Thoughts on happenings that in some way connect to the Vancouver waterfront - by Nelson Quiroga
Saturday, December 4, 2021
The Social Contract
Monday, November 1, 2021
Don't Worry Be Happy
Sunday, October 3, 2021
Go Their Own Way
It was a tough year for good old Wile E Coyote with 11 of his peers caught and killed in Stanley Park thanks to the mindless actions of Instagram followers who got caught up in yet another Instagram frenzy trying to get a selfie with a coyote. The coyotes have been living harmoniously in Stanley Park and the West End for a 100 years with each side keeping a respectful distance but all that changed this past summer. Instead of leaving the coyotes to go about their nocturnal activities such as taking out the trash and mowing peoples lawns in the West End before retreating to Stanley Park at dawn to digest and have a good sleep, some early morning residents thought it would be cute to entice these normally reticent animals with sweet meats and cat food in hopes of getting a photo.
The coyotes were only too happy to change up their diet of squirrels etc. in exchange for posing for a nice photo and the word quickly got out to others who came bearing packaged snacks and cookies. So far so good but, when regular people started showing up empty handed, the coyotes got a little confused. Not able to distinguish between walkers and joggers who think it's cute to feed wild animals and those who realize this is not a good thing, the coyotes started demanding a cut from anyone in the Park and giving those who didn't comply a little nip or worse.
By putting up signs the Parks Board tried to get people to stop feeding the coyotes and other creatures in the Park like raccoons, skunks, and grizzly bears who wanted in on the action, but of course nobody knows how to read anymore and the shakedowns on the trails and along the seawall continued.
The Parks Board then tried to convince people to stay away from the seawall and Stanley Park itself during the early morning hours and after dusk but nobody paid any attention to these suggestions either and the Parks Board was forced to then close everything from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. and put signs and fencing around the entire Park.
Sunday, September 5, 2021
As the Baby Boomer generation enters its final phase now that the first half are already on the retirement rolls, there were a few defining events this summer that offered a chance for us to reflect on our contribution to all the upheaval and our own mortality. The first of course were the massive wildfires. It has now been established beyond a doubt that our carbon consuming lifestyle has made the planet warmer and this of course has made it easy for fires to start.
Monday, June 14, 2021
In the painting by Kent Monkman entitled "The Scream" you can see it all with the R.C.M.P. seizing the children from their homes and handing them over to the priests and nuns while their mothers scream in anguish. How something like this could ever have been allowed to happen is only believable when you realize the high level of racism that exists in this country. No settler Canadian would have ever tolerated such an outrageous trampling of parental rights but it was okay to do this to the Indians.
The Act also provided the federal government with the obligation to provide an education for First Nations people so, in 1883, in partnership with the churches, they began setting up residential schools across the country, with attendance mandatory. The purpose of the schools was to remove the children from the influence of their own families and culture and assimilate them into the dominant Canadian settler culture in order to "kill the Indian in the child." As a result, their hair was cut off, they were forbidden to speak their own language, wear their traditional clothes or keep any Indian objects, they were given new Christian names, and the missionary staff spent a lot of time instilling Christian practices and ideas while denigrating their own spiritual traditions.
Even worse than the fact thousands of children died is that half of these deaths weren't even documented and the school graveyards are filled with nameless crosses. And who ever heard of a school having a graveyard in the first place? The incomplete record keeping didn't even track attendance or scholastic achievement never mind cause of death or the names of the poor unfortunate souls. And the reason the bodies were buried on the school grounds is because the government and churches didn't want to pay for the cost of sending the bodies back to the families.
It took some modern radar mapping technology to uncover the bodies of 215 children at one of these notorious schools, in spite of all the denials from officials who ignored what parents had been trying to tell them for years, and now we can only imagine how many other buried bodies there are across the more than 139 former residential school grounds in Canada. Finally the Canadian public is waking up to the injustices that have been inflicted on First Nations people over our own lifetimes and we are horrified and shamed. The secrecy, complicity, and duplicity of the churches and past governments of all parties must now end and serious restitution and reconciliation begin.