In the 199os an artist-musician and close friend originally from Haiti, Emmanuel Printemps, used to visit us regularly on Friday evenings and we would ask him to share his music with us and our other guests. We always requested one of his most moving, enchanting Creole songs, the powerful but sad story of the local butcher who lost his livelihood during the pig slaughter. As I follow the events in Haiti since the earthquake, I think of these precious friends from another time and place; they and their families are in our hearts and prayers.

Rural peasants in Haiti raised a very hardy breed of creole pigs which along with goats, chickens, and cattle served as a savings account. It was argued that from 1978 to 1982 about 1/3 of Haiti’s pigs became infected with the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) in an epidemic that had spread along the Artibonite River shared with the Dominican Republic whose pigs had caught the virus from European sources. At first peasants were encouraged to slaughter their own pigs but then the Haitian government proceeded on a total eradication program that virtually wiped out what remained of the 1.2-million pig population by 1982. Farmers argued that they were not adequately compensated for their losses. The more robust creole pigs were replaced with a sentinel breed of U. S. pigs that were not adapted to Haiti’s ecosystem or market. For Haiti’s rural peasants the loss of income due to the virus and the government’s controversial eradication and repopulation programs led to further impoverishment and greater hardship, ultimately resulting in greater political instability.

View

In two webviral posts entitled “The Hate and the Quake: Rebuilding Haiti” by scholar, historian Sir Hilary Beckles of the University of the West Indies, (Beckles 2010-01-19) that are now circling the globe , we need to do some memory work before we conclude that Haitians are the architects of their own impoverishment.

In this seminal retelling of Haiti’s history,  (Beckles 2010-01-19) reminds us all that when Haiti provided freedom and the right of citizenship to any person of African descent who arrived on the shores of the newly formed Haitian republic (1805), the newly formed nation-state (1804) was strategically punished by Western countries, through economic isolation ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).

From 1805 through 1825 Haiti was completely denied access to world trade, finance, and institutional development in “the most vicious example of national strangulation recorded in modern history ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).”

In 1825 in an attempt to be a part of international markets, Haiti entered into negotiations with France which resulted in payment of a reparation fee of 150 million gold francs to be paid to France in return for national recognition. The installments were made from 1825 until 1922. From 1825-1900 alone this amounted to 70% of Haiti’s foreign exchange earnings. Beckles (2010-01-) argues that this merciless exploitation caused the Haitian economy to collapse  (Beckles 2010-01-19).

Furthermore, when Haiti’s coffee or sugar yields declined, the Haitian government had to borrow money from the United States at double the going interest rate in order to repay their punishing debt to the French government (Beckles 2010-01-19) .

From 1915-1934 the United States occupied Haiti under orders of President Woodrow Wilson in response to concerns that Haiti was unable to make its considerable loan payments to American banks to which Haiti was deeply in debt. The brutal U.S. occupation of Haiti caused problems that lasted long after 1934.

Webliography and Bibliography

Beckles, Hilary. 2010-01-19. “The Hate and the Quake: Rebuilding Haiti.” Posted by Sir Hilary Beckles on Jan 19th, 2010 and filed under Caribbean.

Beckles, Hilary. 2010-01-31. “The Hate and the Quake: Part 2” Sir Hilary Beckles, Contributor

In the southwest of the city, trees were covered in hoar frost, Christmas lights shone through halos of dense fog and there were patches of black ice on the bridge across the Bow. My mind was far away even as I listened. I had googled Cambodia before we went to the dinner invitation, but nothing could have prepared me to meet this survivor of the “killing fields.” This gifted scientist, with an unshakable belief in God, was the sole infant who somehow miraculously clung to life while hundreds of mother’s babies lay lifeless beside him, around him, under him. He rejects the label of miracle child, preferring to travel the globe to study, to learn and to share, to either help or do no harm . . . with an intensity that can be vertiginous.


A group of Vietnamese-American immigrants compiled the following list of cultural differences (1978) shortly after arriving in the United States when they were living between two worlds. Dr. Douglas K. Chung, Professor at Grand Valley State University School of Social Work, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1992) included this comparison to enhance understanding of cultural shock that Indochinese refugees experience in Western countries.

EAST WEST
We live in time. We live in space.
We are always at rest. We are always on the move.
We are passive. We are aggressive.
We accept the world as it is. We try to change it according to our blueprint.
We like to contemplate. We like to act.
We live in peace with nature. We try to impose our will on nature.
Religion is our first love. Technology is our passion.
We delight to think about the meaning of life. We delight in physics.
We believe in freedom of silence. We believe in freedom of speech.
We lapse in meditation We strive for articulation.
We marry first, then love. We love first, then marry.
Our marriage is the beginning of a love affair. Our marriage is a happy end of a romance.
Love is an indissoluble bond. Love is a contract.
Our love is mute. Our love is vocal.
We try to conceal it from the world. We delight in showing it to others.
Self-denial is a secret to our survival. Self-assertiveness is the key to our success.
We are taught from the cradle to want less and less. We are urged every day to want more and more.
We glorify austerity and renunciation. We emphasize gracious living and enjoyment.
Poverty is to us a badge of spiritual elevation. Poverty is to us a sign of degredation.
In the sunset years of life, we renounce the world and prepare for the hereafter. We retire to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Notes

Dr. Douglas K. Chung, Professor at Grand Valley State University School of Social Work, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1992) included the following comparison to enhance understanding of cultural shock that Indochinese refugees experience in Western countries. A group of Vietnamese-American immigrants compiled this list of cultural differences shortly after arriving in the United States when they were living between two worlds.

Webliography and Bibliography

Chung, Douglas K. Taoism: a Portrait. http://origin.org/UCS/sbcr/taoism.cfm

Chung, Douglas K. 1992.


Honoré Jaxon

Honouring Honoré Jaxon (1861-1952) ocean.flynn (2009-12-03) Layered Images: PhotoShop CC 3.5

The life story of Honoré Joseph Jaxon born William Henry Jackson (1861-1952) is inextricably linked to the history of Canada, to the story of missing archives, to the history of the early North American Baha’is, the history of early social justice movements. Fragments of the “missing” archives have been partially restored through the work of countless historians, artists, social scientists, cultural workers and journalists. Jaxon adopted the cause of the Métis and worked tirelessly to build an archives that literally weighed three tons when he was evicted from his New York apartment in 1951 at the age of 90. His archives were almost completely destroyed and he died with a broken spirit three weeks later.

A timeline of selected events in the contextualized life of Honoré Joseph Jaxon born William Henry Jackson (1861-1952)

10,000 years ago or more The hunter-gatherer ancestors of Manitoba’s First Nations were already in the area at least 10,000 years ago. Even then the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers (where Winnipeg now stands) provided a natural major gathering place of different First Nations. All of Manitoba’s rivers—the Nelson, Churchill and Hayes—flow directly into Hudson Bay. The Saskatchewan River flows into Lake Winnipeg from the west, the Winnipeg River from the east, and the Red River from the south. The Assiniboine, joins the Red River at the Forks in Winnipeg.

1612 The first European reached present-day Manitoba.

1690 Henry Kelsey, traveled the northern part of the Manitoba. He was the first non-aboriginal to do so.

In 1738, Fort Rouge was built at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The Forks, as the junction was called, became the centre of a the fur trade.

In 1811, Lord Selkirk, from Scotland established the Red River Settlement with plans to increase agricultural production at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers.

1817 Quebec Catholic missionaries arrived on the east side of the Red River.

1837 The Upper Canada Rebellion was led by William Lyon Mackenzie against the ruling oligarchy in York (now Toronto), Upper Canada.

1844 Louis Riel was born near modern Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the Red River Settlement, a community in Rupert’s Land nominally administered by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), and largely inhabited by First Nations tribes and the Métis, an ethnic group of mixed Cree, Ojibwa, Saulteaux, French Canadian, Scottish, and English descent. Read the rest of this entry »


In the week following Harper’s apology the headline story of the Calgary Herald‘s Sunday edition was a special report on the youth suicide epidemic on Tsuu T’ina Nation. That Saturday we spent the afternoon exploring the Sibbald Flat area.

The camping tradition at Sibbald Lake which spans several cultures and at least 11, 000 years continues today. It is with cruel irony that this area should be named after Howard E. Sibbald, an Indian agent (1901-1904) turned Banff National Park game warden (1909-). He was the Indian agent when the outer boundaries of Banff National Park were enlarged to encompass nearly all the hunting grounds of the Stoney-Nakoda First Nations and although he understood that the Stoney “took the enlargement of the Banff National Park very hard” he became a fierce opponent of First Nations hunting rights. So there it is, visitors to this area come away with his name on their photos! This region is associated with some of the oldest archaeological evidence of paleo-Indian hunting dating from the Plano Period (10,000 – 8,000 BP) as the glaciers retreated (now revised to as far back as 13, 000 years ago), the Assiniboine hunters of the 1700s and the Siouan-speaking Nakoda-Stoney who probably arrived in Banff in historic times-almost certainly after 1790, and perhaps not until the mid-1800s but they knew the place well by 1870. Surveyors and explorers of the late nineteenth century typically turned to Stoney guides, and as a result many landforms in Banff National Park are still known by their Stoney names.

Howard E. Sibbald was the the Indian agent on the reserve when the outer boundaries of Banff National Park were enlarged to encompass nearly all the hunting grounds of the Stoney-Nakoda First Nations. In his annual report (1902) he wrote that the Stoney “took the enlargement of the Banff National Park very hard.” In 1903 he added that

“I consider these Indians have behaved very well under certain restrictions put upon them in connection with their hunting in the National Park; this was a hard blow to some of the old hunters who have hunted over this ground all their lives, but the majority see the benefits to be derived from this preserve in years to come (Sibbald 1902, 1903 Binnema and Niemi 2006)”

A Selected Timeline Related to Critical Events in this Region

11,000 years ago Prehistoric hunters chipped stone spearpoints to hunt in the hot grasslands. The Plano Period (10,000 – 8,000 BP) About 10,000 years ago the climate began to change and grasslands spread across southern Alberta. Mammoths and many other Ice Age animals became extinct, A beautiful example of an Alberta point. While other animals flourished including antelope and a new, smaller species of bison. This period, known as the ‘Plano’ period after the Spanish word for plains, lasted up to 8,000 years ago. http://www.abheritage.ca/alberta/archaeology/overview_pg3_planopr.html

1670-1821 The forefathers of the Nakoda Nation, identified as the Mountain Stoney and the Wood Stoney, lived during the fur trade era (1670 – 1821). “It is probable that all the Stoney Nakoda groups interacted and camped with one another during the pre-contact and early fur trade period, and gradually intermingled with other Assiniboine and Siouan speaking families over the centuries (Abawathtech.)

1700s Assiniboine hunted bison with bows. Aspen trees were already established. Prior to the arrival of Anthony Henday in central Alberta in 1754, Aboriginal people from the area were trading with Europeans either directly by visiting posts to the north and east themselves, or indirectly by trading with Cree and Assiniboine groups. These Aboriginal traders exchanged goods they had acquired from fur trade posts for furs, Beaver Indians at trading post. horses, food and other products. In turn, they then traded furs and other goods at posts for more goods that they could trade later. In this way European trade goods reached Alberta in unknown qualities for at least half a century before the first European arrived in person to trade.

1790 – “The Siouan-speaking Stoney (Nakoda) probably arrived in Banff in historic times-almost certainly after 1790, and perhaps not until the mid-1800s but they knew the place well by 1870. Surveyors and explorers of the late nineteenth century typically turned to Stoney guides, and as a result many landforms in Banff National Park are still known by their Stoney names [1] (Binnema and Niemi 2006).”

1875- Cattle ranchers had already arrived. Pine trees were already established.50 years ago Stoney Indian wove freshly-cut willows into the walls of a sweat lodge. There was already an open meadow.

1875 The Ontario family Andrew Sibbald came to Morley, AB from Ontario to teach at George and John McDougall’s mission at Morley. In May 1900, Andrew Sibbald’s son, Howard E. Sibbald became the farmer in charge at Morley, and from 1901 to 1904 he was the Indian agent there.

1880s Indian agents did tolerate or even encourage Indians to hunt for subsistence during the winters during the 1880s and early 1890s, and even later in more remote regions, but they believed that when a sedentary agricultural way of life was feasible for any given community, that community should be dissuaded from hunting. Thus, from the perspective of some Indian officials, the restriction of aboriginal hunting rights might be a blessing in disguise.

1895 Quebec established its 2,531-square-mile Laurentides National Park in prohibiting all hunting in the park.

1900 Quebec deputy superintendent general reported that the aboriginals’ loss of hunting rights in the 2,531-square-mile Laurentides National Park near their reserve was one of the important factors that led them to direct their efforts towards agriculture.

1900 The last known wild passenger pigeon was killed around 1900.

1902 Howard E. Sibbald was the the Indian agent on the reserve when the outer boundaries of Banff National Park were enlarged to encompass nearly all the hunting grounds of the Stoney-Nakoda First Nations. In his annual report (1902) he wrote that the Stoney “took the enlargement of the Banff National Park very hard.” Reflecting on the enlargement of Banff National Park, wrote “I hope it will be for the best, for as long as there was any game so close to the reserve, it was hard for them to get down to work.”

1903-02 The Canadian Magazine published its obituary for the wild passenger pigeon species.

“[L]aws for the protection of our fish and game we have in plenty, but laws that are not enforced, and which are not supported by public sympathy, are worse than useless.” See Binnema and Niemi 2006.

1903 In his annual report Indian agent, Howard E. Sibbald, wrote that although hunting restrictions were “a hard blow to some of the old [Siouan-speaking Nakoda-Stoney] hunters, … the majority see the benefits to be derived from this preserve in years to come.” By that time, more Stoney had taken up paid work as guides even in the national park. He added that

“I consider these Indians have behaved very well under certain restrictions put upon them in connection with their hunting in the National Park; this was a hard blow to some of the old hunters who have hunted over this ground all their lives, but the majority see the benefits to be derived from this preserve in years to come (Sibbald 1902, 1903 Binnema and Niemi 2006)”

1903 In his annual report Howard Douglas argued that,

“Moose were frequently seen, elk, and black tail deer, big horns, and goats were plentiful; now some of these have totally disappeared… [and] there can only be one opinion on the subject. The Stony Indians are primarily responsible for this condition of affairs. They are very keen hunters, and have always been, and they are the only Indians who hunt in this section of the mountains. For years, from their reserve, they have systematically driven the valleys and hills and slaughtered the game. Their lodges are full of wild skins and meat. From thirty to fifty of the lodges are continually in the mountains from September 1 till Christmas … [T]he old haunts are deserted, the sheep runs are falling into disuse, and the greatest game country the sun ever shone upon is fast becoming a thing of the past. True, within the last few years, there has been a close season in which the Indians are supposed to stop harassing the game, but no notice has been taken of the law, and in short time this vast tract of mountain land, abounding in all that is required for the sustenance of wild animals, will be deserted, unless the Indians are compelled to live on their reserves. Laws are useless unless they are enforced. There seems to be a feeling that it would not do to press the more radical feature of the law amongst Indians. I feel that we have reached the time, when we can take a step in advance, when we can apply the laws more forcibly than we have, without creating any adverse sentiment. Let the line be drawn now; if we wait longer, the game will be gone (Douglas 1903).”

1904
In his annual report Howard Douglas made an appeal for game wardens as the noted that with the expansion of the boundaries of the park, that there were increased difficulties in enforcement. What was not clearly explained in his annual report was that the new boundaries prevented the Nakoda-Stoney from hunting on almost all their hunting grounds! Douglas called for “the establishment of a rigid and thorough system of game guardians to maintain the legislation needed for the enforcement of much more severe penalties for its infraction.”

1909-06
The Canadian government provided for the hiring of game wardens in national parks. Douglas believed that the Nakoda-Stoney were the most serious threat to the game of Banff National Park and he therefore chose Howard E. Sibbald as the first chief game guardian.

1910 In Glacier National Park in Montana, William R. Logan, the park’s first superintendent, was the former Indian agent on the Blackfoot reservation.

1911 The Canadian government passed the Dominion Forest Reserves and Parks Act, which established the Dominion Parks Branch-the world’s first national park service-and helped institutionalize the Warden Service of the national parks. This altered the boundaries of national parks so that areas that were not important tourist destinations were removed from the national parks. As a result much of the land in Banff Park was reallocated to a forest reserve. The Stoney only briefly took heart. In August 1911, the assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior sent a sternly worded letter to the secretary of the DIA announcing that it intended to enforce a new regulation that stipulated that no one was allowed to enter the forest reserves without special permission from the Department of Forestry. The documents suggest then, that the policies of barring aboriginal people from Banff National Park were rooted primarily in the goals and values of conservationists and sportsmen. But aboriginal subsistence hunting also frustrated one of the central goals of the DIA at the time: the civilization and assimilation of aboriginal people. When he was still the Indian agent at Morley, in 1903, Howard Sibbald opined that “as long as they can hunt you cannot civilize them. I have lived alongside of them for twenty six years, and with the exception of a few of the younger ones they are no more civilized now than they were when I first knew them, and I blame hunting as the cause.”

1930s By the 1930s, few Nakoda-Stoney could depend on full-time subsistence hunting.

1991

1996 RCAP

2008 Harper’s Apology

Notes

1. Luxton, Banff, Canada’s First National Park, 49–50. For the Kutenai, see Raoul A. Andersen, “Alberta Stoney (Assiniboine) Origins and Adaptations: A Case for Reappraisal,” Ethnohistory 17 (1970): 48–61; and Theodore Binnema, Common and Contested Ground: A Human and Environmental History of the Northwestern Plains (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), 81–82. For the Blackfeet, see Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness, chap. 5; Brian Reeves and Sandra Peacock, “‘Our Mountains Are Our Pillows’: An Ethnographic Overview of Glacier National Park” (Glacier National Park, 2001); Brian O. K. Reeves, Mistakis: The Archaeology of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (Bozeman: Montana State University Press, 2003); and Binnema, Common and Contested Ground, chap. 2. The ancestors of the Stoney were among the Assiniboine who broke from the Sioux sometime before 1640. Some of their descendants were in the forests and foothills of the Rocky Mountains by the late 1700s, and in the area of present-day Banff Park by the mid 1800s. See Hugh A. Dempsey, Indian Tribes of Alberta (Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1988), 42–43. Also see Luxton, Banff, Canada’s First National Park, chap. 4

Bibliography and Webliography

Binnema, Theodore (Ted) and Melanie Niemi, ‘Let the Line be Drawn Now’: Wilderness, Conservation, and the Exclusion of Aboriginal People from Banff National Park in Canada. Environmental History. 11.4 (2006): 33 pars. 15 Jun. 2008 <http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/eh/11.4/binnema.html>.

Hildebrandt, Walter; Carter, Sarah; First Rider, Dorothy. 2008. The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7: Treaty 7 Elders and Tribal Council With Walter Hildebrandt, Dorothy First Rider, and Sarah Carter. Mcgill-Queens Native and Northern Series. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. ISBN: 0-7735-1522-4 408pp. http://mqup.mcgill.ca/book.php?bookid=1419

http://www.heritagecommunityfdn.org

http://www.albertasource.ca/treaty7/treaty/perspectives_elders.html


Attar Conference of the Birds This image of this painting by Habib Allah (c.1600) “The Concourse of the Birds” is available from the Wikimedia Commons. The original is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is an illustration of the Persian mystic, Faridu’ud-Din Attar’s allegory (c.1100?) “The Conference of the Birds” which I believe is also called Mantiqu’t-Tayr Language of the Birds. This work may have inspired Herman Hesse’s “Journey to the East.” It describes the seeker’s parallel journey to self-discovery, self-actualization, self-realization through the elusive search for God.

Tag clouds, Head in the Clouds, Love and Cyberdelirium

Attar is said to have met Jalálu’d-Dín Rúmí (1207-1273 A.D.) when the latter was still a child enkindling (sp.) him with the insatiable longing for the illusive and unknowable divine essence of all things. (I believe both these Persian mystics, who of course had great impact on Persian literature, also influenced European writers such as the German Romantic poets? Their work is important to me in terms of its philosophical, political and ethical implications during the period of colonization. But that’s another tag cloud.)

And I know she and I share a deep love for the Seven Valleys Haft-Vádí (1860). The Seven Valleys includes references and/or citations from Attar, Rúmí and Layla and Majnun.
According to Wikipedia, Kurdish poet Nezami (1100s?)’s famous adaptation of the story of Layla and Majnun (Leyli and Madjnun) from Arab folklore reads astonishingly like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I believe that Layla and Majnin are to the East what Romeo and Juliet are to the West? There is even a suggestion that Eric Clapton’s song Layla was inspired by this Arab-Persian-Turkish-Kurd classic.

My Favourite citations-within-citations from Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.

Split the atom’s heart, and lo! Within it thou wilt find a sun.

From the Wikipedia entry on Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

the path of the soul on a spiritual journey passing through different stages, from this world to other realms which are closer to God,[1] as first described by the 12th Century Sufi poet Attar in his Conference of the Birds. Bahá’u’lláh in the work explains the meanings and the significance of the seven stages. In the introduction, Bahá’u’lláh says “Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities.” The stages are accomplished in order, and the goal of the journey is to follow “the Right Path”, “abandon the drop of life and come to the sea of the Life-Bestower”, and “gaze on the Beloved”.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers