Sunday, May 30, 2010

Priests Lovers?...So, what's new?

“Priests’ lovers endorse letter to Pope calling for end to celibacy rule.”

So read the headline in the GLOBE AND MAIL article published Friday, May 28th, 2010 by a John Hooper.

Great to read that others, in this case, “dozens of Italian women who have had relationships with Roman Catholic priests or lay monks have endorsed an open letter to the Pope that calls for abolition of the celibacy rule.”

As one who has experienced 13 years of a Catholic-run Canadian residential school system, I second that motion.  After all, that church is full of hypocrites.  Still, the church chooses to hide behind and support a rule that is impossible to humanly uphold.  The current Pope Benedict dismissed that notion when he spoke up for “the principle of holy celibacy.”

Given the hundreds of abuse cases by Priests and others against innocent children around the world, the church would do well to abolish the rule and as “ Cardinal Christoph Shondborn, the archbishop of Vienna, said the abolition of the celibacy rule might curb sex abuse by priests…”

It baffles me where the rule of celibacy originated but one would think that any institution including the church could learn from its mistakes. Kudos to the authors of that letter to the Pope to stand up and say the idea of celibacy “ …is not holy but a man-made rule.” I second that also.

The article goes on to imply a number of priests were involved in meaningful but secret relationships and when discovered, they were simply moved and relocated.

Priests and others within the Catholic Church will never be celibate. History has shown that. It’s too bad. With that rule of celibacy, there will be more innocent victims including children who will continue to pay the price.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tell me the Truth

“Hearings find many cases of child-on-child abuse at residential schools”

So read the headline on the May 25, 2010 edition of the GLOBE AND MAIL written by a Bill Curry.

I think it would be a correct assumption to note that the majority of Canadians know very little of the federal government’s legislation of the former residential school system. A system that was established in the 1860’s to address what the late Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald’s government regarded as an “Indian problem.”

To solve that problem, the then government took a double-barreled approach aimed at all Aboriginal people that lasted over 120 years. The double barrel was the church and education aimed at the children. It was thought that the abduction of all school-aged children from families was the way to “kill the Indian” and therefore solve the problem.

Did the approach solve the problem? History has shown that the double-barreled approach was a pathetic failure…the legacy is evident today in most Aboriginal communities. Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally apologized for the mistreatment on behalf of all Canadians in June, 2008. Apology accepted. Now what?

As one who experienced that system for thirteen years…yes, there was child-to-child abuse. I saw it first-hand. Older children did physically and sexually abuse the weaker young. As one of 15 thousand Survivors who are going through the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) to address the effects, I concur that, “What is rarely discussed is that many Aboriginal children were also assaulted by their classmates.” I was there. It was just a matter of time for the IAP to flesh out that ugly but true fact.

The article goes on to read, “…every case of abuse by Aboriginal students could be traced back to abuse by non-aboriginal school teachers.”  An assumption that is untrue…I was there.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is finally about to embark on its journey to record the stories of all involved in that former residential school system. You can bet that, in the end, the child-to-child abuse occurences will exceed the estimate of 20% of all applicants and it will not be attributed to what the “experts” regard as the cause….I know, I was there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"...even the unmentionables."

“A caribou herd in decline - a way of life in jeopardy. Natives’ fight for right to hunt mysteriously disappearing species threatens to undermine an entire government.”

So read the headline in the May 5, 2010 edition of the GLOBE AND MAIL, written by a Patrick White.

As an Inuvialuit (Inuit) of Tuktoyaktuk in Canada’s western arctic, I grew up on a diet heavy with “country foods” including the caribou. Back then, conservation was not an issue as my Father harvested as many as he could. One of my many cousins once said, “we have the best food in the world.” Like Bertha Mackenzie of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation said in that article and referring to a freezer full of dead caribou, “Oh sure we use the heads. We use everything. Even the unmentionables.” Meaning, of course, when the caribou are harvested, nothing is wasted. Now, according to the government, the caribou are “declining at a unknown rate and for unknown reasons.”

So, what is worth mentioning?

There are always two sides to a coin; perhaps on this issue they are conservation versus consumption. Perhaps it can be regulations versus treaty rights? In any case, both sides will come to a head on May 18, 2010. Based on the perceived low numbers of caribou, the Northwest Territories government had imposed a ban throughout the range of the Bathurst caribou around Great Slave Lake where the Yellowknives Dene First Nation occupy. Challenging that ban, apparently, Jonas Sangris, a former chief and hunter of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation will “appear at a Supreme Court hearing on May 18 where his lawyer will argue that he has a treaty right to hunt and fish and suggest the ban may be a government ploy to assert powers it is slowly losing to First Nations governments.” I, and others, will be following the ruling with great interest from the Supreme Court.

So, what else is worth mentioning?

It is well known that First Nations have Aboriginal and/or Treaty rights to hunt and fish and the Crown (government) has the duty to consult especially when and if those rights may be impacted by resource development or for some other reason. My gist on this is Jonas Sangris and all natives will win. Standby on May 18.

After all, if I was back home in Tuktoyaktuk and the caribou were nearby, I would be awfully tempted to fill my freezer with caribou and enjoy the meat…even the unmentionables.”