Take a look at some modern reserves

Letters to the Editor

I’ll enjoyed your column explaining the differences between feature, opinion, and sports articles in the newspaper as it really puts writing in this medium into perspective.

I’ll probably be less easily offended or aroused by the opinions of others and, hopefully, less susceptible to stereotypical expressions of thought; for example , the stereotype of a Canadian First Nations reserves, the same one that it appears theanti-reserve residents of the York Road area have engrained in their minds.

We’ve probably seen a reserve with derelict pick up trucks, cars, ski -doos, ATV’s, and  bicycles in abundance amongst ill kept run down houses. Take a drive sometime into the “white man’s” territory west of our Island Hwy and you’ll find “dogpatch galore” complete with the same yards full of junk , the same neglect of houses and ramshackle out buildings.

Our First Nations do not hold a monopoly  on creating messes, they learned excess, graft, disrespect for other humans, and greed from our early European ancestors running rampant in and destroying “paradise.”

I’ve lived in smaller Northern B.C .communities where apartheid was a reality with Residential “schools” ( de- culturalization camps) and one town mayor who took it upon her alcoholic self to ensure that “community” events – like the dance at the community hall – were not advertised until most tickets were sold to white people, thereby leaving most First Nations people out. I hope we Canadians have outgrown this reprehensible behaviour but the York Road crew leaves me doubting that there has been great progress.

It is my opinion that the York Road folks should visit some “new generation” reserves, maybe even travel as far as the one at the Nunns Creek estuary, to see the modern housing, shopping mall, and marine repair centre that are all on reserve land.

Then branch out to the reserve at the Quinsam Crossing and see growth there with no ramshackle “Dogpatch” qualities whatsoever.

Those with real fortitude and who can afford it should travel to Osoyoos, B.C. to see how a 21st century First Nations Reserve and it’s people are able to prosper enviably ahead of our average whiteman when it comes to meaningful, productive co-operative living. After some research, the York Road folks might awaken to the possible mutual benefits of working with potential new neighbours rather than  “fence building” right off the bat. There is no quicker way to make an enemy of a new neighbour than to build a fence that is not mutually desired .

Ed Ivanisko


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