The former United Church of Canada minister, who first blew the whistle on Canada's infamous Indian residential schools, will speak at two locations in Toronto on March 26 and 28 as part of a world film/lecture tour and launch for his recently published book Unrepentant: Disrobing The Emperor.
Reverend Annett, defrocked by the United Church of Canada 15 years ago, has waged an international campaign for justice for indigenous people following what he terms "the Canadian genocide" by the three major church organizations with the complicity of the government. A similar history of atrocity occurred in the United States.
Unrepentant: Disrobing The Emperor is a David-and- Goliath story, with an introduction by Dr. Kurt Kaltreider, the noted author on indigenous culture. The book was recently released by John Hunt Publishing in the U.K. at a time when worldwide media attention has focused on child abuse, trafficking and cover-up by religious and government organizations.
In 1992 in a Vancouver Island community, Annett discovered a history of rape, sodomy and murder in a local "school" run by his employer, the United Church of Canada. Further research documented a century-old pattern of widespread abuses in 141 "schools" run by all three Canadian churches, with the unexplained death of more than 50,000 children.
Under federal government mandate, hundreds of thousands of native children were forcibly separated from their parents by the RCMP, delivered to the care of these "schools,"and subjected to inhumane treatment that in more subtle form continues in Canada today. The last school operated until 1996.
Refusing to remain silent, Annett was fired from his position as minister and then defrocked in a "trial" by the United Church, the only one of its kind in Canadian history. Alone against the church and state Annett, as a skid-row minister, broadcaster, author and film-maker, has worked tirelessly as an advocate of truth and justice for the powerless, lecturing widely in North America and Europe.
After years of indifference, denial and ostracism in his own country, Annett has gained surprising recognition internationally. He has written, directed and produced a documentary film,"Unrepentant," which won "Best Director" at New York's Independent Film Festival in 2006, followed by "Best Foreign Film" at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival in 2007 and, in 2009, "Best Feature Film" at the Canadian Native Film Festival in Edmonton.
He has lectured at universities from McGill to Berkeley and from the University of Chicago to Boston College, and to humanist, native and community groups in North America, he has met with far greater public and media recognition and acceptance during four European film and lecture tours covering 16 cities in eight countries. His film has been translated into Italian, French and German and recently screened for millions of European viewers, and on the BBC.
Last September he delivered a lecture to the Philosophical Society at the University College of Cork, the oldest and largest academic society in Europe. In the ensuing debate, he supported the affirmative, "that the Pope is not immune from arrest or fallibility," and was declared the winner by the 500 Society members attending. His opponent was a senior Irish barrister representing the Vatican.
Annett has been instrumental, although unacknowledged officially, in a tepid "apology," delivered by the Prime Minister to the victims and survivors in Parliament in June, 2008. He has also figured prominently in the formation of the International Tribunal Into the Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS), a growing seven-nation organization which will convene in London in September, 2011.
Last April he performed an exorcism rite in St. Peter's Square, which was followed 12 hours later by a tornado - almost unprecedented in that time and place - which devastated central Rome and the Vatican.
Rarely in history has a single man stood alone against such formidable adversaries. Unrepentant: Disrobing The Emperor is the story of one man's fight for truth, but in a broader sense, it points hopefully toward a better world for all nations and their indigenous people.
Reverend Annett's Toronto lectures are as follows:
Saturday, March 26, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, hosted by Socialist Action (O.I.S.E.) at 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2-212.
Monday, March 28 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM (with light refreshments from 5:00 - 5:30), hosted by Ryerson University's C.A.W. Sam Gindin Chair of Social Justice and Democracy: Winnie Ng,
Room G, 63 Gould Street (East of Yonge, North of Dundas).
At both events, voluntary pass-the-hat donations will be suggested to help defray Reverend Annett's traveling expenses.
A limited number of Kevin Annett's autographed book Unrepentant: Disrobing The Emperor will be available at both events. The book is available on Amazon, Chapters-Indigo and at any major bookstore.
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