Monday, 7 February 2011

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Big Time Exploitation

Ottawa, Ontario

Enroute to Ottawa along highway 7, a brand of the Trans Canada Highway, I was fortunate to step out of a car and walk a humble 3 kilometers. My companion, Gaurachandra, feeling the effects of driver's drowsiness, needed the break while I needed the stretch. I walked the town of Marmora and beyond. Dog sled competition were taking place as the townsfolk converged for a Winter Fest.

Dog sledding was learned from the natives. While trekking I thought of the Ojibway living in this very area that I walked my short distance. As a sequel to our drama of last summer "Lonely people" I am preparing a new script "Greedy People." There is countless evidence that Europeans came here, learned from the First Nations people how to survive, but exploited them. The research for the topic greed led me to a "Touch the Earth" by T.C. McLuhan about indigenous people, mostly chiefs, declaring how they are forced to change their ways. It's an eye-opening read. Here's an excerpt from Chief Luther Standing Bear:

"Our first resentment was in having our hair cut... Short hair being the mark of gentility with the white man, he put upon us the mark, though he still retained his own customs of keeping the hair-covering on his face. Our second resentment was against trousers, based upon what we considered the best of hygienic reasons. Our bodies were used to constant bathing in the sun, air, and rain, and the function of the pores of our skin, which were in reality a highly developed breathing apparatus, was at once stopped by trousers of heavy, sweat-absorbing material aided by that worst of all treatments- red flannel underwear... Many times we have been laughed at for our native way of dressing, but could anything we ever wore compare in utter foolishness to the steal-ribbed corset and the huge bustle which our girls adopted after a few years in school?

"The Indian, essentially an outdoor person, had no use for the handkerchief; he was practically immune to colds and like the animal, not additced to spitting. The white man, essentially an indoor person, was subjected to colds, catarrh, bronchitis, and kindred diseases. He was a cougher and a spitter, and his constant use of tobacco aggravated the habit. With him the handkerchief was a toilet necessity."

In another excerpt by Chief Red Jacked of the Senecas who made an address to a council which included a young missionary named Cram. Here we get to a point about greed.

"Brothers, our seats were once large, and yours were small. You have now become great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets. You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us."

Red Jacket moved to shake hands with the missionary; Cram refused saying, 'There was no fellowship between the religion of God and the Devil.' The Indians smiled and retired peacefully.


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