a desert between us and them
The doc A Desert Between Us And Them is about the War Of 1812 in lush southwestern Ontario, from Detroit to Burlington Heights. The ‘desert’ refers to the novel slash-and-burn policy of the British army that left bereft not only the American army but also the British militia, the settlers, and the Natives. But the desert can also refer to the war’s aftermath, an aftermath that ripples down to this day, for we are parched by the absence of those hanged as traitors and by the broken promises between the British and the Natives led by Tecumseh (pictured). In fact, the war marked a turning point in the relationship between the British and the Natives. As Allan Gregg points out in Tecumseh’s Ghost, we never learned much about Tecumseh (if anything) in school, which leads to a desert in the mind. Tecumseh was not a British sidekick, ‘Laura Secord with a feather.’ Who was he?
a few things that I didn’t learn all those years ago
- (Pictured is Tecumseh meeting Brock at Fort Malden, Aug 13, 1812.) Tecumseh was born (March, 1768) in what we call Ohio and died in battle (October 5, 1813) in what we call Ontario, still fighting the Americans for the land in Ohio.
- He was an inspiring orator and united many Aboriginal nations with the goal of establishing a Native confederacy.
- Unfortunately his work towards this confederacy died with him. The British, now the Canadians, never honoured the debt owed to Aboriginals. However, many settler descendants, including Paul Martin, Sheila Fraser, Joe Clark, and Bob Rae, are working to change that.
(thanks to sh)
In this video of an interview by TVO’s Allan Gregg, James Laxer, author of Tecumseh And Brock: The War Of 1812, stresses that the War of 1812 was as important in shaping Canadian identity as was Confederation, for it defined settler relations with our neighbours to the South and with the Natives.
coffee and votes
Susan Delacourt likens our voting habits to buying coffee at, where else, Tim Horton’s. I dunno. It explains a lot of things, like a noticeable lack of social cohesion and party fickleness and the preponderance of politicians at Tim’s, but how does it explain increasing polarization? I get my coffee elsewhere, not at Tim’s. If you only get your bevvie there, aren’t you missing out? I used to get mine at Tim’s, but now I’m fiercely loyal to Grounded Coffee. What does that say about how I vote?
the future of zoos
Two (of many) compelling arguments for and against zoos: some say zoos are the place for connection through education and conservation and as such, part of the solution, whereas others say that zoos, no matter how much they change, are part of the problem. Perhaps most surprising in a CBC doc was Jane Goodall‘s position. She is for zoos. I wonder why?
Goodall (herself an ethical vegetarian) ‘is the former president of Advocates for Animals, …[which] campaigns against the use of animals in medical research, zoos, farming and sport…. In May 2008, Goodall controversially described Edinburgh Zoo’s new primate enclosure as a “wonderful facility” where monkeys “are probably better off [than those] living in the wild in an area like Budongo, where one in six gets caught in a wire snare, and countries like Congo, where chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas are shot for food commercially.” This was in conflict with Advocates for Animals’ position on captive animals. In June 2008 Goodall confirmed that she had resigned the presidency … which she had held since 1998, citing her busy schedule and explaining, “I just don’t have time for them.” ‘
We keep animals, in zoos, game farms, marine parks. We eat animals. We are animals too. It behooves us to make their lives as ‘humane’ as possible. Wild habitat must be preserved. It may take several lifetimes. So what? A thousand-mile journey begins with one step. War and poverty drive animals’ slaughter–we must work to their end. Some animals can be re-introduced to the wilds. Others can find a home in places like PAWS. But the wilds and sanctuaries like PAWS are shrinking, are rare. Even the oceans are scoured and tainted. Perhaps a good zoo is a safe haven, ironically, from humans, a liberation of sorts, for some animals who cannot be otherwise liberated. However, in all cases, the first liberation is your own.
Who is James Anaya? He is the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. Since 2008, he is also the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (or more fully, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples). On Oct 7, he begins an official visit to Canada to examine the human rights situation of the indigenous peoples.