Thursday, November 30, 2006

Two stories half a world apart.

But boy are they profound in that it shows, to me at least, how assimilation of Indigenousness peoples has gone so wrong for so many.

And we still have leaders, both in the dominant societies and Indigenous societies, who are gung ho on speeding assimilation up, John Howard in Australia for one, Stephen Harper of Canada for two, if given half the chance.

The Atkins series should be read by all. I have seen first hand the situation in both countries; I’m convinced that looking back is the real way forward for most people.

Things a quite relatively speaking here of late, one the surface that is. Things are also quite on the surface on the issue of dealing with the situation of violence from within. The Nunatsiavut Government has yet to table its report on the ‘hearings on alcohol and drug abuse’. We are told the report will be tabled next sitting, 12 December in Hopedale.

Like most things, the problem of abuse of all types has been around for decades, or rather generations in some cases. It is not and will not be easy to break away from ingrained habits, but I believe that with the correct leadership, appropriate encouragement and penalties, things can change.

Kudos to Lavinia for speaking her mind to the reporter. Many women have spoken out in the past, and will in the future, it remains to be seen if they will be listened to. Heading "Inuit women raise battle cry".

Utopia – a place where Aborigines live long and prosper.
From Bernard Lagan in Utopia, Northern Territory.
Times OnlineNovember 13, 2006

HIDDEN off a long, lonely dirt road in the centre of Australia, the scattered Aboriginal settlements of weathered iron shanties, upturned cars and sullen dogs might be expected to fit the usual description: degradation, disease, filth. But they don't. Researchers have found such clear indicators of the wellbeing of the people of Utopia — a 1,160 square mile (3,000 sq km) former cattle station in the red desert dust north of Alice Springs — that policy-makers are having to reconsider the worth of an ancient Aboriginal way of life that rejects much of comfortably off Australia's eating, working and leisure habits. Yet those healthy traditions may be under threat. Ministers in the Howard Government have declared small Aboriginal communities to be unsustainable and argued for their closure and the removal of inhabitants to enlarged townships. There, they suggest, better services could be provided. The argument does not impress Karm Saraswati, the doctor who for 15 years, together with two nurses, has criss-crossed the desert taking aid to the thousand or so inhabitants. In Utopia's 16 tiny settlements — known as outstations — infants are fed the blood of kangaroos hunted by their relatives. Old women catch and cook big goanna lizards. People wander the spinifex grasses and dig out succulent honey ants and witchetty grubs for eating. Women make batches of Aboriginal medicines from desert plants, relying on ancestral recipes. Not many people smoke, and only a few drink. Many in Utopia spend the bakingly hot days in rough shelters, alongside dogs. Houses are often crowded and dirty. Most struggle to pay for food and petrol from the single store. Yet these people are 40% less likely to die prematurely than other Aboriginals in the Northern Territory. According to researchers at the University of Melbourne, their health approaches — and even exceeds in crucial respects — that of white Australians long expected to outlive Aborigines by 15 to 20 years. The most remarkable result is for cardiovascular disease. Rates of hospitalisation for its effects in Utopia are below levels among the non-Aboriginal Australian population. Lennie Jones, a senior elder, is certain of the source of his community's health: "Out here, we live on bush tucker. Old fellows and kids still hunt. We don't have white tucker." Another, Albert Bailey, whose 76 years represent longevity unusual among Aborigines, says: "In the big communities the young fellows get on the grog all the time. Here we stop 'em. We stay on the land of our grandfathers, always." Dr Saraswati feels no need to lecture these people. He accepts the wisdom of the old men and does as they ask — especially that he and the nurses travel the jarring desert tracks to take medicine to people, rather than wait for them to come into the clinic. While he accepts that his contact with Utopia's people has aided their wellbeing, it cannot explain, he says, the vast differences in their health and contentment from that of Aborigines elsewhere. It is, he says, a result of traditional lives that involve frequent exercise to hunt and gather foods that are nutritious and minimise obesity. It also helps that the people are, by and large, contented. The hard evidence of local people's health was no surprise to Dr Saraswati: "I have always known there was something different here because I was dealing with happy people," he said. "I have worked in other Aboriginal communities and you are doing patch-up all the time. You've got craziness, grog-fights. Just trouble." In Alice Springs, 186 miles to the south, there is nightly violence in and around the Aboriginal squats — fearful places in which hundreds of itinerants who have left their remote homelands spend their days drinking and, often, fighting. There is about one murder a month — nearly always involving Aborigines as perpetrators and victims. Joanne Boyle, a 25-year-old nurse, came to work with Utopia's people after spending nine months treating victims of fights and knifings at Alice Springs Hospital. "I am never scared about them yelling or hitting me as I was in Alice Springs," she said. Simon Quilty has just arrived for a three-month stint in Utopia. In Alice Springs, violence was commonplace, and the doctor would tend Aborigines dying of heart, liver and kidney diseases at the age of 30. By the end of his first week in Utopia, Dr Quilty declared: "It's magic out here, mate."
People in Crisis - a summary:Facts & Figures about Aborigines at the start of the 21st century.
Life expectancy for Aboriginal men is 59, but 77 for all Australian men. For Aborigines aged at least 55, compared with all the Australian population: Poor overall health suffered by 55 per cent of Aborigines, 28 per cent of all Australians; Asthma sufferers — 20 per cent of Aborigines; 10 per cent of all Australians Hypertensive diseases — 43 per cent of Aborigines; 32 per cent of all Diabetes — 35 per cent of Aborigines; 12 per cent of all Australians; Smokers — 38 per cent of Aborigines; 12 per cent of all Australians Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Government plans: Reduce number of small, remote Aboriginal communities; End restrictions on non-Aboriginal entry to Aboriginal land; Withdraw some schemes for the unemployed

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

But it's a dry wind.

Sunny days after some light snow on the weekend. Nice temperatures, day lows of -10 to highs of about -6 to -1.
Pity about the insistent wind that is gusting up to near 70 clicks on a regular basis giving wind chills in the -15 to -19 most days.

Picture is from archives, not much gray hair, winter is good time to BBQ, no flies.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More on the Labrador.


Frank's Brook.

How not to winter a boat.

On the Labrador.

By demand, more pictures by Aimee.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Yesterday, Friday, was an almost perfect early winter day. Mainly sunny, temps around -4, cept for that bloody wind. Man it was insistent, mainly gusts up to 80 with occasional to 100 clicks.
The roads are now like bitumen with little rocks sticking through; all the nice snow has been compacted or blown away. It did help keep the dust to a minimum, but made for some careful walking.
The Astron came in around 6 or so Thursday evening, left about 12 hours later. Lots of mixed freight at the dock.
I checked 5 times during the day for my little lot of 10 boxes. Very slow going with only one forklift working for most of the day and about 20 containers to unload. On a couple of visits one of the store operators was using the second fork lift to unload there stuff, it did take some pressure off the one wharfinger employee.
Fran received a call about 3 pm that our freight was off, down I go again, all our stuff was there on the ground. The second forklift by that time had broken down, but the second wharfinger employee was there.
I’m told that there will be another run for the Astron, but most people have all there winter stocks. So the pressure is off now as far as getting your freight in, it’s a constant battle for most, big or small shippers, it’s no difference, except more constant headaches for the bigger shippers, not sure why it has to be so. It does seem that if you raise shortcomings to the powers that be, or suggest ways that things could be improved you are looked upon as being some sort of an imbecile.

So bring on the snow Yahweh, me is ready.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Touch of winter.

Nice crisp sunny morning, -7 with wind chill of -17. Might have to put the long johns on.

The roads have enough snow on them for ski doos; sadly it brings out the ones with pea soup for brains, idiots speeding around all hours of the night and early morning, not to mention in the day. The roads are narrow enough and hard enough for some to navigate without having to worry about pea soup brains coming at you at 50k and hour.

The ponds have been frozen for several weeks allowing people to go off wooding, hunting.

The Astron is on its way north, some say there is another trip to make, but will wait and see on that. If this cold keeps up people with things like drinks etc may be in for a few unexpected frozen treats.

We have our fuel prices frozen too. It costs $1.26 a liter for gas. Heating oil costs $096.88 a liter at the pump, plus taxes brings it to $1.1141 a liter. So a 45 gallon drum cost $228.60 plus delivery, ouch.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ronald McDonald gets the big red boot

Ronald McDonald gets the big red boot

Well bout time some one had the internal fortitude and common sense
to tell the corporate leaches where to get off. My hat goes off to this guy......
no, not the idiot being carried off.

Hu's on third?

Hu’s dat 3Rd from the left…………..Ooops, sorry, from the right.

Is that a beer bag he has under that silk, of just extra dim sums?

Young stud Peter McKay may be having thoughts of another canine outburst if he spots this nice number.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Serotine Rememberence Day.

I was a bit reluctant to post much about remembering. My father was in several campaigns in WWII, he is still going at 92. Anzac Day, April 25, is the big day to remember them days down under, I had many a good time with the returned service persons over the years. Having said that, I found this story by Kenn Harper just today, it is more in keeping with where I live today.
I’m sure Kenn wont mind me linking to it, he and his wife had a nice little visit with us this summer, I learnt a lot about Inuit history in the north in that short time.

Boonie this n that.

Pity about the trapped belugas near Tuktoyaktuk NWT.
The killing of these beautiful mammals won’t be all bad; the meat will be an added bonus to the Inuvialuit larder.

Weather here been down in cloud and or fog and or light drizzle and or freezing rain and or light snow to snow for three days. Had a nice snow fall yesterday evening, big flakes, kind of heavy and wet but it built up for an extra coverage on the ground. Environment Canada said we had 9 mm; water does not build up so we must have had some sort of cm.

The second to last freight boat arrived Thursday morning. I checked to see if any freight for us, non on the manifest I was told.
Being an old hand I wandered down to the dock after 1 pm, the wharfinger said, “There is some frozen product for you in the shed, I think”.
Low and behold there was, 26 boxes, all loaded together on a pallet with boxes for 3 other people. Being an old hand [there it is again] I proceeded to take off the plastic wrap and go through the stack sorting out my stuff. Luck had it that another of the names on the pallet arrived, with some helpers, so that made lighter work of sorting it out.
Lucked out again when the same bloke gave my boxes and self a ride up to the house.
So I have the frozen all tucked away in the freezer, just have to wait on the dry goods to arrive on the last boat.

Nice little piece on CBC Here and Now last night on Jim Andersen [Uncle Jim] of Makkovik. At 80 odd he is becoming a bit of a media star, and rightly so. Jim has been involved with still and moving picture taking for a long time, his archive is a great look back at life in Makkovik and Labrador. This week Jim is in Goose Bay at the Creative Arts Festival showing and giving talks of some of his work.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

For all my foody fans out there.

Well the 4 of you.

Had couple people over the other night, here is what we had.

Fresh home made bagels, smoked char with cream cheese and red onion.
Followed that with leek and sweet potato soup, followed by pork chop/cabbage/potato sort of sweet and sour thing, followed by red berry squares [no picture].

Other things consumed is a state secrete, but I awoke fresh next morning, how things change with maturity?

Getting better at the bagel making, the forming and making the hole is the time consuming thing, think I have it worked out after the fourth try.

Monday, November 13, 2006

C. G. Armundsen on the Labrador.

Nachvak Fiord.

Geting the sea legs.
Aimee dressed for the job.

Spy in the sky, Saglek.

Pictures by Aimee.

Dam fine two days, sunshine and in the -3 range day time, though the wind chill yesterday was around -14, just makes you walk faster.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another day, same spot as yesterday, quite the contrast.

Remembrance Day here was very quite, only one store opened.
Weather was snow or freezing rain all day until about 3 or so when it cleared some what.
The weather projected a stillness and calm over the town, at least in my mind, very appropriate for the day imo.

After baking up some bagels and a red berry squares I took a walk down to the dock, the Astron was in and a tanker was anchored off. Even there with the restricted access to the lay down area the scene had calm about it, at least outwardly.

This old timer was on a flat bed, not sure of the owners intent, but it has seen better times.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bush flying, or bush league.

Above is a link to a youtube video, looks like from a cell phone, but you get the general picture.

Its relevance is: The plane is operated by Innu Mikun, one of the two schedule airlines on the coast, plus Innu Mikun supplies all the air support to the Voisey’s bay mine/mill.

The location of the video is Otter Creek, the float plane base for HV-GB.
The plane had been on floats all summer, and had just been converted over to wheels.
Subsequently, after this very hairy take off from the dock, the plane landed at the Goose Bay air port. On touch down one of the wheel supports broke or came off from the fuselage and the plane skidded to an abrupt holt to the side of the runway.
A report on CBC on the crash only said that an investigation is under way, but no damage was done to the under carriage.

Silly me, I thought that changing from floats to wheels, or visa versa was done at the hangers at the airport, not at the dock. I understood that the floats had wheels and recessed back into the floats, enabling them to land on hard surfaces when needed.
What ever the reason for this, it sure looks reckless and irresponsible.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Transition time.

Well it’s looking like the prolonged fall is over, wintry like conditions seem to be evolving nicely. Well nicely in terms of the expectations of good snow coverage and brisk crunchy sounding walks. It has been down to -10 at night with days up to -3 or so. Winds are consistent and persistent with chills in the -10 during the day
For now it is kind of bleak, the roads dried out about five days ago, while the sun is nice it has left the roads dry as an African desert. The vehicles and the wind kick up this very fine rock dust; it can’t be conducive to ones healthy well being.
Getting some light snow this AM, so that will deal with the dust for now.

We are still waiting for our winter food order to be shipped out of St. John’s. Not happy with the situation, but the company we dealt with for years has a new owner, and in the interest of fairness to him I am putting up with the late [last boat out of Lewisport] shipment.

There will be no way I will put up with it again next year though. It is just too much stress wondering if the order will get here with all the variables.
One thing that is not a variable is the deplorable and third world like service supplied by the operators of the boats, Labrador Coastal Marine, and the service providers and owner of some of the boats, Government of NL.

There is a community welcome happening this Thursday. A service group in the community has this gathering and welcome for all the new arrivals in town each year. They do some entertainment, bit of a nosh and present the newbie’s with a welcome basket of goodies. Looks like about 30 this year.

I have heard that there is a group of young people being schooled in the art of Choir singing in Inuktitut. Twenty people involved at the moment, will have to find out more about that.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Reduplicating of Fibrer optic cable.

While I agree that THE PROVINCE needs a superfilious fiber optic network to the rest of the world, the way the Danny Government is going about ensuring there is one has certain gaminess about it.
It is not my intention to smirch any one, but the whole proposal has a certain frowziness about it that should have people concerned.

First up are the very close and personal and past business relationships two of the heads of two of the players in the deal have with The Danny. It’s the perception stupid, even if there is nothing agley with the deal.

Second up is the proposed routing of the proposed fiber optic proposal. It is looking like the INTEGRAL portion of the Province will not be given the opportunity to avail of this redundant service. We on the coast are beholden to just one supplier, Aliant. Sure Aliant has improved service over the past few years, but imagine what would be on offer with another player. Let’s not forget we are Integral.

Thirdly is how come this deal is not dependent on FEDERAL FUNDING? Why, for us being INTEGRAL means that any and all projects must have a major portion of FEDERAL FUNDING anteed up before any Provincial funds are SPENT.

I’m starting to think that maybe it is best if we were taken off the INTEGRAL list and become just part of NewfoundlanLabrador. Because it sure looks like this place called NewfoundlandLabrador is getting sweeter deals from Provincial coffers than us here in NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR.

On other topic; wish I could report an improvement in the marine shipping of goods to the North Coast. Just when you think things can’t get more absurd and ridicules we get reductio ad absurdum, in spades. The only positive of the arrival of the Astron early yesterday [1am] was that it was not raining or snowing, weather was quite pleasant. Well that and the fact that FINELY some goods in quantity are arriving.
I won’t go into the details, but several people have brought the whole thing to the attention of WST, not that that has done any good these last years.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Addendum to previous post.

I should point out that the ‘food by mail’ described in the Nunatsiaq News editorial is a little different for the Labrador coastal communities.
While the aims and objectives are the same the logistics are somewhat different than described.

It is similar with the ground portion, goods being trucked into Happy Valley-Goose Bay from Montreal; they have to be brought in for there anyway.
If the goods were air lifted to GB there still would be multiple handling to and fro, people got to get there cut, so that much is parallel with the article

There are at least two wholesalers who handle the goods; they take them out to the airlines.
There Canada post inspects the product for freshness; quality, correct storage, and puts there stamp on it. I believe that the two air lines servicing the coast, Air Labrador and Innu Mikun, divide the communities between them, but I can be corrected on that.
The goods are then taken into the communities where the retailers pick them up and rush them into the shelves without much fancy fan fair.

The program is a good one, helping keep the prices of fresh produce and dairy reasonable. It works well most of the time, but for reasons that I can not figure out things do regress at some time during a twelve month period.
If no one does or says anything it will slowly get worse, things like the plane not coming in when it is contracted to. Produce clearly not fresh when it was taken up to the air lines. Items not stored or packaged correctly.

I usually give it time to sort itself out, usually it does not, and then I’m off to the races contacting the overseers at INAC in Ottawa. I get good co operation from two of the store managers here, so it usually does not take that long before things get back on the rails. They know me at INAC by now.

As to if we [the consumer] are getting the full value of the savings in the program that I can not say. I have seen no evidence to the contrary, but I have heard rumblings at times to the effect we may not be, but that is for the fearless leaders who were elected to protect the public interest.

One aspect of the INAC program that is little known is that consumers can take advantage of it also. For example; I could place an order with a supplier in Montreal, have it trucked to Goose Bay, air lifted for the same price as the retailers get. The only catch is I would then be responsible for any spoilage due to weather delays, incompetent handling and the like. Believe me there is a hell of a lot of that.

Nunatsiaq News

This from the best darn news on line in the north. Works for me in Labrador too.

Nunatsiaq News: "October 27, 2006
The food mail farce
The challenge that Canadian North airlines mounted recently against Ottawa’s latest food mail air transport contract sheds new light on one of Indian and Northern Affairs’s most absurd northern programs: food mail.
The program’s stated goal is necessary and laudable: to supply northern communities with fresh, nutritious food at prices close to those in the South, using subsidized postal rates.
Calling it “mail,” by the way, is a bureaucratic fiction. It’s an air cargo subsidy program. Under it, food is handled, shipped and stored by airlines, not by Canada Post.
It’s also a dysfunctional mess. That’s because you can’t ship food mail directly by air from places where wholesale food costs are actually low, such as Ottawa, Montreal or Winnipeg. Instead, Ottawa demands that you ship it from ridiculous places such as Val d’Or and Churchill.
For example, if you do buy cheap food from Montreal, you have to ship it along a seven-hour truck route to Val d’Or before you can use the low food mail rate. The most likely explanation is political patronage: Ottawa’s desire to subsidize the ailing economies of Val d’Or and Churchill. The greatest benefits appear to flow towards a handful of business people who operate wholesale businesses in those places, not to northern consumers.
If Canadian North’s recent allegations are accurate, Ottawa may also be using food mail to subsidize inefficient airline monopolies, such as that enjoyed by First Air in northern Quebec and many routes in Nunavut.
Ninety per cent of food shipped under the program goes to eastern Nunavut and Nunavik. If it were made to work well, it could become a vital tool for combating our unbearable cost of "

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Whew, that sure is a relief.

Boy I sure am glad that Lorraine Michael of the NDP won in Signal Hill/Quidi Vidi. With all the hype from the head hypster and help from the townie media, I thought the PC’s may have taken the seat.

Congratulations to the winner. A low voter turn out again, a pity, seems democracy is on the ropes all over.

I do see it as a win for the little guy, as an advocate for the little guy all my life it gives me some heart to keep at it.

One can hold out hope that the electorate will come to their senses and turf this megalomaniac premier out next time around. From the perspective up here Danny is the worst government we have seen for some time. That sure is saying something after the previous lot he replaced. Never thought I would get to say that, but it is true.
I thank the Minister for WST for letting me use the word perspective. He seems to have a monopoly on it of late, thank you kind sir.