a tribunal to be organized at this time.
Given the refusal of past and present governments in the United States and Canada to fulfill it's legal obligations, it is only through compulsion of international authorities that it may finally be possible to collect documents of precisely who was killed where, and enable the remains of these lost children to finally be returned to their relatives.
While I am speaking of crimes against humanity and genocide against the indigenous population that have happened only within the last 40 years, and of course including of course the program of mass sterilization of Lakotah women, this gets to the third essential reason for such a convening such tribunal at this time. Along with the survivors who have direct living memory of these events, many of the participants and direct architects of these policies remain free and at large, including a former president of the United States of America (as his crimes predate his presidency, sovereign immunity does not apply). These individuals must finally be brought to justice and held accountable for their crimes, as well as the institutions and governments they have served. Neither time makes this any less an obligation, as demonstrated by the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from Nuremberg demonstrate, nor must there be any sanctuary or place such people can live free.
The final reason I offer, perhaps most important reason for holding such a tribunal, is to prevent both continuing policies of genocide and to prevent future crimes against humanity in North America. This reason is the future of the survivors and their descendants. Hence, it would be essential for such a tribunal to consider not only remediation through prosecution of those responsible for these immediate crimes, nor simply questions such as reparations for victims, but also actions necessary in light of continued and institutional practice of genocide and the continued refusal of these governments to meet their binding legal obligations under international law, as well as the entire history of genocide in North America that brought us to this point.
Such remediations may well include calling for a complete program of decolonization and the re-establishment of fully sovereign indigenous nations that was illegally taken in the past, so that the survivors and their decedents may be able to live free and safe in their own nations once more. This or other potential recommendations of such a Tribunal, while perhaps outside of it's direct authority to enforce on it's own, can then be taken up directly by the nations of the world, such as through the United Nations General Assembly.