Janet Hudgins,* February 25, 2018


Of all the horrors the English committed during its racist rise to power, one of the least recognized and most rankling to its victims is the genocide committed to the Acadians and Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia in the 17 th and 18 th Centuries.

Safely shielded under centuries of skillfully crafted propaganda, the scars deeply embedded in peaceful peoples have escaped indictment at home and abroad. And, even while the suffering was broadcast by both the French and First Nations, the crown belligerently made a blanket statement refusing all liability. “…Our present Proclamation does not, under any circumstances, constitute a recognition of legal or financial responsibility by the Crown….” 1 At the same time the Canadian government arrogantly suggested the Acadians just “turn the page.” This is the only acknowledgement by the crown of the Acadian Expulsion and it came about when the Sociètè Nationale de l’Acadie appealed to England in 2008 to recognize that it was at least ethnic cleansing, the softer term. 2  

In fact, it was genocide in all its declared constructs. 3 The English paid an exorbitant £100 for the scalps of Acadians and Mi’kmaq, dead or alive, starved them out when they stole their crops and stock to feed the military, they forced them off their property then burned all their possessions, and worse than anything, took their children and sent them into servitude for English settlers while parents searched for them for the rest of their lives.

Scientists have determined that extreme suffering is transgenerational, 4 that all descendants of all families have felt the torture of memory, of destitution and forced removal, and the unbearable despair as children were abducted and trafficked while neither a Canadian nor English member of parliament, never mind the crown, have shown either remorse or any intention of restitution.

One can hardly wonder that anger boils over when such a deeply-rooted institution dismisses its atrocities as if they were of little consequence to whole races of people and it is essential now for the English crown to acknowledge the depth of the damage it ordered to thousands of peaceful settlers. Centuries late though it is, the healing of the great pain of this level of trauma must begin.


Based in Vancouver, Canada, I’m a lifelong activist working for many NGOs, writing short stories, non-fiction, and a creative non-fiction on East Coast colonial history, Treason, The Violation of Trust. I’ve taken two degrees in the last decade: Creative Writing and Political Science and now retired for many years I’m often a student of the MOOCs programs in politics, international relations, language and piano jazz.

Genocide is a thoroughly researched essay that should open dialogue between Canadian and English governments resulting in a satisfactory resolution for both the Acadians and Mi’kmaq who suffered beyond words at the hands of the English.


Not all early civilizations were civilized. English monarchs, the colonizers, definitively claimed to be the epitome of refinement—which, as some wag said at the time, would send the Italians into fits of laughter—but proved for infinity to be truly savage. All through the second millennium they were committing genocide, and in all its forms, as set out by the United Nations in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948):

…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. 5

The historic and unsettled genocide against the First Nations’ Mi’kmaq and the French Acadians in Nova Scotia during the 17th and 18th Centuries was ordered by the English crown but no ruler has ever accepted the responsibility or been taken to account for the massacres they were committing. The Canadian government did make a general apology to First Nations in 2008, but regarding Residential Schools only, the administration of which didn’t begin until 1874. The only acknowledgement by the crown of the Acadian Expulsion came about after considerable pressure from the Sociètè Nationale de l’Acadie 6 when it appealed to England through the Canadian government to recognize that it was at least ethnic cleansing, the softer term that lawyer-professor Benjamin Ferencz refers to as a euphemism for genocide. 7 It was a proclamation struck to establish July 28th a Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval, first by the then Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson in 2004, which actually stated that the crown made the decision to physically remove the Acadian people from their land but, “Whereas We hope that the Acadian people can turn the page on this dark chapter of their history,” or, just forget it. 8 Elizabeth II delayed her proclamation until the following year and added a rider:

“Whereas this Our present Proclamation does not, under any circumstances, constitute a recognition of legal or financial responsibility by the Crown in right of Canada and of the provinces and is not, under any circumstances, a recognition of, and does not have any effect upon, any right or obligation of any person or group of persons.” 9

The Mi’kmaq were not mentioned.

In the mix of English barbarous genocide was its long history of slavery. It was commonly known and narrated for centuries, but never properly condemned by the international community. What may not be well known is the payoff when slavery was finally outlawed. Of the total 3,100,000 they forced out of Africa between the 15th and 19th Centuries, largely to the Americas, 800,000 were still owned by the English, and were formally freed by Whitehall in 1833. But, 3,000 slavers holding 760,000 Africans refused to give them up. They demanded compensation for the loss of free labour, the source of their wealth, and the English government paid up: about £16.5 billion in today’s sterling. 10 It wasn’t until a century later, in 1930, the International Labour Organization held a convention on the abolishment of forced labour. 11 Even then, it was still on the crown’s agenda and it refused to ratify the convention until 1957. 12

Political scientist, Adam Jones, defines colonialism in Indigenous territories, to remove and supplant them with British nationals, as settler colonialism.

Three ideological tenets stand out as justifying and facilitating all European conquest [of the colonization era], ‘pacification’ and ‘settlement.’ The first … was a legal-utilitarian justification, according to which native peoples had no right to territories they inhabited owing to their ‘failure’ to exploit them adequately.

The second tenet, settlement, was termed in North America vacuum domicilium, or empty dwelling. And the third, racial-eliminationist, the “… supplanting of primitive peoples by advanced and ‘civilized’ ones … engineered through military conflict between indigenous peoples and the better-armed Europeans,” and atrophy. “Genocide began to be regarded as the inevitable byproduct of progress, … ‘even if its perpetrators and supporters grew misty-eyed in the process.’” 13

Indeed, England set itself out as a remarkably small, yet heroic warrior bestowing its altruism on a vast spread of the world, to civilize by putting the fear of its God in everyone everywhere. In fact, all colonizers competing to form empires were small in relation to the countries they invaded, and they all brutally occupied, pillaged, subverted, removed and murdered hundreds of millions of locals; the master race dictated, it iterated, for the good of the landed population. England ruled seventy-four states and countries, all sources of rich, natural resources and free, forced labour. 14 British sovereigns never invaded where there was no one to exploit, and neither did anyone else; there was a pattern.

It was one thing to liberate a population of its land and possessions, but quite another to steal its identity and social power, the essence of genocide. 15 In 1996, Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, suggested that genocide develops in eight stages that are “predictable but not inexorable.”

1. Classification: ‘Us’ and ‘Them.’

2. Symbolization: combined with hatred, symbols are forced on unwilling pariahs. 3. Dehumanization: equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases.

4. Organization: Genocide is always organized... Special army units or militias are often trained and armed.

5. Polarization: Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda. A precondition of propaganda is to devalue a race of people.

6. Preparation: Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity.

7. Extermination: It is 'extermination' to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human.

8. Denial. The perpetrators... deny that they committed any crimes. 16

George Monbiot says the English repudiate the crime of their monumental exploits, or just ignore them. 17 “The perpetrators of genocide dig up mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. …” 18



The English crown’s long history of taking a back door to grab real estate outside its borders is its blueprint of colonization. It thoughtfully marketed the theft as Expansionism, then forced the long established inhabitants off their land, seized all their property, and exploited all their resources. And if it took removing, or starvation or outright murder to get rid of the occupants, painting the rationalization in obfuscating hues to resolve the objectionable opinions of principled do-gooders who didn’t understand the need for English imperialism in the world, so be it. Where would we all be without it?

The dictum of all European conquerors was to change, integrate, and assimilate, or suffer immeasurably. Resisters were cut down. Charlemagne beheaded 4,500 Saxons in a single day; the Crusaders massacred 8,000 Jews; the Normans killed the Welsh and the Britons in the thousands. 19 And, they all seized whatever property there was, enslaving whomever was left alive.

By the thirteenth century the English state as a construct was so set in its mould in terms of institutions, mechanisms, ideology, idiom, and assumptions, and so centralized in its format, that it was unable to cope with societies which could not be readily integrated into its political and governmental configuration. It either established an English-style government or Englishries for its colonists (as it did in Ireland and south and north-east Wales respectively), or created the veneer of English institutional rule while reserving all major offices to Englishmen … political Anglicization was the price of political inclusion. There was no meeting of minds. 20

From the first Norman occupation of Wales in the 12th Century, and during seven more centuries when the English annexed a third of the world, poverty of the masses therein was constant until the mid-20th Century when colonies commenced to demand their independence. They realized they would never be free of the white supremacy ideology that was imperative to maintain suppression, ignorance and poverty, until they were free of England. Since then, the rate of poverty in the old Empire (and the rest of the world) has halved—although the two billion people still living on less than $2.00 a day is nothing to boast about.

Poverty is the consequence of plunder. Behind every single form of modern poverty, you find the use of force. 21

Ireland is the epitome of this plunder, the decimating famines artificially created by the English. They industrialized Irish resources with native labour then exported them to England, including the very sustenance of the workers. One million people are estimated to have starved in Ireland while another million managed to escape to the Americas.

The Normans defeated the Saxons and moved on, the royal purse was filled with the toil of its island neighbours and a nice kickback from the newly incorporated slavers, which incidentally, was old hat to the British Isles. “Well into the twelfth century in Wales… in Ireland and the Isles, the plunder of goods and the capture of people—a virtual form of slavery—were the normal, almost annual, coin of political competition and wealth accumulation.” 22

Global, industrial, English slavery began when slave trader John Hawkins formed a syndicate in 1562 with like-minded merchants and, with their investment, put three ships to sea, one of which he captained and then boarded Portuguese slavers to relieve them of their cargo. He was the middleman. Hijacking payloads at sea was common among robber barons along with noblemen who looted highway travelers of their valuables. These shortcuts saved a great deal in time and travel, and in the case of shipping slaves across the Atlantic it increased already considerable profits. 23

It was Hawkins who saw the efficacy of stacking human cargo to maximize space. And, he formed the trade triangle between West Africa, the West Indies or America, and England all depending on where the surviving slaves were to be delivered. In training on Hawkins’ ships was a young sailor called Francis Drake. Piracy and slavery notwithstanding, both would be knighted in due course. 24



After selectively subjugating and culling the population in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, England crossed the Atlantic in 1607 to perform the same surgery on the Acadians and Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia, and its colonial genocide was underway. Ten thousand French settlers died during the Acadian Expulsion but records of the crown’s Aboriginal dispatches were never deemed necessary; they were savages and this was, after all, England’s Age of Enlightenment. In fact, the Mi’kmaq were one of five principal First Nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy, or People of the Dawn, and had been in the Maritimes for thousands of years. They were, indeed, Nova Scotia’s first settlers. 25

Mi’kmaq leaders made a profound statement for the colonial press on behalf of “les sauvages,” their distinctive race, and all First Nations. “I am sprung from the land as doth the grass. I that am savage, am born here, and my fathers before me. This land is mine inheritance, I swear it is, the land which God has given me to be my country forever.” 26

Long after the fact, in 1763, George III decreed by Proclamation that Native un-ceded land must be recognized as such. It has served as an arbitrary statement to mitigate the outright theft of millions of acres from both Natives tribes and the Acadians of which none were returned or purchased. But, it came much too late, and it was meant to. “The several Nations or Tribes … who live under our Protection, should not be molested … as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, … And We do further … require all Persons … seated themselves upon any lands … forthwith to remove themselves from such settlements.” 27

The relationship between the Mi’kmaq and the Acadians was unique among first contacts as the French were the first among colonists who “accommodated  most wholeheartedly” the Aboriginals. 28 Intermarriage began sometime before 1635. 29

Queen Anne made three attempts to capture Port Royal and by 1713 the Acadians were sufficiently war-weary for the English to claim heroic conquest. But, by the Treaty of Utrecht, the French government was forced to cede “‘the colonies of St Kitts, Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, and all Nova Scotia or l’Acadie comprehended within its antient Boundaries.’” 30  Cape Breton, Quebec and islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence were to be left to the French and unmolested. Acadians, (they would concentrate on the Mi’kmaq later and differently), said the queen’s ministers, could leave voluntarily or stay enjoying their “‘lands and tenements’” to man the garrison and under oath to the English king. 31

But, the Acadians were not about to sign this oath that could, and would, order them to murder the Mi’kmaq, French nationals in battle, and the Mi’kmaq to murder the Acadians, their friends, allies, and blood relations. “We will never take the oath of fidelity to the Queen of Great Britain, to the prejudice of what we owe to our king, to our country, and to our religion.” 32

Several men, skilled in the pacification of resistors, were enlisted to change the landscape in Nova Scotia.

Samuel Vetch, a turn-coat Scot of dubious trading principles—he was a smuggler—was rewarded by his queen to have the honour of the first expedition of thirty-six vessels and two thousand men from London to Nova Scotia to “‘reduce’” the Acadians and, “The men who conquered and removed the Acadian inhabitants would have first crack at their farms.” 33

Francis Nicholson, first a military captain in Boston, then governor of Virginia and Maryland, was appointed by Vetch in 1710 to share command of the invasion of Acadia, Vetch to be governor of Nova Scotia, and Canada after the conquest. 34

William Shirley, the Massachusetts Governor, planned to displace the Mi’kmaq and replace them with a pacified and altered culture as the way to manage both the old country and the new. He offered scalping bounties. “On October 20, 1744 the government of Massachusetts officially declared war on the Mi’kmaq. 35 Five days later the Massachusetts General Court offered a bounty of £100 (provincial currency) for the scalp of any adult male member of the Mi’kmaq nation. For the scalps of women and children, the legislature offered £50. 36 Similar rewards were available for Mi’kmaq prisoners taken alive.” 37

Shirley offered 100 French livres per scalp, a fortune when soldiers were making about 10 livres a year. 38 Although all factions collected these trophies: English, French, First Nations, 39 only the English—Cornwallis—made no preference between a scalp from a dead enemy or one that was alive. 40

“Scalping was also used as a means of torture. The victim was tied to a tree. Using the point of a knife, and starting from the forehead, the skin was scored all the way around the head, then the scalp was ripped from the skull. It could take as long as two days for the victim to die.” 41

The senior officers the crown sent to Nova Scotia were driven to have and hold a place in the English ruling class. They each had a reputation of uncompromising brutality and they are credited with “the invention of the political institutions by which they shared power among themselves while denying it to other ethnic groups.” 42 Charles Lawrence had been in the army since he was teenage commissioned ensign in 1727 and pushed his way up the military ladder through Lord Halifax, distantly related and president of the Board of Trade, to major by 1749. 43

Edward Cornwallis was another English army officer instrumental in the pacification of the Scots who went on to participate mightily in shaping British policy in Nova Scotia and is still regarded as a dark figure in its history. 44 After a career in the army and a groom of the royal bedchamber, Cornwallis was named governor of Nova Scotia in 1749 and credited with founding the city of Halifax. 45 He had cleared the Scots from the Highlands and armed with this expertise was sent to Canada as a specialist in removing original and more recent settlers, all listed under the banner of the other. 46 Cornwallis came from considerable wealth, had been a royal page, and his regiment stopped the Scottish Catholic pretender to the English throne, Charles Stuart. His next step to glory was to supervise the burning of Catholic chapels and the torture of Catholic priests in the Scottish Highlands. He was a shoo-in to pacify again in Nova Scotia.

Boston-based Shirley, an expert in maritime and commercial law, whose political capital was increased by war and therefore in his interest to “avoid peace,” completed the tools of takeover. 47

The three men had a good deal in common and together were well suited for the final execution of the English plan to force the French Acadians out of Nova Scotia and subjugate and murder as many Mi’kmaq Aboriginals as possible.

And missing evidence shores up the propaganda. “The choice of documents published at Halifax was carefully made in order to justify the Nova Scotia government’s deportation of the Acadians.” A Halifax minister, Andrew Brown, conducted the first research on the Expulsion in the 1790s. His papers, and some transcriptions that had been removed from the Nova Scotia Archives, were saved from the landfill in 1852, sixty years later. One of those was the, “operational plan for removal written by the provincial surveyor.” Other documents were “truncated” to veil the most incriminating evidence. Quebècois historian, Henri Casgrain, said that, “Nova Scotia authorities … had conspired to cover up the most damning evidence of the Acadian removal.” 48

Brown’s paper was published in 1791…. “[E]xcepting the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, I know of no act equally reprehensible as the Acadian removal, that can be laid to the charge of the French nation. In their colonies nothing was ever done that approaches it in cruelty and atrociousness.” 49


It was not until the spring of 1755 that Lawrence and Shirley laid out a plan to remove the settlers for John Winslow, a commander from New England, to carry out. 50 They started by disarming the Grand Pré Acadians and confiscating their boats and canoes to prevent escape. 51 Then, in July Lieutenant Governor Lawrence’s council of military men met and strategized to physically force the, “‘French inhabitants,’ from the colony of Nova Scotia.” 52

The governors began the process of deprivation by forcing the Acadians to provide their own larder to themselves and English public servants. In June, 1755, they disarmed the French troops in Fort Beauséjour, then all Acadians who, now, could not provide themselves with game. Those who objected turned up in Halifax to get their weapons back and were again offered the unconditional oath. When they refused they were offered instead incarceration on George’s Island where they would remain through the winter with little, if anything, to keep them warm. An Abbé wrote that Lawrence confronted the deputies in George’s Island. One stepped forward and said, “‘Strike, Sir, if you dare. You can kill my body, but you shall not kill my soul.’” Somewhat amazed, Lawrence asked if they would prefer death. “‘Yes, Sir! Yes, Sir!’” 53

Colonel Robert Monckton, a young officer who also rose through the ranks with family connections, wrote the specs for the master plan. He ordered all men over sixteen to Fort Cumberland on the 10th of August, “to make arrangements concerning the return of their lands,” a flagrant lie aimed at people who had been stripped of their homes and livelihood. 54 However, only about one third of them arrived for Winslow to read the “government’s proclamation … succinctly: ‘They were declared rebels. Their Lands, Goods and Chattels forfitt to the Crown and their Bodys to be Imprisoned.’ And then ‘the gates of the Forte was shut and they all confined.’” Helpless, they were forced to accept that they could not “‘dwell in a country against the will of the sovereign.’” 55

They had responded to Monckton’s summons in good faith…. They had brought no food, no blankets, no change of clothing, and Monckton had made no provision for their care. They had been crowded into damp quarters, forced to sleep on boards, were being eaten alive by vermin, and threatened with disease…. Terrified, their women and children had fled to the woods, and would perish for the want of a little milk…. Monckton made a general announcement that the men would be locked up until the transports arrived, at which time their families were to report for deportation. If they failed to appear, they would be hunted down, and the men sent off without them. 56

Five days later Winslow left for Grand Pré with three armed vessels and met Lawrence in Pisiquid where he would remain overnight. They quickly decided the Fort Cumberland treachery was so quick and vilely efficient they would do it again at Grand Pré. Winslow sailed into the Gaspereau on the 19th of August and announced, “I was sent here by the King’s order to take command of this place,” the Acadians there having no idea of the event in Fort Cumberland nor, of course, any way of knowing of the governor’s and the commander’s perfidious intentions. And they would not know until their harvest was in. 57

Everything hinged on the harvest, which was first requisitioned to feed Winslow’s troops, the remains to provision the ships carrying the evicted Acadians away. The English were not only removing the French from their home and land, they were using their crops to provide sustenance for themselves, and whatever was left for the Acadians’ voyage to they knew not where, supposing they survived. 58

Three hundred garrison soldiers from New England came ashore and occupied the town. 59 The church was turned into a barracks for the troops and the priest’s house would be taken over by the commander, Winslow. Acadians were disarmed, their leaders imprisoned, priests were arrested and removed, and an order was posted. “‘[T]he Deputies and Principal Inhabitants’ to meet the commander the following day.” The leaders were allowed to remove the sacred things and cover the altar still unaware of their imminent fate. Neither did anyone else know other then Winslow until he swore three of his captains to secrecy on Friday, August 29th, 1755 and told them he planned to spring the trap the following Friday. 60

Three sloops and a schooner sitting high in the water arrived at Minas, the masters instructed to explain if asked, were to attend Winslow. After scouting the hamlets and preparing his declaration, he ordered his troops to camp to clean their weapons. He also ordered a Flemish surgeon, Alexandre de Rodohan, to translate and read the summons, “publicly throughout the countryside.” 61 “Its language was frustratingly vague. … It ordered all the men of the community, including boys ten years and older, ‘to attend at the church at Grand Pré on Friday the 5th instant at Three of the Clock in the afternoon, that we may impart to them what we are ordered to communicate.’” 62

On September 5th Winslow ordered the men from Pisiquid, now Windsor, to go to Fort Edward where they were advised that their possessions: land, houses, livestock were going to be seized and they and their families would be sent away. 63

Four hundred and eighteen men and boys, four generations from more than seventy extended families, filled the pews. Winslow and the surgeon entered the church, “the doors were barred and troops surrounded the building.” 64 de Rodohan translated and read the English Deportation Order in French. “The King’s Commission which I have in my hand and by whose orders you are convened together to Manifest to you his Majesty’s final resolution to the French inhabitants of this his Province of Nova Scotia.” 65

The same ruse was freely exploited everywhere from Annapolis to Chignecto until November when, “… a flotilla of twenty-two repurposed merchant ships had arrived.” 66 Winslow ordered “two persons per marine ton” or four by four by six feet long, 67 and as winter settled over Nova Scotia, 7,000 Acadians were crammed inside 68 In one vessel the hold was so full that to prevent suffocation, six were allowed out to the deck at a time lest they burst out of the breathless space themselves. 69 Between October and December 2,200 more were taken from Horton’s Landing, Wolfville, Canard and Grand Pré and forced on to boats with nothing but the clothes on their back after which all their buildings were burned to the ground by the 2,000 New England soldiers stationed in the province. 70

Once the inhabitants had been driven from their homes, Minas belonged to the vultures. Their abandoned property became the object of pillage and destruction. Off-duty soldiers and sailors as well as English and German colonists from Halifax, Lunenburg, and other Protestant settlements on the Atlantic coast raided homes, looted storehouses, killed chickens, butchered hogs, and dug through gardens for buried valuables. For several days chaos reigned. 71

Two vessels from Chignecto with 582 Acadians in the hold were never seen again and presumed to have capsized. 72

A first-hand account of the post-removal destruction by an Acadian woman who escaped in the confusion and went back to her village:

Her memory of the horror she saw chronicled the destruction of a way of life. Homes plundered; household furniture and pottery smashed and strewn about the cart paths; cattle grazing in the wheat fields; pigs rooting in the gardens; oxen, still yoked to the carts that the Acadians drove to the landing, bellowing in hunger; droves of horses running madly through the wreckage. Standing before her abandoned house, she felt delirious from exhaustion and distress. The family cow came up to her, begging to be milked. She sat on her doorstep, milked it and drank, and felt refreshed. And as she sat there a Míkmaw man approached her. He pointed toward the basin. ‘See the smoke rise; they will burn all here tonight.’ He helped her gather a few things that emained. Come with me, he said. The Acadians are ‘gone, all gone.’ 73


In round figures 6,000 Acadians were removed in 1755, 74 10,000 by 1763, 75 and an unknown number perished at sea. There had been about 1,800 on George’s Island that summer, 76 and many were still imprisoned there in Halifax Harbour where Lawrence’s revenge for their refusal to sign the ubiquitous oath of allegiance to the English crown was reduced rations for his half-starved and cold charges living outside in an acre of meadow while French prisoners of war, (PoWs), taken from captured ships, were housed in comfort and provided with full rations on the other end of the island. 77

Fifty families were also being held in Fort Edward in 1762, seven years after a thousand people had been removed from Windsor. 78 Although they were meant to go to the American colonies, most were rejected, and not allowed to disembark because Lawrence had not informed the governors of his plan and they were suspicious of strangers and disease. And neither did Lawrence inform the Board of Trade until some months after the first leg of the expulsion was complete. 79

Much attention has been focused on the responsibility of the authorities in London for le grand dérangement. Lawrence did not receive a reply to his request for authorization for the expulsion until January 1755. The colonial office refused to either approve or disapprove, but instructed him to act on his own. I think the conclusion is obvious: by shifting responsibility to local authorities, officials in London were distancing themselves from what was about to take place, providing themselves with ‘plausible deniability.’ Better to let Lawrence take the risk – something it turned out he was more than willing to do. Only after the dirty job had been done – after thousands of Acadians had been removed from their communities and shipped off in transport vessels, after thousands more had fled into the woods where they suffered from exposure, starvation, and disease, and after Acadian property had been looted and Acadian communities torched – only then did British officials offer an endorsement. The operation, the colonial minister wrote to the king in the aftermath, had been ‘crowned with a success greatly beyond our expectations and almost equal to our wishes.’ The expulsion of the Acadians had made available, he wrote, ‘vast quantities of the most fertile land in an actual state of cultivation, and in those parts of the Province the most advantageously situated for commerce. 80

His comments make it clear that ultimate responsibility lay with the British state. 81

Over a thousand Acadians were sent to Virginia where they were refused, rerouted to England and held as prisoners of war but not treated as such; the English never declared war in Nova Scotia against them and they felt no responsibility to apply the rules for PoWs. 82 They were housed in an abandoned warehouse in Bristol, an abandoned workshop in Liverpool, and an old barracks in Southampton, each family afforded a few pence a week for food and shelter. And, “Almost as soon as they arrived, they were struck with epidemics of smallpox.” 83

Hundreds were herded onto ships and left to float out to sea into the winter without supplies, many more were waiting in harbours, and unrecorded hundreds died of starvation, disease and cold. 84

But, much worse, the English wrenched their children away from their parents and into the service of imported settlers. Acadians searched, in some cases, for the rest of their lives for their children, the idea of separation so foreign and devastating. 85 And, under the banner of acculturation, Indigenous children were removed from their homes by the local constabulary, taken to Residential Schools and white foster care so as to assimilate. English-style education would make Native peoples acceptable, but only just, in English white society. 86

In the summer of 1755, a Halifax based correspondent for the New York Gazette wrote what was thought to be the first public notice of the expulsion of the Acadians.

We are now upon a great and noble scheme of sending the neutral French out of this province, who have always been secretly our enemies... and have encouraged our Indians to cut our throat. If we effect their expulsion, it will be one of the greatest things that ever did the English in America, for by all accounts, that part of the country they possess is as good a land as any in the world... we could get some good English farmers in their room. 87


Those who can make you believe absurdities

can make you commit atrocities.

Voltaire 88

The German Nazis murdered at least six million people of one ethnicity by extraordinary means during World War II and it’s acknowledged as the most heinous genocide in recent history. This holocaust exposes some of the savagery of white supremacy and it is where much of the written work on human rights and genocide is now focused. But, these concepts and the terms had not been part of the English vernacular until the end of World War II and the beginning of a new era with the United Nations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proposed in its first session in 1947, 89 (and drafted notably by Canadian lawyer and diplomat John Humphrey, Eleanor Roosevelt and others from India, France, China and Lebanon). The following year, the UN defined the practice of genocide, gave it veracity, and criminalized it.

Both the deprivation of human rights and genocide were clearly a function of colonization but the UN did not get around to granting independence—and by inference, belatedly banning the industry—to colonized countries until 1960, 90 because England, (and France, which was still colonizing a few countries), had the power of veto. With the offer of freedom from imperialism, colonized countries could now opt out, and most of the remainder did. Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada, Israel, Iraq and several others had long before formed their own constitutions. 91 Those left are nearly all small islands which depend on the support of their ruler. Ironically, it was in many of these islands that the barbarous English history of slavery was narrated. It was astonishing that even though the English government and crown were given credit for all classes of genocide to millions of people of all other races and creeds, English criminals of human rights abuses and genocide walked away with impunity attesting, as social psychologist, James Waller, says, “to the unsettling reality that genocide overwhelms justice.” 92


The strategy of the industry of human exploitation is part of the rape culture. Parasitic predators, accruing capital and power from each conquest, is probably the height of raw ambition and hubris where nothing counts but the target, human lives and personal property but casualties, or any of the many other euphemisms professional propagandists create with every new skirmish. It is also hegemonial genocide. 93

For genocide to happen, there must be certain preconditions. Foremost among them is a national culture that does not place a high value on human life. A totalitarian society, with its assumed superior ideology, is also a precondition for genocidal acts. In addition, members of the dominant society must perceive their potential victims as less than fully human: as ‘pagans,’ ‘savages,’ ‘uncouth barbarians,’ ‘unbelievers,’ ‘effete degenerates,’ ‘ritual outlaws,’ ‘racial inferiors,’ ‘class antagonists,’ ‘counterrevolutionaries,’ and so on. In themselves, these conditions are not enough for the perpetrators to commit genocide. To do that—that is, to commit genocide—the perpetrators need a strong, centralized authority and bureaucratic organization as well as pathological individuals and criminals. Also required is a campaign of vilification and dehumanization of the victims by the perpetrators, who are usually new states or new regimes attempting to impose conformity to a new ideology and its model of society. 94

Thomas Hobbes famously determined that we are all utterly self-absorbed and evil, else why would we need a constabulary. But, Waller impresses on his readers that the masses of mainly men who were pressed into service to manage colonies were, in their natural state, unobtrusive and quite ordinary. He studied “rank-and-file killers” whom he found, “are so ordinary that, with few exceptions, they were readily absorbed into civil society after the killings and peacefully lived out unremarkable lives,” and worth repeating, “attesting to the unsettling reality that genocide overwhelms justice.” 95 And, he says that there is no such thing as a perpetratorless genocide. Our fears do not allow us to understand human evil as we may try to justify it if we do, and become contaminated, making every aware person a perpetrator. 96 Ervin Staub concurs that being ordinary is all that is necessary to be an actor in genocide, and that includes the propaganda creator who reinforces his own belief in the course of persuading others. 97

Waller says we must not let ourselves believe that all evil-doers are sadists and psychopaths, but accept that very ordinary people can be convinced to follow orders, no matter what they are, and commit the worst of horrors. But, they are an artificial construct. He indicates that we have to be taught and he uses a “four-pronged model” to demonstrate our response to authority and its target: our ethnocentricity is the only right one; xenophobia or fear of all strangers; the desire for social dominance; and the us-them perceptual framework, the dehumanization of the victim. 98 And there is the psychology of the “collective” which, Waller says, can bring about either violence or heroism. 99 The key to the success of mass killings is propaganda with facile evidence that people easily accept.

Accounts of brutality by one race to another are common throughout history but during colonization it was a scheduled day’s work all over the globe, for centuries, and it was characterized by published images of strutting English generals. But, the first such instance of genocidal massacres in the North American colonies was in the Pequot War (1636-7) when Puritan settlers reacted to an Indian raid by launching an extermination campaign. This “‘created a precedent for later genocidal wars.’” 100

With practice and experiment, colonial managers became insanely obscene. In 1864, a Colorado Methodist minister, Colonel John Chivington, ordered his volunteer soldiers to murder all Cheyennes, including children. “‘Kill and scalp all … little and big … Nits make lice.’” The massacre prompted an inquiry and the following testimony.

I did not see a body of a man, woman or child but was scalped, and in many instances their bodies were mutilated in a most horrible manner —men, women and children’s privates cut out, & c; I heard one man say the he had cut out a woman’s private parts and had them for exhibition on a stick … I also heard of numerous instances in which men had cut out the private part of females and stretched them over their saddle-bows and wore them over their hats …. 101

Viet Nam War veteran, Gregory Gomez, told author Sebastian Junger about his Apache grandfather who was murdered by an army ranger in order to seize the elder Gomez’ land. “[T]hey strung him from a tree limb, cut his genitals off, and stuffed them in his mouth.” 102

As its colonialism expanded, English hubris swelled with it until by the mid-twentieth century they committed such monstrous atrocities as can barely be described in one language.

•Indian Partition by England in 1947: 12.5 million were in forced migrations, women were tortured and murdered. They raped and gang-raped a reported 83,000 women and girls and cut off many of their breasts. 103

•The Boer Wars at the turn of the 20 th Century: 22,000 children starved to death in English concentration camps. 104

•English Torture Centre in Yemen in the 1960s: stripped in refrigerated cells, burned with cigarettes, genitals crushed, forced to sit on a metal pole and pushing it into their anus. 105

•The Cyprus Internment 1955 – 1959: suspected terrorists were regularly beaten, waterboarded and executed. Hot peppers were rubbed into children’s eyes, and they were flogged with whips and iron. 106

•The Kenyan Camps 1950s: the English put 1.5 million Kenyans in concentration camps where men were raped with knives, women’s breasts were mutilated, they gouged out eyes, cut off ears, used barbed wire to cut skin. They sodomized and castrated men with pliers, stuffed mud in their throat until they suffocated and they worked them death. “Survivors were sometimes burned alive.” 107

Hundreds of thousands are thought to have been murdered but proper records were not deemed necessary.

•The Bengal Famine 1943: From one to three million died in a preventable famine when, harkening back to Ireland centuries earlier, the English diverted resources for themselves. Churchill was confronted with graphic evidence of starving Indians and said, “Then why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?” 108

•The Mau Mau Revolt 1950s: 320,000 were driven into concentration camps. One million more were also enclosed. They burned eardrums with cigarettes, waxed and burned them, bored holes in eardrums, cut off testicles and fingers with an instrument for animal castration. Settlers were instrumental in this terrorism and one boasted, “By the time I cut his balls off he had no ears, and his eyeball, the right one, I think, was hanging out of its socket.” The soldiers were told to shoot to their heart’s content as long as their targets were black. One thousand and ninety were hanged. 109

James Waller makes a profound statement, answering a question that has been posited by ethicists forever when debating the rightful place for blame: the source of the order, or the executioner; the officer or the soldier. “In willfully failing to exercise their moral judgment, they retain full moral and legal accountability for the atrocities they committed. To understand all is not to forgive all.” 110

A partial death toll directly related to English colonization:

East Indians: Estimates range from 7 – 85 million but no firm records were kept or thought to be necessary.
- http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/201158
- https://fbreporter.org/2015/07/07/genocide-the-british-dont-want-you-to-know-about-they-systematically-starved-to-death-over-60-millions-of-eastern-indians/ *
(Thirty-five million is very conservative as 19,000,000 are estimated to have died in just two of the famines).

- http://www.oricpub.com/HSSR0060079.pdf

And there’s Churchill’s performance when 4.3 million died in 1943 famine.


Canadian First Nations: Children in Residential Schools:
-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocides_in_history (Canada)

(No exact figures, no records kept of any Aboriginal deaths in Canada)


• Acadians:

-Faragher, John Mack, A Great and Noble Scheme. New York, NY, W.E. Norton & Company Ltd., 2005.  471

(Lost at sea not accounted for).


• Irish: England’s genocide by artificial famine 1845 -49.


Cromwell and the Irish between 1641 - 1653

(Cromwell also enslaved 300,000 Irish adults, plus 100,000 children aged 10-14).


Mau Mau:

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_Mau_Uprising#Mau_Mau_war_crimes

Numbers not properly recorded, est 130,000 to 300,000 Kikuyu unaccounted for


• Africans: (English slaves enroute only. Britain transported 3.1 million Africans of whom 2.7 million arrived)



In all cases victims were thrown off their land, and the scorched earth policy was applied. In Ireland, Scotland, Acadia, India, Australia, New Zealand and Africa they were ordered to leave their crops in the ground. The English seized the produce, stock and land for reassigned tenants, or for profit, or personal use, and millions of legitimate landowners and leaseholders were subsequently starved to death. No attempt was made to record the deaths and torture of Canadian and Australian Aboriginals, or African slaves in the Americas.


Although several authors have written in depth on genocide, they have all skirted the horrors committed by the English when occupying the Canadian maritime province in the 17th and 18 th Centuries. As well, the extensive propaganda the British government developed to cover these atrocities is truly under reported. To our shame, Canadian governments of all stripes have accepted the obfuscation, the sanctimony and heroics, and are perhaps just as guilty by omission as the crown when it ordered outright unthinkable terroristic strategies to invade, occupy and raid Acadian and Mi’kmaq homeland in Nova Scotia.

*Janet Hudgins is the author of Treason: The Violation of Trust (Victoria, BC: First Choice Books, 2008). She can be contacted at: jhudgina@sfu.ca.

2 John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd., 2005), 474

3 Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG)


4 Ruth Buczynski, The Impact of Trauma on Future Generations


5 Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG)


6 John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd., 2005), 474

7 Benjamin Ferencz, New Legal Foundations for Global Survival: Security Through the Security Council.

(Dobbs Ferry, NY, Oceans Publications Inc., 1994). 28

8 Faragher, 478

10 Sanchez Manning, 24 Feb 2013. Britain's colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition


12 Ratification of C-105 – Abolition of Forced Labour Convention. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:11300:0::NO::P11300_INSTRUMENT_ID:312250

13 Adam Jones, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, 2nd Ed. (New York, NY, Routledge, 2011). 106

14 How many countries were ruled by the British Empire? https://www.quora.com/How-many-countries-were-ruled-by-the-British-Empire

15 Jones 29

17 Monbiot, George. Deny the British empire's crimes? No, we ignore them https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/23/british-empire-crimes-ignore-atrocities

18 In Jones. Richard Hovannisian 517

19 Sandra Alvarez, Killing or Clemency? Ransom, Chivalry and Changing Attitudes to Defeated Opponents in Britain and Northern France, 7-12th centuries, 15 July 2014


20 R. R. Davies, The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles, 1093– 1343 (New York, Oxford University Press, 2000) 115

21 Dr. Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Causes of Poverty: The Impact of Society, Colonies and Discrimination, September 25, 2015


22 Davies 123

23 John Hawkins (naval commander) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hawkins_(naval_commander)

25 Native Languages of the Americas. http://www.native-languages.org/wabanaki.htm

26 Faragher 129, 130

27 Proclamation, 1763. University OF British Colombia, Indigenous Foundation.Arts.ubc. http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/royal_proclamation_1763/

28 Faragher 46 - 48

29 Faragher in Thoughts on the Expulsion of the Acadians. https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/Acadiensis/article/view/5726/11196

30 Faragher 136

31 Ibid 137

32 Faragher 281

33 In Faragher. Queen Anne’s Instructions for Francis Nicholson [Vetch’s 2 IC], 18 March 1710. 120

34 Faragher 118, 9

35 In Geoffrey Plank, An Unsettled Conquest, (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001). Boston Evening Post, November 11, 1744. 110

36 In Plank. Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts 21: 99, 106-7; (Boston Evening Post, November 5, 1744) 110

37 In Plank. Beaumont, Les Derniers jours, 248-53, 251. 110 - 111

38 The Value of French Currency in the 17th & 18th Centuries.


39 Dianne Marshall. Heroes of the Acadian Resistance. The Story of Joseph Beausoleil Broussard and Pierre II Surette 1702 – 1765. (Halifax, Formac Publishing Company Limited, 2011). 16

40 Marshall 81

41 Ibid 44

42 Jennings 333

43 Faragher 281

44 CBC News. Halifax to consider scrubbing city of Edward Cornwallis. May 05, 2016.


45 Plank 120

46 Faragher 281

47 Ibid 283

48 Ibid 464

49 Nova Scotia Archives. Records of the Deportation and Le Grand Dérangement, 1714-1768 https://novascotia.ca/archives/deportation/archives.asp?Number=NSHSII&Page=150&Language=English. 150

50 Sally Ross, J. Alphonse Deveau, The Acadians of Nova Scotia: Past and Present, (Halifax, Nimbus Publishing, 1992) 61

51 Ibid 60

52 Ibid 61

53 Ibid 319

54 Ibid 338

55 Ibid 338-9

56 Ibid 339

57 Ibid 340

58 Faragher 336

59 Ibid 340

60 Ibid 342

61 Ibid 343

62 Ross 61

63 Faragher 343

64 Ross 62

65 Ibid 45

66 Faragher 361

67 Christopher Hodson, The Acadian Diaspora, (New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2012). 45

68 Faragher 372

68]Ross 63

68]Faragher 360

68] Faragher 360

69 Ibid 370

70 In Faragher. Thomas Miller 364

71 Ross 63

73 Hodson 181

74 Marshall 151, 184, 185

78 Ross 64

79 Faragher 365

80 Ibid 410

81 Faragher in Thoughts on the Expulsion of the Acadians

82 Ross 64

83 Faragher 383

84 Marshall 151

85 "Warren A. Perrin, et al. versus Great Britain, et al." http://1755.ca/perrin/perrin.htm Appendix 35.

86 Mark Aquash, UBC, First Nations in Canada: Decolonization and Self-Determination. http://ineducation.ca/ineducation/article/view/142/617 Aquash, Vol. 19, No 2 (2013)

87 Le Canada. A People’s History. Une Histoire Populaire. Deportation. http://www.cbc.ca/history/EPCONTENTSE1EP3CH4PA3LE.html

88 What did Voltaire mean when he said, "those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities"?


89 UNHR. History of the Document http://www.un.org/en/sections/universal-declaration/history-document/

90 The United Nations and Decolonization. http://www.un.org/en/decolonization/declaration.shtml

91 List of countries that have gained independence from the United Kingdom. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_that_have_gained_independence_from_the_United_Kingdom

92 James Waller, Becoming Evil: How ordinary people commit genocide and mass killing. (New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2002). 14

93 Different Types of Genocide and Politicides. https://clg.portalxm.com/library/keytext.cfm?keytext_id=193

94 The Story of Genocide in Afghanistan. (University of California Press, UC Press E-Books collection, 1982-2004). http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft7b69p12h&chunk.id=d0e5195&toc.depth=1&toc.id=d0e5195&brand=eschol

95 Waller 14

96 Ibid 16

97 Ervin Staub, The Roots of Evil. The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence, (New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2007). 82

98 Waller 18-20

99 Ibid 35-6

100 Waller 114

101 The Sand Creek Massacre


102 Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging  https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/05/ptsd-war-home-sebastian-junge

103 Palash Ghosh, Partition Of India And Pakistan: The Rape Of Women On An Epic, Historic Scale.   http://www.ibtimes.com/partition-india-pakistan-rape-women-epic-historic-scale-1387601

106 M. Morris, 10 Evil Crimes of the British Empire, 4 Feb 2014. http://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-evil-crimes-of-the-british-empire/

107 Morris cont’d

108 Rakhi, Chakraborty, The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit. 15 Aug 14. https://yourstory.com/2014/08/bengal-famine-genocide/

109 George, Monbiot, How Britain Denies its Holocausts, 27 Dec 2005. http://www.monbiot.com/2005/12/27/how-britain-denies-its-holocausts/

110 Waller 16


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