Industry and government owe us a cultural centre

Writer believes payment for exploitation of resources is owed.


Re: Cultural Center.

Q: Does industry and government owe us in return for their profiteering destruction of the environment out of greed and for-profit bottom line hit and run, to line their back pockets with greed, to carve their pensions in granite while we, as community, struggle to keep food on the table and to provide our children with educational, spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional resources?

Industry should not be allowed this 100-150 years of exploiting our resources, to pull all resources out without reparation of some sort. I am in a community that has long exploited, by way of government and industry, our natural resources. This is the only town I have ever lived in that does not have a community center.

Not so very long ago (2012?) industry dumped 20 million dollars into our local college, set in place industry trained instructors to teach our youth how to diamond drill for work on the Alberta man camps, tar sands, oil fields or in their hopes to launch End-bridge pipelines that we did not want, protested, and shut down, but not at Madii Lii. J Trudeau would okay that and we are still fighting against this as this is where the main spawning grounds for the entire Pacific Northwest salmon are located.

Presently, we, as community, are in meetings with town council to develop a cultural center that has not the funding to launch. Our town is very small, 5-6,000 residents. Also, a surrounding Indigenous population that has a time line history of 10,000 years. As far as I can see, no funding or even representation exists at present for the Indigenous to be included in the prospectus. I want to see the Wet’suwet’en, along with the community, industry and government, build a cultural center funded by industry and government as I believe we are owed that, that would include the Wet’suwet’en, a public library, museum, art gallery, genealogical society, convention center, radio station, theatre and so forth.

Ever visited a Ministry of Lands, Forests, and Environment offices building? Government offices building? Industry offices building? State of the arts — shish.

Ottawa has themselves a blood van that scoots around the parliament buildings enabling the ministers to donate blood. Blood Services don’t want our blood along this corridor, only our sinew and bone — and our prime resources. In conclusion, an old growth forest that once was termed ‘home’ has been reduced to kindling, and burns as such; reduced to kindling through deforestation that has exposed the forest to devastating wildfire, a natural forest phenomenon, but that the trees as big around as town hall and sopping wet stopped wildfires, and allowed the undergrowth to be burnt off, and stopped bugs, dead in its tracks. Now, wildfire doesn’t have a brain; doesn’t care if it is your son, your daughter, or your D-8 cat. Mother Nature is not a resource but the source of all life. We are reduced to kindling and it all burns as such; and, as I am fond of saying, even the fish know and they can’t even talk.

Does industry and government owe us? I believe they do. What say you?

Aileen Norton Swift


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