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  • mel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    excellent column; thought provoking

  • Mr. Juanabee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Mr. Jones: thank you for an excellent editorial that challenged me to think differently about this situation.

    Until now, based on what I have heard about crime statistics and the like, I couldn't think of why anyone in Natuashish would consider lifting the ban. In the context of your article however, I can see how the ban is more of a band-aid than a real solution. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy solution.

  • taxpayertoo
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    It's a tricky situation; we all know how harmful alcohol has been to the aboriginal communities; however it is also proven that probation usually does not work. I am pretty sure that despite the ban there are folks there that are still drinking. Having the referendum however is not necessarily a bad thing. Might be something we should see more often. I dont remember anyone asking me to vote on the smoking bans or the legalization of marijuana. In our non aboriginal communities we dont vote on anything except at election time. I dont think the referendum is at all racist; perhaps we should be doing some of that ourselves. I for one would vote against alcohol, for the legalization of pot and the rights of smokers to have smoking areas wherever smoking is banned. But then again no one asked me.

    All the best to those in Natuashish good to see the people have a voice.

  • Matthew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Mr Jones:

    I appreciate you taking the time to write about a serious issue as this. While I commend you on your opinions I have to add in my opinions as a young Aboriginal from Labrador who has spent the last 4 years devoted to studying Aboriginal politics and social policy. Specifically I have spent much of my last 6 months devoted to studying the effects of alcohol bans in Aboriginal communities across Canada and let me say Mr. Jones, they are a good first step.

    An alcohol is just that; a good first step in creating positive social change for Aboriginal communities who have been historically disadvantaged. For as long as there is alcohol available in the communities, we will not overcome the alcohol abuse so as a first step in controlling the alcohol problem, there must be a ban. And yes, I understand that the historic disadvantaged argument is one that many non-Aboriginals do not agree with and perhaps are sick of hearing however our people were only officially apologized to in 2008 by the Prime Minister. He apologized for decades for maltreatment and racist government policy, policy of assimilation. Now if the Prime Minister apologized for decades of abuse at the hands of government, then isnt it fair that we as Aboriginal people take decades to forgive and to heal?

    It is not racist for us to support an alcohol ban for a community that wants it. You can call it a sketchy democracy but a majority vote put the ban in and I hope today that the people of Natuashish keep the ban in place. Under section 131 of the Liquor Control Act any community in Newfoundland and Labrador can establish a liquor committee and the committee can regulate who drinks and who possesses alcohol. The provincial government has put the power in the hands of communities to enforce liquor control, it is not racist, it is government policy.

    On a final note, the reasons why alcohol bans are predominantly spoken about in northern and Aboriginal communities is because there is a stronger sense of community in those smaller communities and when there is a drinking problem, it affects everyone and therefore they want to band together as one to fight the solution. The people vote through a majority to ban alcohol, it is not imposed government policy. It wouldnt work if government imposed this kind of policy on them because lets face it, imposing government policy on Aboriginal people certainly has a poor track record.

    Nakkumek (thank you),

    Matthew Pike
    Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador

  • Lena
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Mr. Jones seems to have hold of the wrong end of the stick. The impetus for the ban came from within the community as part of self-government; it is much more appropriate for the people of this or any native community to impose such a regulation than it is for Mr. Jones and his ilk to make lofty pronouncements from outside. It is wrong to insinuate that any ban imposed in such a way could be construed as unconstitutional, and it is Mr. Jones who displays a condescending attitude with the tone of his remarks. Self-government is just that -- self-imposed and self-affirming. It does not require the approval of a newspaper editor in St. John's or anyone else from outside, for that matter.

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    In the Innu culture, extended family and community plays a big role in providing solutions and support. This is significantly different from the multi-culture and individual rights view of most Canadians. Maybe, just maybe, the real perception of racist, paternalistic or condescending should be reserved for those who want Canadian way imposed on the Innu culture. If using extended family and community cooperation is part of their cultural way of doing things, why not let them solve their problems that way.

    Just because community infringement on individual rights would not be tolerated in other parts of the province or country, is not sufficient reason to disallow it to function in that culture. The rest of us are outside the Innu culture and it may be wise to simply observe; how well it is accepted, and how effective it is, before imposing our cultural way of doing things on them(which history shows did not work well).

  • CB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    This is a native community that has been adversely affected by mainstream society since the beginning. I say ban the alcohol and bring in the HEALING CIRCLE...ever hear of it? Educate yourself ...don't be afraid to open your mind and learn a little!

    http://www.iisd.org/7thgen/healing_circle.htm

    Our native people have to get back to their roots if they are to get through this and strive for a better life. I am not an expert by any stretch but i do know that for some native people, Healing circles, sweat lodge ceremonies and sweet grass rituals are all necessary for spiritual cleansing and with it brings clarity for a brighter future. There is hope!

    Alcohol is a drug that should be banned the world over for all the disease and relationship trouble it causes alone!

  • andy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Well said Brian, couldn't of said it better myself.

    I would draw a parallel to marijuana prohibition where fellow citizens, enforcement & governments have taken away rights and freedoms from others over a substance far less addictive, dangerous and non toxic than alcohol.

    People should not be punished because they use Alcohol, Cannabis, Cocaine, Speed, Meth, Heroin...only punished if their violent actions or behaviours justify so. Its time to live and let live !!

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Maybe we should look at other laws in the same way such as speeding in St. John's or robbing banks. Laws are made to help a community. North communities are isolated and the people have nothing much to do. Bring in a ban has given them a time out. But two years or ten years is not going to solve the problem. In a generation maybe the child will see positive role models and the communities can advance.

  • mel
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    excellent column; thought provoking

  • Mr. Juanabee
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Mr. Jones: thank you for an excellent editorial that challenged me to think differently about this situation.

    Until now, based on what I have heard about crime statistics and the like, I couldn't think of why anyone in Natuashish would consider lifting the ban. In the context of your article however, I can see how the ban is more of a band-aid than a real solution. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy solution.

  • taxpayertoo
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    It's a tricky situation; we all know how harmful alcohol has been to the aboriginal communities; however it is also proven that probation usually does not work. I am pretty sure that despite the ban there are folks there that are still drinking. Having the referendum however is not necessarily a bad thing. Might be something we should see more often. I dont remember anyone asking me to vote on the smoking bans or the legalization of marijuana. In our non aboriginal communities we dont vote on anything except at election time. I dont think the referendum is at all racist; perhaps we should be doing some of that ourselves. I for one would vote against alcohol, for the legalization of pot and the rights of smokers to have smoking areas wherever smoking is banned. But then again no one asked me.

    All the best to those in Natuashish good to see the people have a voice.

  • Matthew
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Mr Jones:

    I appreciate you taking the time to write about a serious issue as this. While I commend you on your opinions I have to add in my opinions as a young Aboriginal from Labrador who has spent the last 4 years devoted to studying Aboriginal politics and social policy. Specifically I have spent much of my last 6 months devoted to studying the effects of alcohol bans in Aboriginal communities across Canada and let me say Mr. Jones, they are a good first step.

    An alcohol is just that; a good first step in creating positive social change for Aboriginal communities who have been historically disadvantaged. For as long as there is alcohol available in the communities, we will not overcome the alcohol abuse so as a first step in controlling the alcohol problem, there must be a ban. And yes, I understand that the historic disadvantaged argument is one that many non-Aboriginals do not agree with and perhaps are sick of hearing however our people were only officially apologized to in 2008 by the Prime Minister. He apologized for decades for maltreatment and racist government policy, policy of assimilation. Now if the Prime Minister apologized for decades of abuse at the hands of government, then isnt it fair that we as Aboriginal people take decades to forgive and to heal?

    It is not racist for us to support an alcohol ban for a community that wants it. You can call it a sketchy democracy but a majority vote put the ban in and I hope today that the people of Natuashish keep the ban in place. Under section 131 of the Liquor Control Act any community in Newfoundland and Labrador can establish a liquor committee and the committee can regulate who drinks and who possesses alcohol. The provincial government has put the power in the hands of communities to enforce liquor control, it is not racist, it is government policy.

    On a final note, the reasons why alcohol bans are predominantly spoken about in northern and Aboriginal communities is because there is a stronger sense of community in those smaller communities and when there is a drinking problem, it affects everyone and therefore they want to band together as one to fight the solution. The people vote through a majority to ban alcohol, it is not imposed government policy. It wouldnt work if government imposed this kind of policy on them because lets face it, imposing government policy on Aboriginal people certainly has a poor track record.

    Nakkumek (thank you),

    Matthew Pike
    Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador

  • Lena
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Mr. Jones seems to have hold of the wrong end of the stick. The impetus for the ban came from within the community as part of self-government; it is much more appropriate for the people of this or any native community to impose such a regulation than it is for Mr. Jones and his ilk to make lofty pronouncements from outside. It is wrong to insinuate that any ban imposed in such a way could be construed as unconstitutional, and it is Mr. Jones who displays a condescending attitude with the tone of his remarks. Self-government is just that -- self-imposed and self-affirming. It does not require the approval of a newspaper editor in St. John's or anyone else from outside, for that matter.

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    In the Innu culture, extended family and community plays a big role in providing solutions and support. This is significantly different from the multi-culture and individual rights view of most Canadians. Maybe, just maybe, the real perception of racist, paternalistic or condescending should be reserved for those who want Canadian way imposed on the Innu culture. If using extended family and community cooperation is part of their cultural way of doing things, why not let them solve their problems that way.

    Just because community infringement on individual rights would not be tolerated in other parts of the province or country, is not sufficient reason to disallow it to function in that culture. The rest of us are outside the Innu culture and it may be wise to simply observe; how well it is accepted, and how effective it is, before imposing our cultural way of doing things on them(which history shows did not work well).

  • CB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    This is a native community that has been adversely affected by mainstream society since the beginning. I say ban the alcohol and bring in the HEALING CIRCLE...ever hear of it? Educate yourself ...don't be afraid to open your mind and learn a little!

    http://www.iisd.org/7thgen/healing_circle.htm

    Our native people have to get back to their roots if they are to get through this and strive for a better life. I am not an expert by any stretch but i do know that for some native people, Healing circles, sweat lodge ceremonies and sweet grass rituals are all necessary for spiritual cleansing and with it brings clarity for a brighter future. There is hope!

    Alcohol is a drug that should be banned the world over for all the disease and relationship trouble it causes alone!

  • andy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Well said Brian, couldn't of said it better myself.

    I would draw a parallel to marijuana prohibition where fellow citizens, enforcement & governments have taken away rights and freedoms from others over a substance far less addictive, dangerous and non toxic than alcohol.

    People should not be punished because they use Alcohol, Cannabis, Cocaine, Speed, Meth, Heroin...only punished if their violent actions or behaviours justify so. Its time to live and let live !!

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Maybe we should look at other laws in the same way such as speeding in St. John's or robbing banks. Laws are made to help a community. North communities are isolated and the people have nothing much to do. Bring in a ban has given them a time out. But two years or ten years is not going to solve the problem. In a generation maybe the child will see positive role models and the communities can advance.