May 11, 2021 - I’m walking around in the rain, but I don’t feel the drops of water on my cheeks. Maybe because my eyes have already spilled their overflow. It is because I have just learned of the sudden death of a great man for whom I have great admiration. Anthropologist, radio host, writer and everyday poet, Serge Bouchard is deceased. The one who told with his deep and soothing voice the story of the great forgotten ones in history. The one who cast a critical eye, but oh how lucid on our society, but always after having juggled with words, his thoughts with so much poetry and sensitivity. The one who knew and loved the natives - the Indians as he still liked to call them, but completing his sentence with the original names of each nation more accurately than any “Woke” activist - of this country and those of our neighbors, Canadians and Americans.
“It is much better to be a native without running water in Attawapiskat than to be an Indian without running water in Attawapiskat. (...) As if the blind man was less blind since he was non-seeing. (...) Now I can no longer use the Indian word. (...) 50 years of passionate research and reading. 50 years of fighting racism, of educating, of facing hostile audiences. 50 years of friendships, admiration and respect for indigenous cultures and peoples to come to a world where someone authoritatively invites you not to utter the Indian word in public. (...) A benevolent word in the mouth of a benevolent being, it cannot offend anyone, except the fanatics who do not differentiate between a text and a context. "
On my Facebook thread, memories, tributes and marks of respect for him are multiplying. The echo chamber of my social network resonates, for once, in unison with the accuracy of the words and the touching mark he left.
Mr. Bouchard, for me you will never be "a remarkable forgotten". You will simply be remarkable. But the world will miss the look that wore this "Woolly mammoth" on our society. Today I join his truck. My eyes are so sad ...
For those who might be interested, here is a link to a page where we happily find a collection of podcasts (in French) from the different shows and two audio books of his. At least we still have his writings and his beautiful voice left.
Adhering to the "code of responsible adventure", I do not geolocate with precision the places I explore, except in a few rare exceptions such as my trips to the Arctic or during a relevant historical reference.
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