letter to the editor262

Shame on you, Mr. ‘We’ First things first: “Lots of both.” is not a sentence, dear editor.

Shame on you, Mr. ‘We’

First things first: “Lots of both.” is not a sentence, dear editor.

However, you do not need to concern yourself with grammar, not with your considerable grasp of education.

Your editorial that failed so miserably to come across as some informed decree regarding the Yukon First Nations’ desire to address their needs with respect to education was a testament to unqualified ignorance.

Without question you need to address this simple inquiry: when you write we, to whom are you referring?

Let me refresh your memory.

You write, “Building an education system takes time and money. Lots of both. We doubt local First Nations have either.”

To whom do you refer with the word we?

It’s odd, too, because earlier you imply that the First Nations have money to burn.

However, you know that this is not the case … but it does make a grand albeit misleading entrance.

It relates to no fact, simply an inflammatory introduction to lure the reader deeper into your own stunted reality.

How ironic it is to then read, “… we’ve seen little from them in the way of concrete studies.”

Again, dear editor, when you write we, to whom are you referring?

Do you know?

You refer to others, so quite simply, who are they?

Let me suggest to you that there is no we and that you really mean you doubt local First Nations have either and you have seen little from them in the way of concrete studies.

Let me then further suggest that what you alone doubt and what you alone have not seen with respect to First Nations issues is of little significance to anybody but you.

There is no we — it’s all about you, as we clearly see when we read on through your disgraceful column.

I know of at least one study that the Kwanlin Dun First Nation has done.

It was completed last year by a very well-respected man who knows an incredible amount about the Yukon education system as a whole, and by a chap of lesser intelligence — me.

So the First Nations have done their homework, they have invested time and money into this process.

I can’t believe you didn’t get a copy.

It would come as no surprise to any First Nation in the Yukon that one of the most significant revelations that came as a result of that study was that the single most debilitating factor in the entire scope of consideration came from federal government interference.

You write in such a condescending and paternalistic fashion that it reeks precisely of the residential school days, which you so arrogantly declare as being over.

You state that the Kwanlin Dun First Nation is disingenuous and bolster this lame declaration by dragging in the staff at Elijah Smith Elementary.

In Beaver Creek there is a hard-working staff too. They teach native language, native arts, have cultural camps etc. but their school is no “edifice” and not a thing of beauty or of high cost.

It’s a two-room schoolhouse. Consider, sir, that the ‘edifice,’ cost and beauty may not be the main concern here.

Take a moment to consider that when you write, “the needs of native children are no different than the needs of those of the non-natives,” you articulate perfectly the fundamental, pervasive and core rationale as to why the First Nations people seek to establish their own education system.

However, it’s clear that your main concern is about one thing.  You are worried about the First Nations “sapping resources and students from the established education system.”

You give yourself away at this point quite clearly. It’s about the money. It’s so simple for you really: If the First Nations would only be grateful for all Daddy has done for them; if only they would understand that what you (remember now, there is no ‘we’) need is really what they need too; if they could only forget that they have tried for many years to play an active role, but to no avail; and last, but certainly not least, if only the First Nations would listen to you about how not to “squander their money” they would be so much better off.

You write that there is “tangible proof” of success stories.

There is also a mountain of evidence that demonstrates unmistakably that, overall, it’s been an unqualified disaster.

Yet, despite those documented facts you insist on gratitude from those who wish to no longer be subjected to the type of thinking that operates with the notion that “the needs of native children are no different than those of the non-natives.”

I’ve only been in the Yukon since 1988, but in that time I have never read anything so divisive from the Yukon News.

You have blatantly abused the editorial section of this paper with inflammatory accusations that serve only to demonstrate your lack of respect and sheer ignorance for other cultures, legitimate governments and their leaders throughout the Yukon.

You have intentionally insulted Yukon First Nation governments and respected First Nation chiefs and attempted to hide behind some non-existent we.

You, sir, should appeal to the First Nations leadership for their forgiveness and for their understanding that you discuss these complex matters in complete ignorance.

Forgiveness and understanding: Lots of both.

R. S. Breithaupt

Carcross Road

A council of closed minds

I attended Monday’s public hearing regarding the proposed batch plant in the McLean Lake area, and was inspired by the continued efforts of residents and others who are concerned about the city’s plans.

The room was full of supporters of the McLean Lake Residents Association, and several people spoke eloquently in hopes of encouraging city council to vote to protect this beautiful area.

I hope that as our newly elected city council gains its footing, it will begin to make decisions with a more considered and long-term view.

Unfortunately, it appeared that city council members have already made up their minds on this issue, judging by the grunts and adversarial remarks made during presentations.

I am dismayed at the continued lack of vision in the realm of planning in our city.

As was noted by several presenters, there are many alternatives to the proposed location for this batch plant.

It is perplexing to me why Ron Newsome has fought this battle for so long, when so many of his friends and neighbours have asked him to let it go, and when there are many viable alternatives.

Whitehorse is situated in one of the most stunning, intact wilderness areas left in Canada, and people live here and visit here for that reason.

Whitehorse is also a commercial centre, and provides services to many people, but does our town really need to be a parking lot at the edge of the world?

There are many approaches to urban planning that allow wilderness and human activity to co-exist in creative and functional ways.

Heavy industrial activity on the edge of a fragile watershed, close to residential areas, close to the city centre, simply does not make sense.

Kim Barlow

Whitehorse