Letters to the Editor: Sept. 11

Ogilvie Way; Fate of the Inuit; Why I'm on the picket line; SummerSound 2014 final jam

Ogilvie Way

In response to John Shotgun Stone’s letter on Ogilvie Way;

Ogilvie Way is an honour. Jim believed in paving the way for the future and helping secure the future of Kimberley in viable ways. Now think of this: Yes, it used to be the road to the dump, but also to Marysville and to the Fertilizer Plant area.

Now it also serves as the highway to innovation and environmentally safe technologies (the new solar energy area, for starters). Maybe someday even an area for those tall windmills that help produce electricity via the use of the wind. It’s another new beginning for Kimberley and area.

And that’s what Mr. Ogilvie was about, too. Let the focus be on the positives. You mean well for your deceased friend, Mr. Stone — that is commendable too. Perhaps a new hiking trail or even a ski run can also be named after Jim.

And a plaque in his honour could either be placed there, or at Cominco Gardens, or at City Hall.

Rhonda (Jackson) Brass (Another former Kimberley resident)

Cranbrook

Fate of the Inuit

On Sept. 9, 2014, Prime Minister Harper announced with great pleasure that one of the ships of the Franklin Expedition of 1845 had been located. He spoke of the suffering of the crews of the lost ships: cold, starvation, despair, cannibalism, death.

In “The Long Exile”, author Melanie McGrath writes about how the Canadian government, as part of a policy to maintain a Canadian presence in the high Arctic to establish Canadian Sovereignty, in 1953 and 1955 transported a number of Inuit families, citizens of Canada, to Ellesmere Island, 1,200 miles north of their home on the western shore of the Ungava Peninsula. Intimidation tactics, lies and promises made that were never intended to be kept, were used to convince the Inuit to make the move from their traditional territory.

They were supposed to live off the land, which they had been assured had abundant wildlife. Ill equipped to live in the extremely harsh high arctic conditions, finding little game and with no support from the government, they suffered cold, months of darkness, sickness with no medical care available, despair, starvation, suicide, cannibalism and death. Their requests to return to their homeland were ignored or denied.

This is a shameful part of Canadian history that has been called “one of the worst human rights violations in the history of Canada.” Following a Royal Commission in 1993, agreements were made regarding land and rights. A Heritage Fund was set up to assist survivors from the sixteen families who had been relocated and their descendants.

The Canadian Government has never apologized for their actions.

The book left me with a feeling of profound sadness. I cannot share Stephen Harper’s joy in the finding of the lost Franklin Expedition ship. And we too often celebrate selective versions of history, while ignoring the history of Aboriginal trauma produced by Canada.

Shirley Green/Cranbrook

Why I’m on the picket line

Anyone who was in my math/science class last year knows why I am on the picket line. There wasn’t enough funding to adequately staff and support students with learning challenges, so they clumped them into one classroom — mine (there were nine designated IEPs and others not identified). There was also one EA in this class that required four separate learning areas, because of the diversity of their learning challenges and needs (one grade 7 child was functionally illiterate).

Part way through the year we were given a grade 9 student peer tutor to help us cope with the grouping/learning needs. We also received support from our Aboriginal Education worker and the Student Services teacher when she was available (we weren’t funded to have our student service resource room staffed for all blocks). All of these people helped make a difference for the learning outcomes of every student in this class, and are so much appreciated- but they scrambled to lend the level of support needed, and at various times during the year we lost them due to other staffing challenges at our middle school. Too be fair, we were given additional EA support in the spring, which allowed us to focus on some of the other students with, as yet, undesignated needs.

Too often during the year I needed to reassure my EA that we were doing the best we could; we felt overwhelmed with our students’ needs. At our last Pro D. day in June I stated that this type of classroom composition must never happen again, for the sake of meeting students’ needs. Our principal stated that because there wasn’t enough funding and so few choices, it would happen again.

So, here I am on the picket line — for as long as it takes!

Wendy Turner/Cranbrook

Final Jam

On Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, we invite all performers who took part in SummerSounds 2014 to Grand Finale Jam, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. or so. We hope to make this an annual tradition giving the general public the opportunity to see and hear the performers one more time.

We wish to thank all the sponsors, performers, volunteers and everyone who came out to help make SummerSounds 2014 a huge success.

Louie Cupello/SummerSounds 2014 Organizing Committee