MacLeans: Natives and Suits vs. Environmentalists

Catface (left) and Lone Cone, Clayoquot Sound. Village of Opitsaht in the foreground, Tofino to the right. Source: flickr.

MacLean’s is a magazine that is well past its “use by” date and true to that form they have put up a remarkably provocative and axe-grindy article on economic development in First Nations territories.  Mind you, I think it is entirely true that First Nations want meaningful economic opportunities and I hope they get them.  Some environmentalists seem to think that aboriginal people are noble savages who will play the role of wildlife in parkland.  Leaving aside the MacLeans implicit question of why the hell should they be au naturale when settlers have raped all the rest of the land, the fracture lines between the First Nations and Environmental groups have been clear to me since  I worked on the Meares Island case 20 years ago.  Anyone working on that project could see that the envirnmental movement and the First Nations were going to have a trainwreck at some point in the future.  A balance of park land and economic use is what we should expect on settlement lands.  What right do we have to hold the First Nations to a higher standard than to ourselves? Are the Squamish Nation’s billboards less lovely than Surrey, or North Vancouver, let alone the wasteland that is Squamish itself?  But MacLean’s magazine: way to completely ignore longstanding, demonstrated First Nations stewardship of the land.  That article is a complete waste of 10 minutes of my life, but I am linking to it anyway.

2 responses to “MacLeans: Natives and Suits vs. Environmentalists

  1. Wow. Macleans is getting truly bad.
    The whole thing smacks of meaningless tripe.
    Why is it (in the electronic age of competitive attention-mongering in Canada) when it comes time to point out a “bad guy” fingers wander to “The Aboriginals” and “The Natives” like we’re playing some kind of ouija game? And then, of course, when it’s possible to get another few pennies out of exploiting Peoples’ histories and identies and selling Cowichan sweaters with cartoon sasquatches made in China…why are people then referred to as members of “Our Rich First Nations Heritage”?
    That planchette doesn’t move itself, guys. Somebody’s always moving it, no matter how many people are touching it.
    Will Canadians ever recognize we’re actually all just kind of “us” and give each other a break?


  2. Sorry–another comment. TRUE STORY:
    This reminds me of what always used to happen to me as a kid in a household of five kids and parents with sweet teeth.
    Halloween rolls around and everyone’s munching down their candy like there’s no tomorrow, bringing ten different kinds of crap in with their lunches, eating candy at every meal and before bed and even while in bed.
    I’ve always been a candy-hoarder and I used to limit myself to just one or two a day, because I have a disease that predisposes me to diabetes and I don’t want that. (Ok it’s really because I have a salty tooth and don’t really like sweet stuff and prefer sausage, steak, smoked salmon, or jerky instead).

    Where do you think these guys are on November 8th? They’re knocking at MY bedroom door where I’m pleasantly gnawing on a mini-snickers. They’re busting into my room leaving drool in my pj drawer looking for a fix.
    My family used to always come sniffing around my room stealing my candy, leaving me with the frikkin’ rock-hard toffees and stuff nobody wanted. When I’d confront them about it, they’d each shrug and say “Hey, it’s chocolate. If you leave it lying around, don’t expect it to not be eaten. Any candy left over that we know about is fair game, as far as we’re concerned.”

    Why am I remembering this now? (They still do it, by the way. I’ve been married and away from home for years and they’re still convinced I’ve got the Hershey’s motherlode somewhere between my old anth 205 textbooks!)


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