CBC Digital Archives

Georges Erasmus: Abandoning neutrality

Georges Henry Erasmus has a dream: Self-government for the native peoples of Canada. The charismatic native leader has devoted his life to fighting tirelessly for the right of his people to control their own lives and the land they live on. From his early days as the president of the Dene Nation or as the co-chair of the historic Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Erasmus has never swayed from his vision. It's a dream that has yet to be fully realized.

media clip
Georges Erasmus is in Saskatchewan as co-chair of the historic Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The government set up the commission in 1991 to mend relationships between native and non-native peoples in Canada. In an uncharacteristic move, Erasmus abandons his role as the neutral diplomat and attacks the Roman Catholic Church during a commission hearing. For 12 minutes Erasmus condemns the church for forcing native peoples to abandon their language, culture and tradition, reports CBC Radio's Maureen Brosnahan.

In a quiet but emotional voice, Erasmus says it's not good enough to say it was in the past. He demands that Catholic bishops appear before the commission and accept responsibility for their actions.
. Georges Erasmus was appointed to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1991 along with Judge René Dussault. They were to come up with practical solutions to ancient problems.
. Erasmus's family moved to Yellowknife when he was just one year old. He was educated in Catholic schools.
Medium: Radio
Program: World Report
Broadcast Date: Oct. 30, 1992
Guest(s): Georges Erasmus
Host: Russ Germain, Barbara Smith
Reporter: Maureen Brosnahan

Duration: 1:58

Last updated: January 30, 2012

Page consulted on October 17, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

The Berger Pipeline Inquiry

It was going to be the biggest private construction project in history. But before a pipeline ...

The Battle for Aboriginal Treaty Rights

It's a battle over the land and its resources. The fight has taken place on the land, in the c...

John Diefenbaker: extra clips

His eyes blazing and his finger stabbing the air, John George Diefenbaker set 1950s Canada ali...

John Diefenbaker: Dief the Chief

His eyes blazing and his finger stabbing the air, John George Diefenbaker set 1950s Canada ali...

Leaders' Debates 1968-2011: Highlights

After months of anticipation and weeks of campaigning, it all comes down to one night. Televis...

Marc Garneau: Canadian Space Pioneer

His bravery is inspiring, his grace is charming and his credentials are out of this world. In ...