July 15th, 2018

Work together for a constructive solution

By Letter to the Editor on August 1, 2017.

Since I was not born many millennia ago I can’t verify nor deny who the original human custodians of our planet were. Were they cavemen, Aztec, Inca? It doesn’t matter.

Our modern Indigenous people are descendants who worshipped whom they believed to be their creator. To this day they consider where they buried their dead to be sacred ground and who is to say otherwise?

But one wonders if the lands and all were ceded to them or were they merely custodians who were expected to pass on to their successors the burden of custodianship? Are we, the present custodians, expected to do the same, and to whom?

Native, First Native, Aboriginal, Indigenous loosely interpreted all mean the same thing. I am sure it is reference to the first human inhabitants to be given the responsibility of “custodians of earth, water, flora and fauna. There main concerns were simple and logical: Sustain themselves, procreate and revere their supreme being for blessing them and providing them with the riches to attain their desires. Small wonder that to this day they still take part in their rituals and thanks.

The rituals are steeped in folklore and history based on knowledge obtained form elders and medicine men. They learned about herbal concoctions. Pharmaceutical companies would be in the herbal business if they could patent and control these cures.

The people were ingenious enough to construct and erect shelters from the elements.

While it is true some tribes were more interested in marauding and raiding, most were content to pursue food, water and shelter. The first inhabitants learned the habits of the fish and animals they needed for sustenance and usually took only enough to keep them fed through the lean times. The first custodians were the original health-care providers, learning and remembering the right things to use for a given malady. They contributed so much to modern medicine, hunting and fishing and asked so little in return.

These people were hounded, harassed and herded to places that were foreign to them and did not provide the essentials of sustainable living. They revered land, eater, flora and fauna; we tended to revere money, power and control. They were used, abused and restricted until they could no longer live the life they were accustomed to. Many look down on them but forget who put them in the situation they’re in now.

It’s too bad it took so long for their plight to be recognized and only now is being taken seriously. Sadly missing are constructive measures to correct what we did to them for so long. Deep, sane and logical solutions must be found and enacted so that we may all live in peace and equality. Some are protesting the length of time it’s taking but they must remember that time is needed to get it right. Patience is in short supply but no government, no matter how well-meaning, can wave a wand and make history and pain disappear.

Let us all work together in unison to work out a constructive solution. Fighting and protests will not cut it.

Walter Korzyniowski

Medicine Hat

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