Hitting native on the head
RE Drew Hayden Taylor's seeing Red (NOW, June 28-July 4). I see Taylor's demands on behalf of native peoples nailed to the door of every church, government, welfare, water safety, adoption, school and media outlet in the country. Heck, drop them from planes on Canada Day crowds!
Red like me
Thank you for Drew Hayden Taylor's Seeing Red. I'm a 26-year-old Canuck. I've seen most of Canukistan. When you see Taylor, please give him a solid high five and a "Right on, brother," from me.
A much-appreciated read.
Special status static
Thanks for printing Tara Beagan's Status Static (NOW, June 28-July 4). The issue of native status is something that is rarely looked at. Hopefully, Beagan's experience will help clear up the many assumptions made about status Indians and PST exemption. Many people see a Certificate of Indian Status as discount card rather than a legal citizenship document.
Licence to ill
RE Status static. after reading your First Nations issue and watching the weekend news, I plan to print up some Indian status cards (shouldn't be that difficult). Then my friends and I are going to race up and down Highway 400 all weekend.
If the OPP dare to try and stop us, we will just flash our cards at them and tell them to fuck off. They will.
Wealth of indigenous talent
Congratulations on an amazing National Day of Action issue (NOW, June 28-July 4). We are so proud of NOW for highlighting the incredible wealth of indigenous writers, thinkers and knowledge-keepers in our community! Meegwetch.
The Centre for Indigenous Theatre
Plaques mark sacred spots
RE Tripping with the ancients (NOW, June 28-July 4). In addition to the two historical plaques shown in your article, there are three others in the city: the Indian Trail plaque on a concrete cairn in the cemetery of St. Andrew's Church in Scarborough, the Indian Village Site plaque on the west side of Brimley Road north of Lawrence, and the Jackes Site plaque at Allenby School on St. Clements. The text of the five plaques plus photos of each can be found on my website, http://torontohistory.org.
Alan L. Brown
A community in tears
On this day when we are to celebrate the great and rich heritage and culture of the Aboriginal peoples, we, the members of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquin First Nations, have become victims of a hate crime. I am deeply saddened by this. I have no words to describe the sorrow that my spirit and heart are carrying at this moment. My heart is wounded.
Sometime during the night, our Cultural Centre was vandalized with huge black swastika signs and the words "White Power" written around the entire building. Picnic tables and tents have also been destroyed.
Just as our community was preparing for its Aboriginal Day celebration today, there is no celebration. Our community is in tears.
Claudette D. Commanda
Kitigan Zibi Algonquin Anishinabeg
I was interested to read the various letters to the editor both supporting and attacking the recent Gay Pride parade (NOW, June 28-July 4). At least no one trotted out that ridiculous old argument that we don't need a Gay Pride parade since there are no straight pride parades.
Charles Harp suggests that we should "evolve beyond all the labels" and give up the whole concept of gay identity. I can easily imagine a society that places no particular importance on sexual orientation, that treats everyone equally all the time, but even our own prime minister is opposed to gay rights and would repeal them immediately if he could muster enough votes in Parliament.
Then there's Louis Solnicki, who wants us to "get over ourselves" and recognize that other causes are more urgent.
If gay people don't stand up for gay rights, no one else will.
Food with a view
RE Aroma therapy works (now, June 28-July 4). Graham Duncan has made a deliberate and very poor use of the phrase "Always with the Occupied Territory" in his review of Aroma.
Is it your magazine's editorial policy to include its political bias in its food reviews? Should I look forward to reading about the "suicidal hot sauce that will blow you away" at the next Palestinian, Iranian or Lebanese restaurant that is reviewed?
Leave politics at the door and out of the review column and enjoy the food, as Duncan obviously did at Aroma.
Walker not worth seeing
My husband and I have seen a number of George Walker plays when they first came out, and liked them. They seemed quite mad, but with real people in them, and very, very funny.
I read the excellent reviews of the remounted Better Living (NOW, June 7-13) and off we went to see the play. The theatre was half-empty.
The first act was okay, but the second was tedious, relentless, disturbing, unbelievable and not at all funny.
People seem to think theatre is some sort of holy art form, especially if it's Canadian, and many critics overvalue what is presented to them.
It was clear from the audience's response that we all felt duped.
The acting was good, but the play didn't hold together and certainly wasn't worth seeing.
Why we need A/C bylaw
Despite the city's requests to con serve electricity and reduce pollution, many stores continue to operate their air conditioning while keeping their doors wide open. I've tried talking to store employees and writing letters to corporate HQs.
Some corporations, like the Gap, have been surprisingly responsive. Others deny there's a problem, make repeated but empty promises to change or worry that sales will be hurt.
Why do we continue to subsidize electricity costs for users who neglect the public good? Can we implement a bylaw requiring stores to keep their doors closed while using heating or air conditioning?
Cops go beyond bike laws
I read with interest cyclist Jay Morrison's letter in which he states that a Toronto cop demanded to see his driver's licence (NOW, June 28-July 4).
I've been hearing and seeing this more and more lately, along with reports that cyclists are being threatened with demerit points.
Someone from Toronto Police Services should clarify for us why this is happening.
As I understand it, under the Highway Traffic Act, a correct name and address is sufficient identification.
The act also states that demerit points are for drivers of motor vehicles.
I have no problem with cyclists being ticketed for traffic offences, but I am concerned about the possibility that some officers may be acting beyond what is allowed under the HTA.
So according to now, narrower streets don't congest traffic, they actually calm traffic (NOW, June 14-20). You don't bother to say how, but I'm guessing that's because there is no explanation.
LSD good for the spirit
Letter writer brad holland claims that "it is irresponsible to put a positive spin on drugs like LSD. Spiritual strength comes from a fruitful life, not self-indulgent, brain-damaging habits" (NOW, June 21-27).
I disagree. Spiritual strength comes from many sources, and entheogens like peyote and LSD have for thousands of years been a catalyst for spiritual exploration and growth.
Used responsibly, LSD is not dangerous. It's not addictive, not physically harmful and is nearly impossible to overdose on (one would have to take tens of thousands of doses).
Of course, responsible use of any psychoactive drug requires that the user become acquainted with the positive and negative effects of that drug before making the decision to use it.
Thanks to draconian policies and misinformation foisted on the world by the United States, factual information about entheogens and other psychoactive substances is hard to come by.
Arnie's two shades of green
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is not the environmentalist he makes himself out to be (NOW, May 31-June 6).
His revised state budget devastates public transit, throwing transit into crisis in the Golden State. He is slowly killing the state's high-speed rail initiative by cutting funding to its high-speed rail authority.
The governor is trying to block a high-speed rail bond issue from going to California voters in 2008. He backed the auto industry's fuel cell car sleight of hand, helping to kill electric cars that were actually in production for Californian drivers.
Isn't this really pushing more brown smog, carbon dioxide and particulate matter?
RE Meanwhile in palestine, by dan Freeman-Maloy (NOW, June 7-13).
Freeman-Maloy says he believes the Harper government should reverse its policy and end the boycott of Hamas because it is causing great harm to the people of Palestine. I have two questions for those who share this view: Would they have supported placing sanctions on Nazi Germany? Would they have supported lifting sanctions from the South African government during apartheid?
This letter writer smells some hypocrisy on this issue simply because it involves Israel.
Israel's native plan
RE Indigo's Israel problem and Meanwhile In Palestine ( NOW , June 7-13). The Israelis are using the identical strategy the Europeans employed when they arrived in North America. That is, crush the indigenous peoples so they become powerless to resist. It worked well then; why not now? It just takes time.