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Thoughts of Innu children

Author: 
Letter to the Editor
Volume: 
18
Issue: 
9
Year: 
2001

Page 5

Dear Editor:

The tears that woke me this morning were my own.

And the images that flashed behind my eyes, travelling between my heart and mind, urged me to awaken from my restlessness and stumble to the keyboard.

The images are of Innu children, some as young as six (six years old, for Pete?s sake!) who are dying. Dying just as surely as I am sitting here on this surly November morning with so many questions in a cloud above my head.

In the larger scheme of things, the federal election, for example, what do 40 Innu children in an isolated part of Canada really matter? ?They don?t vote,? is the cynical response. ?Let their parents look after them,? is the righteous response.

?Not my problem.?

?It?s an Aboriginal issue.?

?How tragic... oh well, what can you do, eh?? are just some of the ways we all have of distancing ourselves from the pain and powerlessness of this situation.

And maybe it?s true that some of us really don?t give a damn.

A while back, the United Nations ranked our standard of living as the highest in the world. I now ask myself if Canada?s an especially wonderful country only if you?re white, male and living in an urban centre where educational and employment opportunities abound. Maybe it?s not the same for women or minorities or the close to one million Aboriginal citizens of this country, especially those living in isolated and impoverished circumstances.

It?s no secret that a combination of poverty and isolation can lead to a perpetual cycle of ever-diminishing self-respect. And a lack of self-respect carries with it the possibilities of family breakdown, criminal activity, addictions, and other unhealthy behavior. Add to this lethal stew the history of mainstream Canada?s relationship with its First Nations and is any thinking person truly surprised by the events in Labrador?

The point is: Are we willing to see a part of ourselves in this situation or are we content simply to watch and wait?

An African expression, now so overused it?s become a cliche, says: ?It takes an entire village to raise a child.? I see myself as part of this community and I?m willing to support any healthy and respectful approaches to creating positive changes for Innu children and their families.

Anybody care to join me?

Donna Marion

Winnipeg

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