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Letters Jan. 20: What we can learn from First Nations medicine; 500,000 Canadians can't be wrong

Roberta Wagner, foreground, a health clinic administrator for the Blackfeet tribe, prepares COVID-19 vaccine doses to be administered to Canadian residents at the Piegan-Carway border crossing near Babb, Montana. The Blackfeet tribe gave out surplus vaccines in April to its First Nations relatives and others from across the border. IRIS SAMUELS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Indigenous medicine might help us all

Re: “Alberta First Nations people tend to get lower level of emergency care, study finds,” Jan. 18.

The finding described in the article was consistent through all different types of visits — trauma, infection, substance abuse, obstetrics and mental health.

I recognize that in today’s culture we are expected to all work together for reconciliation from the damage done to First Nations people by colonialism. I get confused as to why only certain institutions seem to be targeted.

For example, many institutions such as education, social services, police and the courts seem to be good places to make change and many have started.

I have yet to hear if our health system has considered looking at the traditional ways our First Nations used “medicine men” to cure and alleviate health issues. Even today we can seek out traditional Chinese and Eastern medicine far easier than traditional First Nations medicine.

Perhaps the Assembly of First Nations should speak out about this and ask that medical schools like UBC and the University of Alberta to incorporate non-colonial practises into their curriculum. Who knows what benefits could be attained?

Maybe we could consider having a separate section in emergency departments that offer people western medicine and one that offers traditional First Nations medicine. I’ll leave it to the experts on both sides to consider if this would be this would be a good thing.

David Berndt

Half a million Canadians can’t be wrong

Re: “Indigenous Canada course is online,” letter, Jan. 18.

My thanks for the letter highlighting the University of Alberta’s online course that guides the learner to an introductory understanding of Canada’s First Nations. It lays out a fascinating history that, sadly, was not taught to most of us.

While Matthew was correct that, if one wants a certificate to post on one’s Linkedin page, the cost is $49 US. You can, however, audit the course for free!

I logged on to the course for 30 to 45 minutes each day for three weeks, and now have a much better understanding of some of the fundamentals necessary for a proper discussion of truth and reconciliation.

I am thrilled to see that almost half a million Canadians have taken the course thus far.

Chris Coleman

Put fish farms on land, and keep the employees

Re: “Federal decision on fish farms prompts closure of B.C. plant,” Jan. 18.

Mowi Canada West complains that moving fish farms from the Discovery Islands is devastating news for 80 staff at the processing plant it says it will close.

Mowi could open some on-land fish farms and thus have product for the processing plant and not have to fire staff.

My list of on-land farms has 383 farms around the world. Putting fish farms on land is common, though Mowi doesn’t think of it.

What is required is retraining for its staff, who then could move into other areas of fish farming and not be fired. If Mowi won’t do it, and prefers to fire its staff, the government should start a retraining program. Simple and straightforward.

Mowi and the other mega-companies view staff as replaceable.

For example, Norway puts out ten times the salmon that are produced in Canada. They use 20 per cent of the staff employed in Canada and have laid off the rest because of efficiency measures.

The scientific paper on this one was written by Inga Milewski and it is easy to find. Once the measures are brought to Canada, 80 per cent of staff will be fired.

So, no one needs to be blamed other than Mowi. After all, once it introduces the efficiency measures here, they could lay off 80 per cent of B.C. staff and still have enough to produce salmon on par with Europe.

D.C. Reid

Tell the tax people about health issues

A recent letter suggested that anti- vaxxers should have reduced personal exemptions on tax returns. I’d like to suggest we take this a step further.

Let’s include a section that says: “Please include each and every one of your health issues — you can trust us to decide if they’re voluntary or not.”

As we all know, we can count on honesty from the majority of people, because putting false information on tax forms is a criminal offence.

Personally, I have incredibly deep trust in the CRA to do everything right the first time. They’ve done such a bang-up job of going after billionaire tax evasion for decades now.

In this way, we can weed out all the people who have any health issues at all, and make sure they pay.

And then, as we make sure that social programs become less inclusive, we get to watch our social services system go up in flames. Bring your marshmallows.

Craig Bugden

Fine memories of Jerry Gosley’s show

Jerry Gosley produced and starred in many great seasons at Langham Court: The Jerry Gosley Smile Show.

It was a big summer hit every year.

Jerry in drag as Queen Victoria. Not allowed today, of course? Haha. Outrageous. American tourists loved the show. Sold out every night.

The show moved to MacPherson Theatre and still sold out. They did a tour in New York. Several of their performers moved on to other professional careers in the theatre.

The best place to see shows like that?

One guess? Yup.

Rick Stevens

Alberta drivers? We’re just as bad

Re: “Think of Kenney, Harper and those licence plates,” letter, Jan. 15.

Are we the laughing stock because of protests? Oh, are we ever. The protesters will always find something that needs to be protested and B.C. seems to be the one place that really allows it, legal or not.

As for looking at Alberta political leaders, I wouldn’t throw too many stones at their performances as you don’t have to go to far back to see how some of B.C.’s past premiers have performed during their tenures.

I was born and raised in Alberta and migrated to the Island a few years ago and have enjoyed it immensely. But to state that the red and white licence plates are learner plates — well, you should try driving in Alberta.

B.C. drivers can’t hold a candle to those from Alberta. From rudeness, to uneducated skills, to aggressive and back to overly passive driving, it becomes very obvious that it’s no better here than there.

In Alberta you will usually get a nice little wave for a thanks but here there’s no thanks, just an expectation.

We won’t even touch on the driving when we get a snowfall, whether it’s one centimetre or 20.

Seems to me that a blue-and-white plate isn’t really any better in any way.

Pat Mulrooney
Central Saanich

Get facts straight about those Albertans

Re: “Think of Kenney, Harper and those licence plates,” letter, Jan. 15.

I thought we British Columbians considered ourselves a bit more enlightened, but after reading the diatribe about Alberta, I seriously doubt it.

He said the Alberta premier is the most ridiculed premier in Canada, and Alberta gave us “the most hated prime minister in recent times, Stephen Harper.”

In both cases, wrong. Canada’s most ridiculed premier is in Quebec. Our most hated prime minister in recent times is Baby Trudeau.

And then he says: “By the way, we consider those red and white licence plates, learner plates!”

When I came home from six years in Calgary, in my mid-20s, the Alberta plates were yellow and black. I took a friend to dinner in town one night before changing my vehicle’s licence plates back to B.C.’s.

When four guys in a passing vehicle saw my friend and I about to get into my car, they leapt out of their vehicle, grabbed us and started giving us a real beating.

We literally staggered to the Victoria police station, on Herald Street at the time, and reported it, bruised and bleeding.

T. Lorne Pedneault-Peasland

No need for Victoria to add money

Victoria taxpayers, and taxpayers in every city and town, are going to pay $40 billion in reconciliation money to the Indigenous people that have been affected by the residential schools.

This has been given the green light by the federal government. There is no need for Victoria taxpayers to add more.

The suggestion of a referendum for this is not needed either. Delay this decision until October, when all Victorians in the municipal election can have their say.

Bob Beckwith

Museums elsewhere can help with the vision

I hope that one of the items to be included in the final “vision” for the Royal B.C. Museum will be a review of how other major museums have dealt with portraying the past “colonization” and synchronization with today’s “realities,” including “reconciliation.”

Museums in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand probably have had experiences that could enhance our learning.

B.C. Grover


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