There's an old joke in the native community that goes something like this: "What's another term for an Indian vegetarian?" The appropriate answer? "A very bad hunter."The World Vegetarian Congress may be meeting in Toronto right now. And it may be holding swanky workshops like Vegan Cooking Is Not Boring and From Asthma To Zits: Milk And Dairy Products Do Not Do The Body Any Good, but trying to find a native vegetarian is like looking for a non-bingo-going, non-hockey-watching/playing, non-denim-wearing, non-dreamcatcher/feather-hanging-from the-rearview-mirror-type indigenous person.
Over the years, and after many a tasty veal sandwich, it's been my dubious pleasure to face the occasional vegetarian who has strong, definite opinions about my diet and isn't afraid to express them to my face.
For the record, I am a proud meat eater. I keep a pepperoni in my wallet and a steak in the glove compartment for emergencies. As further proof, I've instructed my girlfriend that when I die I want to be marinated and barbecued.
Why such a rabid carnivore, you ask? I blame this vegetarian-carnivore rivalry on yet another Church dogma forced on the native community.
Its seeds go all the way back to biblical times. As you may remember, Adam and Eve are hanging around the Garden looking for ways of screwing up Paradise. (You may know their great-great-great-grandson, a gentleman named Columbus.)
So there's our innocent Eve -- and what does she pick from the tree?
"Forbidden fruit." Not steak, not roast chicken, not even a lamb chop.
Maybe we'd still be running around naked if she'd had a craving for some chicken wings. Would we still be in Paradise if she'd passed up the fruit for a beef and broccoli stir-fry?
I wonder what the pope has to say about this. Or Phil Fontaine.