Letter to the Editor

The missing people I just finished watching the closing ceremonies of the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, and I would like to say kudos to…

The missing people

I just finished watching the closing ceremonies of the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, and I would like to say kudos to everyone involved!

Good show! We have definitely put Yukon on the map!

I was especially impressed with the inclusion of the Inuit & Athabaskan cultures … they did a wonderful job representing their peoples.

I do have one concern though, and that is the lack of West Coast culture in both opening & closing ceremonies.

The Tlingit Nation has played a huge role in the history of the North, but I was saddened that our culture was not celebrated as part of Yukon’s showcase to Canada.

The Tlingit Nation is neither Inuit or Athabaskan, but a distinct cultural group among North America’s first peoples.

Even though I still felt pride seeing my Inuit & Athabaskan brothers/sisters celebrating their beautiful culture… it’s still not mine or my First Nation’s.

There are three Tlingit communities in northern Canada and each community has dance groups & individual performers, but none were part of the two main ceremonies. They were delegated to secondary smaller venues.

I still would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organizers of the Gathering of Nations event; you did a wonderful job representing a balanced view of Canada’s Northern First Peoples!

But the mentality of some on what makes an “Indian” is the same narrow thinking that is behind the Vancouver Winter Olympics choosing an Inuit symbol, the Inukshuk, as its official symbol.

Even though the Olympics are nowhere near Inuit territory their culture was still chosen to represent Canada to the world.

Again, this is a snub to the West Coast culture of the Coast Salish whose land these Games are taking place on.

I’m sure the Inuit would be just as upset if the Olympics were being held on their territory and a Totem Pole was selected as the official symbol!

Maybe this is a good wakeup call to the organizers of the upcoming Winter Olympics so they can make sure that ALL of Canada’s First Peoples are represented … peoples of the igloo, teepee and longhouse!

Gunalcheesh.

Duane Gastant’ Aucoin

Teslin

A flap

Monday, the Union Jack is to fly nationwide next to our Maple Leaf, from every federal building possible.

Depending on where you live, but especially in Ottawa, you could be forgiven for thinking Tony Blair is in town.

Actually, it’s Commonwealth Day, the arbitrary second Monday in March chosen to celebrate the organization.

In 1964, Parliament made the Union Jack Canada’s official sign of membership in the Commonwealth.

It was consolation for those who tried to keep the Red Ensign in an era when “British Empire” was becoming an historical term.

But within a decade, a new symbol evolved.

At the 1973 Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Ottawa, pennants were created, forming the basis of a new flag.

It was designed on the initiative of prime minister Pierre Trudeau, and the first secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Canadian Arnold Smith.

Thanks to Canada’s effort, the Commonwealth has, for more than 30 years, had a flag symbolic of all its 53 members.

How ironic that, in Canada, federal properties are told to mark this day by flying the banner of only one of them.

That’s unfair.

We should take pride in our gift to the world, and fly the Commonwealth flag on Commonwealth Day.

Wayne Adam

Toronto, Ontario