It was my honor yesterday to meet Cecil Planedin. Cecil identifies himself as a Doukhobor wood-block printer. Doukhobors have hands on experience with religious persecution in Canada, with promises to minority communities made and broken, and with enforced assimilation. Like me, he was amazed to learn that a one acre mass grave of several hundred northern native smallpox victims in Victoria could go without being generally known.
This is the annual B.C. Day holiday weekend. However, before Canadians can celebrate B.C. Day with a good conscience, we have work to do. 150 years ago this year, perhaps 100,000 B.C. natives all died within a few months. Among some indigenous Peoples, such as the Haida, Tsilhqot’in, St’at’imc and others, the death toll was as high as 80 percent or more of their whole number. By way of comparison, the death toll at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is commonly estimated at less than 40 percent of those cities.