April 8th marks Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day set aside to commemorate, to mourn, and to reflect upon the six million Jewish people who were killed during the Second World War. This is a fine and noble aim; to remember those who perished and to meditate upon the atrocities that humanity is able to commit against itself is important. Lest we forget.
However, there are other atrocities that were played out closer to home that should also be commemorated and mourned, yet sadly are not. Home-grown genocides–in the United States, Australia, Mexico, Canada and elsewhere–in which countless millions were killed or forcibly disinherited of their lands and histories are a fundamental aspect of the historical narratives of these nations. These genocides, in which entire cultures, languages, and peoples were forever erased are hidden away behind a screen of more recent events and essentially forgotten.
To forget about the multitudes who died, were subjugated, or disinherited of their cultures is to silence an already voiceless people; an act that makes current and future generations as complicit in the genocides as those who committed the original atrocities. It is the final act of erasure.
So why is there no day of remembrance for these countless millions?