Monday, May 20, 2013

Support your local sherriff

       Michael Moore postulated in "Bowling for Columbine" that violence in the street causes fear, and fear causes knee jerk thinking.  It leads to the creation of police based organizations which, though good short term, are problematic in the long term.  Some would suggest that police based organizations are a Conservative, or Republican solution, and the fight starts.  I humbly suggest that we draw back a bit, and drop those words as emotional devices which have no place in a rational discussion.
       I will reserve the discussion about fear, personal armament, anticipatory retaliation and such for another time, and point out that a police force which walks about the street instilling fear into the inhabitants is, in my opinion, a VERY bad thing.  This troubles me more than a group of gang bangers out hanging about looking for trouble!
Is there an answer?  Sure there is.  Local policing, made up of people of the social-economic-ethnic group should be very active in the community.  When was the last time you heard of a group of cops getting involved in a game of shinny?  Or a pick-up basketball game?  (I know, pretty hard to do when loaded down with all that gear!)  What I call "support your local sherriff".  There should be community leaders keeping a very high leaders "taking the air" with a couple of police and a few "hard cases" seeing and being seen about the neighbourhood.
Now I know this doesn't work in a lot of places....graft and corruption are just so part of the culture that some nationalities don't trust their police at all!  My reply to that of course is "how did Miami clean up their famously corrupt police force?  How did Chicago shake off the mob?  Questions difficult to answer in a simple little blog like this one!

Sidney Australia had a "hood" which was very, um...problematic.  A town on the suburbs called "blacktown".  It was the lightning rod area, about a kilometer square which caused all the crime, gangs, and drug use in the city.
      This is what they did about it.  I'll shut up now, and humbly suggest you go to that link, watch the video, and you will see what I mean!

Elijah Harper died, 17 May 2013

By: Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press

OTTAWA – Well-respected Manitoba aboriginal leader Elijah Harper has died.

Harper was 64.

He passed away early this morning from a heart attack due to complications from diabetes. Harper’s wife, Anita Olsen Harper, his children Bruce and Holly, stepchildren Karen Lawford, Dylan, Gaylen and Grant Bokvist, released a statement.

"Elijah was a wonderful man, father, partner. He was a true leader and visionary in every sense of the word. He will have a place in Canadian history, forever, for his devotion to public service and uniting his fellow First Nations with pride, determination and resolve. Elijah will also be remembered for bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together to find a spiritual basis for healing and understanding. We will miss him terribly and Love him forever."

Harper was diagnosed with kidney failure due to his diabetes about six years ago and has been on dialysis ever since. He underwent a kidney transplant just before Christmas. However his death was quite sudden and unexpected, said Darcy Wood, an aboriginal leader from Manitoba who has known Harper since the 1980s.

"He was a very down-to-earth person," said Wood.

Harper was raised by his grandparents in Red Sucker Lake and spent much of his childhood on trap lines. He also attended residential schools and eventually the University of Manitoba. Wood said Harper’s illness did not slow him down and he continued to travel and do humanitarian work.

He was the first Treaty Indian to be elected as a provincial politician, and Wood said Harper always encouraged indigenous leaders to participate in mainstream politics. "He was a pioneer in a lot of ways," said Wood. "It is a huge loss."

Harper was born in Red Sucker Lake, and became chief of the reserve when he was just 29 years old. He went on to be an NDP MLA and MP from Manitoba, including sitting briefly in the cabinet of Manitoba Premier Howard Pawley.

Harper’s most well-known moment however was when he stood in the Manitoba Legislature in 1990, held up a single eagle feather, and voted no to the Meech Lake Accord. His vote killed Meech Lake, and led to him being chosen as Newsmaker of the Year in 1990.

Harper has long been considered one of the most well-respected aboriginal leaders in Canada.


Well, thats the basic story.  Elijah Harper was so much more than just another Indian leader.  Harper was the one who showed a generation of hollywood educated Canadians that the first nations are not poor downtrodden drunken welfare bums, but rather, the landlords of this great nation.  His lessons will need to be told and re-told until attitudes change.
Rest in peace Elijah, there are plenty of people ready to take over now that you have shown the way.