you decide

This is a tale of two publications. Which to believe or trust? Which to keep or kill? It’s time for you to make your choice, press the appropriate button, and send one to a swift but painful death. Our candidates today?

  1. the National Post, a Canadian daily newspaper and and example of it’s on-going war-against-the-Indian campaign.
  2. the Lancet, a medical journal based in the United Kingdom.

Look at the examples below, then decide for yourself which one should please, please be eliminated with extreme prejudice (or because of it) ASAP for the good of humanity.

First, the NP (not quite BNP but close) and this piece written by Peter Foster of the Financial Post, sister pub of the National Post:

UNICEF recently “celebrated” the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the release of a report on aboriginal children’s health. To nobody’s surprise, it was considerably worse than that of the average Canadian child. The report’s authors call for more “culturally appropriate health and social services.” But if you’re sick, do you want the latest medical science, or something “culturally appropriate?”

Then take a gander at an excerpt from a news release from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research hailing an upcoming article in The Lancet:

The health problems of Indigenous peoples around the world are intimately tied to a number of unique factors, such as colonization, globalization, migration, and loss of land, language and culture. These factors remain even after the “typical” social problems facing the poor, such as inadequate housing, unemployment, and low education levels are addressed, according to Dr. Malcolm King, lead author of a paper to be published tomorrow in the Lancet, a prestigious UK medical journal.

The (B)NP again:

Instead of acknowledging that traditional native culture is relatively primitive, since it is based on a stone age hunter-gatherer lifestyle, fictions are perpetrated that it is somehow “different but equal” to modern technological society, or even superior because it contains much that we have allegedly “lost.”

The Lancet again:

“Wellbeing for Aboriginal Peoples is more than physical health or absence of disease, it’s about ‘being alive well’ or ‘mno bmaadis’ as they say in the Anishinabek language,” says King.

“That’s why factors like retention of Aboriginal languages, cultural practices, self determination, and respect for Elders is so important,” King continues. “And that’s why we have so much to do to repair the damage done by so many disruptive assimilationist practices in the past, such as cutting off children from their families at residential schools, or suppression of cultural practices that conflicted with European ideas.”

Then again, if the National Post didn’t exist anymore, where would people like Joe Quesnel, Peter Foster, or Jonathan Kay be able to spout their outdated, racist vile, and repugnant crap? Macleans?

Shmo-NOTE: After much deliberation, I’ve decided to strike one word from my last paragraph (above) and replace it with others. I’ve replaced the contentious word to remove any confusion as to intent.

I received a complaint (see below in comments) and threat of legal action. The threat got my back up. I received a lot of encouragement, including a comment from a veteran newspaper editor and journalism professor that nothing in my original postings was anything but opinion.

The individual voluntarily lifted his legal threat before everyone I’d approached for feedback could reply. However, the issue was complicated by his requests for further revisions and even notification before I post any new material that might bear his name. Obviously, and he should have known better, there was no way in hell that I would allow him the right to revise anything I’d already written, or give prior approval and notification on anything I might write in the future.

He’s also asked to discuss things in private. Not likely. I consider him a fundamentally dishonest and despicable character. In the immortal words of John Cleese: Now go away, or I shall fart in your general direction!



Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism, racism

7 responses to “you decide

  1. Throbbin

    The thing about the (B)NP is that it’s writers have likely never spent time in an aboriginal community. It’s hard to put into words what exactly makes the idea of ‘health’ a broader, more open, less constricted notion in an aboriginal community.

    Some of the healthiest people I know (in the broader sense of the term) live in overcrowded housing, smoke like chimneys, and never go to see a doctor. And yet, they would challenge health-nut marathon runners in endurance and general well-being. Their mental and emotional stability is on par with buddhist monks and the most accomplished University Professors. And their diet would make most vegetarians cringe, yet would prove to be one of the healthiest diets in the world.

  2. shmohawk

    Those at (B)NP seem to accept that other factors contributes to health or may lead to disease or ill-health – that it’s more than just physical well-being. Yet, when when they speak of some of these very same factors to the health of Indigenous peoples, these factors are suddenly nonsense. That, to me, is the very definition of a racist assumption.

    BTW, despite your words, I am not going to take up smoking ever again, or ever – ever – live in an overcrowded house again. 😉

  3. Joseph Quesnel


    First the legal issues: On July 3, 2009, you wrote these statements on your blog: “Then again, if the National Post didn’t exist anymore, where would people like Joe Quesnel, Peter Foster, or Jonathan Kay be able to spout their outdated racist crap? Macleans?”

    You will remove the offending portions that refer to my writings as “racists” or I will pursue legal action against you, as this is a false allegation. I have never said anything “Racist” against indigenous people. I will require a response from you. You cannot hide in blogosphere and make irresponsible claims about other people.

    Second, your post on the AFN race is quite confusing. First, you do not actually post anything I’ve written about the AFN so that your “loyal readers” actually see what I wrote, so they can make up their own mind, and second, I have never implied that the AFN is a national government for First Nations. It purports to “represent First Nation citizens across Canada” and this is how I judge them.

  4. Joseph Quesnel


    I appreciate the good will gesture. The reason I wanted to discuss the libel matter in private was to avoid any further tensions and to possibly resolve things amicably. I never intended the privacy thing as a way to control what you were going to say about me or my writings. I voluntarily withdrew the threat as a good will gesture. I never asked for the right to revised anything you had written. My one concern was the R word. Anything else is fair game. Criticize on!
    I don’t know how any of this makes me “fundamentally dishonest” or “despicable,” but if you need to vent and insult, go ahead and get it out of your system. I responded to your criticism; you should not be surprised.
    Obviously people care what others write about them, so that is why I have responded at all to your postings.

  5. shmohawk

    Quesnel: “I don’t know how any of this makes me “fundamentally dishonest” or “despicable,” but if you need to vent and insult, go ahead and get it out of your system.”

    I will. In good time, I will. Until then, vacate the premises.

  6. Sylvia Vollenhoven

    Hi Danny,
    I have been following your blog from the safe distance of South Africa. I love the flurry you’ve caused but I must admit a few things… Whenever I travel in North America (I’ve just returned home thanking my ancestors for the sanity of Africa) I am astounded at what you allow white people to get away with in your part of the world. Just in the everyday run of things their ingrained racism is astounding. In South Africa we’ve faced each other, often with murderous violence, and as a result we are all a bunch of racists in recovery. In Europe and North America (especially Canada) there is a complicit and polite understanding that racism is a minor problem. I have grown a thick skin for these issues in a country where it is all out there on the surface. But still I am left gasping several times a day. The examples are many and I have started my own private collection. And, the people I meet and with whom I do business are generally educated middle classs types who consider themselves liberal at worst and pinko radicals at best.

    I am deeply impressed at the energy and passion with which you tackle these issues. It’s all so civilised. I recall fondly a conversation about bicycle tyres one evening at a dinner party with some out-of-line South Africans, discussing a fat cat Canadian mayor who needed more golf holes at the expense of ancestral land.

    Thank God somebody is standing up in the middle of all this bland politeness, dusting off the R word and putting it back on the table when we need it most.

    The best anecdote in my North American racist collection is a senior media executive asking me whether Africans liked dogs and when in a rush of polite anger I claimed to have a farmyard full of canines she said triumphantly:
    “But I bet they don’t sleep inside.”
    Now I know that is code for something but frankly I don’t care enough to find out what. And sorry to say this but when I read the responses from your opponents I just stop caring.


  7. shmohawk

    Sylvia. I think your ancestors and mine are talking to each other. Now if only the colonizer would listen to theirs.

    Hamba kahle. Happy trails. Skennen (peace).

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