Re: Looking back on a lost way of life in B.C., Burnaby NOW, Aug. 24.
I always love to learn more about the history of this gorgeous part of the planet. Jennifer Moreau did a fine job accomplishing just that in her piece.
Unfortunately, Chief Ernie George does not want to leave it at that. He either wants help to turn the clock back, or he wants to lay another guilt trip on those of us who do not have Tseil-Waututh blood in our veins. To both propositions, I have to say: "Include me out!"
Chief George had the misfortune to not have a mother to sign his seafarer booklet at age 15. My mother did. So, he could not learn what I did. I was on my way to enthusiastically explore the world I inherited, anywhere the old bombed-out and repaired tanker would take me.
No matter where I went, somebody would say, "You should have been here seven years ago!" In all cases it was meant as though things had been better in the past.
Returning to the little village where I gathered my first 12 years of memories, plantations where we used to harvest our Christmas tree had changed into tall timber stands and vice versa, houses were totally unrecognizable, etc.
Most people living there now teach at the university. They are no longer roofers, bricklayers and paperhangers. Willi, one of the buddies I grew up with, was the son and the grandson of the blacksmith. There were no more horses. So, instead, he was forced to become the regional fire chief, and was the better for it. Yes, there is change everywhere.
But, looking at Chief George's pictures, he is aware of that. He no longer wears the same sunglasses he wore on his first date, and, if he seriously wants to get the land and his life back to "before contact," good luck! Picking berries would never maintain the lifestyle he has become accustomed to. Besides, who would sell him his aluminum boat, his hearing aid and more, if my European ancestors had not set foot on the North American continent?
There is no reason not to be proud of his heritage. I would be. But he will not hear me moan because the B.C. Electric building is no longer the tallest in Vancouver.
Things were never that much better before, we were just younger.
Besides that, I am curious about what the environmentalists, have to say about his oyster bank. They told me, that the sea level will be up by five metres in 2025. The sea level is rising, but not that fast.
It is comforting to know, though, that even Mayor Derek Corrigan gave instructions to raise our dike by only 30 centimetres, not five metres.
Ziggy Eckhardt, Burnaby