Choices and Consequences

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My mind has been somewhat taken up with the news of the deaths of these poor baby girls in Saskatchewan, left to freeze and die in the cold snow, in -50 degree weather, this week. My heart breaks for them, for their loved ones, including the young father who left them (and again we don’t know all the details) because in spite of the mistakes he made, in taking them out without proper clothes, and leaving them, because he wasn’t aware of all he was doing, he is suffering for the choices he made. It looks as though something precipitated this, which caused a string of ill advised choices, fueled by alcohol and stress. I am not judging either, but just feeling pain for this family and these poor babies.The comfort is that I know Heavenly Father sent his angels to hold these innocents, to bring them home and maybe maybe to take away the suffering from the cold. Maybe the cold didn’t cause them too much physical anguish? I don’t know much of what freezing to death is like, and I don’t want to find out that they suffered excruciating pain, so young as they are. Children, especially the smallest ones need and are to be protected. So many children for many different reasons are not, and I know this hurts the Lord, I don’t question why He doesn’t always interfere, because He is wiser than I am.

What I feel, as a mother (and even just as a human being) is this urgency, to protect and save the suffering babies. Right now, this is the current one in my mind, these little girls who had little protection from the elements.

I am not thinking (as I know some are) that it is just more evidence of problems on the reserves. No, it is a human problem. The choices made by the father he will regret for the rest of his life. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and sorrow he is experiencing, and their mother as well, that because of a fight, she was not there to watch over and keep her girls safe. The tragedy just transcends all blame at that end.

I do think there is some responsibility for a government that does not regulate the sale of alcohol better. Yes, this father (and so many other alcoholics) made his own choice to purchase and consume alcohol, but evidence shows that First Nations people are genetically more prevalent to substance addiction. The government makes too much money, though to not control the purchase of alcohol or the accessibility of it, better. Do they think of the victims of alcoholism? The innocents, who because of this freedom to drink yourself into a stupor, suffer, and sometimes pay, as in this case, with their lives.

See, children have a right to be protected, to be cared for. They cannot care for themselves. If a puppy or a kitten had been left out there, that animal may have had a better chance of survival. But if an adult is at risk, then how much more are a 3 year old and a baby barely over the age of a year unable to look after themselves? Especially in the debilitating cold.

But the government does not want to lose the revenue they gain through the suffering of others. Our governments (provincial and federal) who are supposed to do their best for the citizens make poor decisions that affect the lives and well being of those who do not choose to even participate in that. These little girls were not a part of the decision their father made to drink, nor a part of the decision to sell the alcohol, to create easy access to it’s sale, to make it in the first place. Adults, people who are supposed to have the intelligence to make responsible choices designed to promote the well being and safety of those they have stewardship over, were the ones who made the decision that resulted in the suffering and death of two little girls.

All I know is that a loving Saviour held them in His arms, this I know, brought them home and ended their suffering and kept them safe and I am sure, wept tears because of His great love, not only for them, but for all involved.

41 thoughts on “Choices and Consequences

  1. My opinion is that this is a much more complicated issue than to just say the government makes too much money on alcohol. It’s just one tangent from many that you could start on when it comes to issues with natives. You’re right. The government does make too much money on alcohol….and on gambling. But there are many other issues here. The problems with natives and alcoholism and the issue with the jails being full of natives, the terrible state of the reserves (housing, government of the reserves, etc.) is all such a mess it’s just hard to know where to start to try to improve the situation.

    On the issue of gambling…..my children’s school is in line to have a casino. They will make tens of thousands of dollars from one night at the casino. Besides the fact that I’m uncomfortable with money from gambling, I wonder what in the world we will spend all that money on. And how is it fair that we should get it and another school without someone willing to go through the miles of paperwork to have a casino won’t get one. It’s all just so mixed up it is unbelievable.

  2. I know it isn’t a simple answer. It’s just one aspect that I feel strongly about, and when it comes down to it, these girls died needlessly and that’s what I see. The alcoholism played a strong role, the main role in their deaths and the tragedy stems from alcoholism. When I say the government has a main role, I do feel that. The choices that their dad made played a huge role, but it went back further and perhaps what I think (and yes with the gambling issue too) is that the money made through these destructive issues are more important to the government then the tragedies they leave behind.

    We have a Catholic homeschool board and I am quite positive they don’t use money from gambling, but yes, there is plenty to be made because of it. Which is sobering in and of itself.

  3. Mary, when you talk about the government not wanting prohibition, are you talking about the people that represent us, or the general population’s love for alcohol?

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand where you’re coming from and this situation is very tragic.

    However, I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame squarely on the government’s shoulders. I believe it’s the people of Canada (or the United States/or whichever alcohol positive country one talks about) that demand the freedom to drink.

  4. I am mainly talking about the government itself, not the people. Though it is probably a bit of a combination of both. I am not completely for total prohibition. That never solves anything. But I do believe that more control, less access, more education and more support would make a difference. And no, I am not laying the blame squarely on their shoulders, and I do agree that choice plays a role, a huge one. But I do think that when it comes to revenue from alcohol, cigarettes and gambling, the government in reality doesn’t want to curtail these activities too much. They make too much money to want people to actually shun these activities. If it was harder for this dad to get the alcohol he needed, if he wasn’t able to get as much alcohol as he wanted, would he have become that drunk and made those decisions that resulted in the death of his daughters? But the thing is, he will pay the price. Definately mentally and emotionally (which he is already doing) but maybe even with prison time and yet the government who regulates this will continue to sell how they want and allow whatever access they want. It’s just one aspect of the whole issue.

  5. Jeff

    Oh and that’s why I said some responsibility. I don’t think the father needs a reminder of what his responsibility is. It’s something he will always have to live with.

  6. Mary when the Prohibition was on, you could not buy alcohol in the “regular” places as before but that never stopped the bootlegging, the illegal sales, the moonshine stills etc. That would be like saying the government is responsible for all the deaths that occur from say heart attacks that a person died from because of over eating and lifestyle choices. From what I am reading, it would be their responsibility to monitor what restaurants and grocery stores sold to customers in case they sold them too many hamburgers or sugared junk food to diabetics who have died from insulin complications etc.

    I take your comments to mean that “someone else” needs to take responsibility for our choices. Yes the father does you say but the government needs to take the bigger role in this outcome. I disagree totally and you know I never do that lol. And to say because this man was Native and because of his living conditions it is somehow understandable what may have driven him to do what happened. I am sorry but…..Would you be saying the same thing had this man been of any other race? Would you be saying someone else, in this case, the government, should take the bigger blame?

    To me, your comments reminds me of those who make excuses for those that are in juvenile detention regularly or in prison frequently because they came from an abusive home or they came from a single parent or an alcoholic home. A lot of natives live in reservations and do not have a substance abuse and live perfectly good lives. There are also some that live in regular urban/rural environments and live perfectly normal. Just as there are Caucasians and members of every race that turn the wrong way. It is all about choices. No one holds a bottle to their mouths and force feeds them. To use their reservation status as an excuse or a reason to “oh I am deprived of a proper life so don’t blame me” is just wrong.

    For every ounce of alcohol consumed you lose 100,000 brain cells. Think how many he lost with the amount he drank that day.

  7. Mum

    No, that;s not what I am saying. I am focusing on one part of it, not the whole thing. As I said to Dawn, I know it is much more complex and as I said to Jeff, I don’t feel it is entirely the fault of the government. And I am not saying that it is because he was Native that this happened. A whole slew of choices created the end consequences. I am also not making excuses for him. I am not placing judgment, because not only is it not my place, but he is already suffering enough.

    The one (of many) aspects) that I commented on was that there should be more restictions or control. That isn’t prohibition, but creating responsibility.
    As one tribal chief from the east said last night on the radio, you can’t teach their (at least his, but with the genetic issues First Nations face when it comes to alcohol, I would sya most, if not all)people moderation because that isn’t how they drink.

    I thought my thoughts were pretty clear. I know exactly what I mean, and it isn’t any of what you or Jeff or Dawn say, it’s completely different. I am not making excuses, blaming the system, simplifying nor calling for total prohibition (really, I am not stupid). All I know is that 2 little girls suffered because of a string of deadly choices which started with easy access to alcohol.

  8. I too wish these children had been spared from this situation. Though, for me it’s a family issue. This family was in crisis, maybe it was due to alcholism, and on top of that there were surely many many more issues. The parents no longer focused on the needs of their children and a terrible tragedy occured because of it.

    The situation feels toxic. How could you take your children out in the cold so inappropriately dressed? “Drunk as a skunk” isn’t an adequate answer. Why drink so much? What are you escaping from? Why drink so much when you are the primary caregiver? The alchol makes him suddenly think clearly and take your kids to sitter?

    His being drunk feels like his easy answer to a bigger problem. Alchol is his medication to what?

  9. But putting more restrictions or control on alcohol will not stop this. There always is a way out of it. Look at how strict gun control is in the US. But that doesn’t even put a dent in the shootings there. When someone wants something bad enough Mary they will find a way around the system. The alcoholism isn’t the problem. The problem is what causes people to get to that stage of substance abuse in the first place.

    15 countries worldwide at one point pulled all tv and radio ads that pertained to alcohol. The study went on to say that although their crime/traffic accidents/murder/alcohol related abuse rates lowered these same 15 countries had the lowest of the world’s stats to begin with. When another study asked thousands of teenagers if they liked commercials that pertained to alcohol the response was overwhelming. The teens related alcohol to fun, party, being popular and went on to say that even if the ads were removed it would not stop them.

    A group of young elementary children were shown pictures showing different static ads of commercials on tv. Most ads were of children related ads such as shows age appropriate. But one of the ads was of the Budweiser frogs. All the children knew right away what they were and their names even without having the word Budweiser on the picture.

    Alcohol companies pay for these ads. Big big bucks. They are in it for the money. Why else would they be in their business. If everyone stopped drinking they figuratively and literally would dry up no pun intended. Yes the government could take action to try and stop these ads from coming out anywhere but the companies will find a way around it. The problem lays in WHY the people drink in the first place. This is the issue that needs to be addressed. If you don’t fix that issue and you take the alcohol away it will just be substituted with something else.

    All cigarette machines were taken out of public places years ago, it has not stopped young children from starting to smoke. Parents had gone to the media and their government leaders non stop to force them to take them out. They finally did but it didn’t stop their children. They passed a law saying you could not buy cigarettes unless you were 18 and with picture ID. Again this did not stop as youths just found someone old enough to go buy them. It is the same with alcohol. The issue here is WHY did they start in the first place. What was going through their minds that told them if they drank or smoked or overate or took drugs that it would “cure” their problem in the first place.

    In your last comment you stated “All I know is that 2 little girls suffered because of a string of deadly choices which started with easy access to alcohol.” do you really think that if alcohol had been harder to come by that the issues this man was going through would have disappeared?

    Friends of mine in Regina were First Nations. Both of the couple were. Both had grown up on the reserves. Both left to go to University, both married and lived together in the city away from the reserves where the rest of their families lived. They remained close to their families and went back all the time. These 2 friends were non drinkers. Determined to break through this cycle. Thinking that alcohol was the seed of all evil. A couple of years into their marriage, he hit her during an argument. He went through the “I’m sorry’s I’ll never do it again”. Believing him, she forgave him and they went on. Enter 3 children into the picture and all of a sudden that one hit years earlier became more prevalent and also turned to the children. I don’t know how many conversations I had with my friend telling her she had to leave but she kept saying it’s in his nature, he doesn’t know any better, at least he isn’t drinking. I was too young and too naive to comprehend this.

    She eventually left after their youngest child ended up in the hospital from one of his anger episodes. He was put in jail and went through rigorous counseling. It came out during these sessions that he had truly believed that he was “king” at home and his word was law. When it was objected to he felt it was his right to demand it in any form.

    My point in all of this was that there was no alcohol involved. It wasn’t even in the picture. But there were still issues that needed to be dealt with. He made choices that he paid for dearly. Find what the issue is and then you can fix the problem. Alcohol is a crutch to stand up for something whether it be to boost your low self esteem, to gain courage, to fit in whatever. But ultimately the responsibility falls on each of us when we make our choices in life. It is not the government’s responsibility. They can have the programs there to help those that realize there is a problem. You can have all the people in the world come to schools and teach youth what happens when you drink or drink and drive or carry a gun. But MOST people that drink do NOT believe there is a problem. They fully believe they are quite capable of handling themselves.

    I don’t know what the answer is Mary I truly don’t.

  10. Mum

    I don’t know the answer either, but I think the easy access to alcohol fueled and contributed to it. I don’t think it is the ONLY answer. But something has to change and I don’t think creating easy access to alcohol is benefiting either.

    With this situation, he wasn’t abusing his children. He was the primary caregiver. What happened was, after a stressful fight and worry over his one daughter being ill, his wife taking off (which she does regularly apparently) he drank at least a case of beer and possibly some whisky (I don’t know how much, but he had purchased 2 bottles) which his sister says makes him very drunk. Then he took his children out, without proper clothing, to go to his sister’s 400 metres away, and because of being so drunk, he wasn’t aware that he dropped his girls in the snow, where they were both inadequately covered (one wrapped in a thin blanket, the other in his coat) and where they were for hours. It wasn’t until after he was found and in the hospital and several hours later asked for his girls, that the rescuers even knew children were involved. If he hadn’t been drinking, this would not have happened. He wouldn’t have been so drunk that he made those choices, first to take them out without proper clothing (their clothes were t-shirts and a diaper. He had no job, yet was able to go to the liquor store and purchase the alcohol. He obviously had no phone or he would have phoned his sister instead of taking the children out.

    I am not saying all the issues would have disappeared if alcohol wasn’t available. What I am saying, is that if he hadn’t been able to get the alcohol, they would likely not be dead, because he would not have been drunk. When he was sober he was a loving, dedicated father who would protect and watch over his children. He wouldn’t have made those choices that resulted in their deaths.

    I am not talking prohibition, I just don’t think it should be as easy to get. That certainly isn’t solving anything.

  11. Sally, RE:#6

    “For every ounce of alcohol consumed you lose 100,000 brain cells.”

    You should really not throw around stats like these until you have verified them. ‘Alcohol kills brains’ is a myth – it may affect the development of new brain cells and have an impact on the performance of dendrites, but it’s not killing anything.

    In regard to the original post, I think that tragic story is more a tale of a pervasive lack of priorities on the part of the family.

    There was no phone in the house. There was no sober individual to drive somewhere rather than running through the elements.

    He had equal access to Sasktel as any other individual in the province and he chose to access the liquor store.

    I don’t blame the province, I don’t blame the vendor, I blame the man.

    I don’t think we should forget his extended family in all this either… I mean what type of people allow the young kids to be left in the home of someone who clearly does not know his own limits when it comes to consumption?

  12. And again I need to repeat myself. I wasn’t saying the father (or the mother) had no responsibility in this tragedy. I was commenting on one aspect that I think gets overlooked time and time again. The easy access to alcohol. And I don’t think he needs reminding that his choices resulted in the death of his daughters.

    “In regard to the original post, I think that tragic story is more a tale of a pervasive lack of priorities on the part of the family.”

    I do agree with this. When I posted, I wasn’t making a commentary on EVERY aspect of how and why this happened. It is extremely complex. But one thing occurred to me, that I felt a need to comment on, and that is how easy it is to get the alcohol. Yes, drinking is a choice he made and he made the choice, while drunk to take his daughters out in the bitter cold (although, as Kim points out, not here but on Facebook) this was motivated by concern for his sick daughter. Being drunk caused him to make bad choices that resulted in the deaths of his daughters. When I say the government has a role, I don’t mean they hold full responsibility. But they don’t put laws in place that make it hard to purchase alcohol. He’s of age. He was able to buy large amounts of alcohol and drink most of it in a short period of time. And now he is paying the price. I personally don’t have any room to judge him, I am certain he judges himself enough and if God can be compassionate enough to understand his pain, the least I can do is have some sympathy for a father who has lost his children.

  13. In my opinion there is never ever any excuse for not giving your children the care they deserve. If someone wants the government to be responsible for their children they should put them in foster care.

    I am sure that this news story may do make people think twice about drinking than any government regulation could.

  14. The government has inflated the price of alcohol by taxing it heavily to make it less accessible. It doesn’t stop people though. And Sally’s right. If it wasn’t alcohol it would be something else. The problem is addiction. I don’t agree that we should stop easy access to alcohol. I don’t like the government having more and more control in people’s personal lives. We feel strongly about alcohol being problematic. But what if others felt things were problematic that we feel we have a fundamental right to – like to teach religion to our children? I know it’s a big leap…but there’s a bottom line principal – less involvement by the government, not more, gets my vote.

  15. By the way, I wanted to add that I think this is a great post. It’s a topic that we as a society need to pay more attention to. It’s something that instead will most likely be forgotten until the next tragedy surfaces. We really need to work on this as I believe the problems are great and really need attention. There are no easy answers, that’s for sure.

  16. au contraire mon ami Rick.. I do not spew anything out let alone things I can not back up with regardless if it is a bet or in this case stats. On the other hand your comment about the dendrites came out of the first google entry when you type in “alcohol kills brain cells”. I grew up in an alcoholic abusive home. I spent 5 years after I left home in school studying alcoholism and it’s effects. I spent thousands of hours in medical libraries when I was in college studying it. I spent I could not even begin counting the hours, discussing this exact subject with every medical specialist that dealt with this. I spent numerous hours in political offices demanding changes in legislature to stop this epidemic. I have 2 brothers out of 4 that chose to follow into my father’s footsteps when it came to drinking and they lost everything they had. My one brother has now been sober about 15 years. He made a conscious choice to stop cold turkey. My father finally made a choice to stop drinking cold turkey. But not before it had caused irreparable damage to his family. I grew up never hearing I love you from my father. My father was the nicest father you could imagine when he was sober. I wish he had lived long enough to see his grandchildren grow up and see all his great grandchildren now. It took a 4 year old grandson in 1977 to tell him “Pepere your breath stinks” to make him realize what he was missing. It took my mom taking my 2 youngest brothers and leaving him to make him realize what he was missing. It took him till his death bed and my telling him it was ok I forgave him and that I loved him very much for him to finally tell me he knew.

    So Rick when I said you lose 100, 000 brain cells.. its not spew, it’s well documented facts, facts that you learn as a 1st year medical student, a 1st year nursing student, a new member of AA, AL-Anon, Al -Ateen. It’s what you learn when you have spent most of your adult life studying the effects of alcoholism. Now THAT is a stat you can take to the bank.

  17. Sally, the length of your reply speaks volumes about your lack of neutrality on the subject of alcohol and its’ affect on the brain.

    I too have access to professionals – in fact an associate with a phd who does nothing but studies on the affects of drugs on the brain.

    It is true that pure alcohol when it comes into direct contact with (i.e. is poured on) a brain cell will kill it – there is simply no justification that imbibing ethanol-based drinks does the same.

    I’m not sure when you were doing your research, or the level of dedication to the endeavor, but the latest findings do not show any evidence for a causal relationship between recreation drinking and the death of neurons.

  18. but going back to the original post of who we were talking about.. we aren’t talking about recreational drinking.We were talking about drinking so much you don’t even know you dropped not one but two children who had to have been squirming from the cold. And your comment came from google not from an professional with a PHD. As for when I was doing my research…. I’m still doing it. And I get my information from Neurologists and UBC hospital here in BC.

  19. I am not advocating more government control at all. I am the last person who would want that (trust me on that one!). But it would be nice if there wasn’t a liquor store every 3 blocks. Ok, that might be exaggerating, but at least not one so easily accessible, not just more expensive alcohol (that wouldn’t stop anyone who wants it) but at least not put it in their hands. Make it a bit harder.

    Dawn, thank you, yes I think it is something that needs to be remembered, if only to make people think.

    Mum you are right, this wasn’t social drinking, as one community chief from Labrador said, his community members don’t drink socially. He said that at one point 95% of his community had drinking problems. Some are recovering, but it is a long hard road.

    I do know if it wasn’t alcohol it would be something else, but in this particular instance, these girls would not have died if he had not been drunk.

    This tragedy has already created some good results, but I just wish two innocent babies didn’t have to give their lives for people to wake up and get their acts together.

  20. http://ca.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idCAN0143697120080201

    This Community recently banned alcohol. Most native reservations do not sell alcohol. There was a line in this article that I found interesting:

    “While alcohol is not sold on the reserve, some members either make their own or bring it in from nearby communities and sell it for a large profit.

    “We’ve been seeing so many bootleggers here in the community and they make thousands and thousands of dollars,” said Katie Rich, assistant to the chief of the reserve’s band counsel.”

  21. I have always been fascinated by pioneer stories, cowboy stories and stories of the Native American people as they were met with the expansion of their home by pioneers. IMO, they have suffered as much and more hardship and persecution than any Mormon Pioneer. The difference is that the Mormon’s were given freedoms that allowed them to prosper. The NA had freedoms taken away at every turn. Should the native community be suffering and reeling from the injustice, social stigma’s and the fact that life doesn’t work in a government made box…we as a society our at the heart of that problem.

  22. Sally, I’m not going to hijack the whole thread arguing about with whom I have spoken about this issue – we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    Mary, I don’t think it would matter how much you charged for the alcoholic drinks – people would still access them regularly. In this particular story, the man clearly didn’t make good decisions even when he was sober. i.e. Young children in the house and no phone?

  23. It’s what happens when there is a complete ban on alcohol (or on anything). But what is the answer? I don’t think extra taxes or a total ban, but perhaps limits of some sort, education and good recovery programmes. When it comes to the Reserves, alcohol is a huge problem across the country, and the elders and councils are struggling to find answers and helps.

  24. “When it comes to the Reserves, alcohol is a huge problem across the country, and the elders and councils are struggling to find answers and helps.”

    Well, you can’t consume what you can’t buy.
    Why are we enabling their behaviour by giving them money every month? This is partially tongue-in-cheek but I think you see my point.

  25. Rick

    I am not suggesting a rise in price. Raising taxes doesn’t deter them. I am talking about limiting how much they can purchase. I don’t know if that will make a difference. I don’t know what will, I jsut know that people are killing themselves and others because of alcohol addiction. There has to be some answer somewhere.

    We don’t know what all decisions he made when sober. But as far as no phone, not everyone can afford one. I see people are so quick to just turn him into a huge villian and not realise that there are things that put him there, and the desperate condition on the reserve are a part of it. Handing him stuff on a silver platter, but not helping him become self sufficient are another issue. Same with the mother of those children. Personal choices plays a huge role, yes. A very huge role, but people are so quick to judge completely instead of realising that we have a system for First Nations people that is failing miserably. Some few of them are trying to make changes, but so many are struggling with inertia. The rest of us are in la-la land.

  26. Mary, I think that given quotas on individual purchases would just increase the number of visits people make to the liqour store.

    “we have a system for First Nations people that is failing miserably”

    Perhaps our problem is that we have a First Nations system and not an All Canadians system…

    I’m all for getting rid of the reserve system and mixing these people into the general populace. Cultural integrity doesn’t seem to be a problem for Japanese Canadians, or Indo Canadians, or Polish Canadians, etc.

  27. That could be the problem, yes. But either way, things are getting worse rather than better and the rampant racism makes it worth (on both sides, First Nations against non Natives and vice versa. I think for too long we have forgotten that in history, conquered peoples were integrated into the societies instead of what has happened here (eventually anyway, not without a lot of abuse along the way of course). And it worked eventually. It’s this system that is horrible, especially for the people it is intended to help.

  28. I just don’t think this problem is the government’s responsibility in any way. But of course I believe in a minimalist government.

    On the other hand, I think it would be a great idea to promote awareness about the issue, perhaps think of ways to exert social pressure on alchohol venders, and support a private charitable organisation that provides free assistance to help alchoholics recover from their addiction.

  29. Nermalcat

    I agree with you, or at least to a point. I too believe in minimal government interference. The problem is, they started it, by being so involved in Native affairs and in regulation and distribution of alcohol. So since they created this, it would be very negligent for them to just drop it and say “fix it yourselves”. Native leaders are at their wit’s end trying to fix the mess the government created. When a community publicises that 95% of it’s members have an alcohol problem, it suddenly makes the problem graver.

    Your second point would be great, but they don’t seem to get much support, people like to turn a blind eye to the issue and leave them to their own devices “Not in my backyard”.

  30. “the mess the government created”

    I don’t recall anyone being forced to consume alcohol at gunpoint or anything…

    NIMBY only applies when you have access to your back yard – these people are on reserves and ask for autonomy. You can be autonomous and still continually ask the citizens not on the reserves for assistance.

  31. Rick

    I agree. However, look at history and see how many options the government gave, and the policies they created that opened the door for all of this. People are responsible for themselves, yes, but at the same time, we don’t go in, destroy a culture, take away everything they have and then say “Bye bye! Problems? Fix it yourself”. I am not saying the government has to do everything, but perhaps they need to clean up THEIR part of the mess and help them find the tools to repair what has been broken.

    And the government did create a mess. They have a tendency to do that when they know nothing about anything.

  32. Oh, and I have never seen such blatant and bitter racism anywhere, since moving to Southern Alberta. Granted, I have only live in BC (Lower Mainland and the Okanagan) and Dublin, Ireland. But still. For some reason, so many people here don’t think First Nations are in the same category as everyone else. Regular, normal human beings, just like every other person, who wants something better for themselves and their children. And then the first Nations who are bitter against non Natives. Maybe the first step is to get over that prejudice. It seems to have created an immovable wall.

  33. I totally get what you’re saying and in some respects we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    “we don’t go in, destroy a culture, take away everything they have and then say “Bye bye! Problems? Fix it yourself”. “

    No, usually we say to the conquered people, “Start acting exactly like us now”. Unfortunately the North American situation plays more like the bastard child of a hostile takeover and a cultural genocide.

  34. Yes it did. The whole “take over/integration” issue was poorly handled from the start. Looking at ancient history (or even not so ancient) they didn’t have the same problems we have. I don’t know the answers, I just think that there is something that needs to change.

    True, I don’t mind agreeing to disagree. It’s nice when that can happen without it getting personal.

  35. Mary, it’s true that it’s difficult to raise social awareness and support for volunteer organizations, but I would think that rallying to put pressure on the government wouldn’t require less effort by any means. Regardless of who is to blame for the problem, I’d rather not leave it in the Government’s hands to fix it. If I was to dedicate my own personal time and energy to a cause, I’d prefer to explore options that don’t involve the government in this case.

  36. Nermalcat, again I am not saying the government has to do everything, or even do much, but until they remove the obstacles they have placed, the efforts by others are going to meet with limited success. They have to fix what they broke, is all I am saying. They made alcohol easily accessible, they have created the reserves, they have set up the programmes where the money is easily accessible. As long as those roadblocks are in place, little is going to change.

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