The facts came in 2019, when a ceremony aimed at purification by fire resulted in the first 30 books being burned. And buried. The organizers claimed an educational act, especially as the ashes were used to plant a tree: how to denounce an ecological approach? Roots plunging into the origin of evil … Canada is in shock.


Clement Solym





Clement Solym

The idea was simple: to harvest books that convey a racist image of First Nations peoples, and to set an edifying example. The libraries of the Providence Catholic School Board in Ontario took part, eventually destroying 5,000 documents. And this message was sent with the prospect of reconciliation with said peoples.

The movement was also to gain momentum: if the 2019 fireworks triggered the initiative, 2020 should have followed – the pandemic will have had the merit of cutting it short. The spokesperson of the Council ensures for its part that the books were selected by their content “obsolete and inappropriate”, reports Radio Canada.

In all, out of the 30 schools, nearly 160 works were concerned by this program of weeding by the flames: in question, for all, the message conveyed on the First Nations. And who, in Asterix, Lucky Luke and others, presented characters with racist traits, it is believed. Tintin was, of course, in the lot, with his passage in America: his meeting with the Redskins, published in 1932, did not pass any more.

Even works aimed at giving children models of disguises are incriminated, in that they represent an inappropriate cultural appropriation. While some authors are screaming at the censorship of their works, pointing out that one confuses works of fictional – often humorous – and historical documents, nothing has helped.

For Suzy Kies, independent researcher, according to her own presentation, works for the Providence School Council: she underlines that these works have in common to be “stories written by Europeans, from a Eurocentric perspective and not by Aboriginals” . And as such, and in view of their popularity for some, they have participated in cultivating myths about Indians, which are quite racist.

“Pocahontas, she’s so sexual and sensual, for us native women it’s dangerous,” she also says.

The president of the association of book publishers, Arnaud Foulon, admitted that some of the titles pointed out could contain errors, or even no longer be essential. However: “One of the goals of schools is to open up students to a variety of points of view and knowledge. “Having only recent books, which would lead to this clean-up, will present other risks for the future.

The wildfire of this affair forced the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to intervene: during a press conference, the latter assures: “It is not mine, it is not for non-Aboriginals tell Indigenous people how they should feel or act to advance reconciliation. “

If the subject of reconciliation is particularly sensitive, Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois believes that burning the books is tantamount to hitting oneself with amnesia: “We do not make the errors of judgment of the past disappear by denying them”, quotes Radio Canada. Except to plead in favor of vacuum cleaning …

As for the prospect of censoring Hergé or Uderzo and Goscinny, this shocks him: the prejudices conveyed are no longer supported nowadays, obviously, but it is above all important to “provide an educational framework so that young people are exposed to what happened “.

According to comments from the School Board, the ceremony – cremation and burial – was the best way, at least the “most appropriate for the initiative.” If negative consequences have resulted, he deplores them: it was a message of peace …

tintin is racist to die and no one to die. why respect it as something that is not? why “preserve” it when the people concerned express themselves? go…

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Other articles in the Professions section

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Born in 1929, Jean-Denis Bredin died on September 1 at the age of 92, the Académie française announced in a press release. Elected on June 15, 1989 in the chair of Marguerite Yourcenar, he notably signed a reference work on the Dreyfus Affair, simply titled The Affair, published in 1983 by Julliard.

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