Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 10, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
faturduy, Odob.r 10, 1970 THI ItTHBKIDGI 3 Margaret Luckhurst Thanksgivings Lately Brought To Mind the Voice Of One WHEN I was growing; up in rural Manitoba, Thanks- giving was regarded as the prelude to winter. The harvest was over, snow-fences were rolled out along the highway and farms began the prepara- tion for the long months ahead. In our household, it took mother a week to "get ready" as she called it, for Thanks- giving. It took her longer to> get ready for Christmas and because these were longer celebrations, but it she could be suffi- ciently thankful at Thanks- giving if she performed certain small, routine talks which helped settle the family into a new season's pattern. The house had to be tidied of course, and made ready for winter. My sister and I were given the unpleasant ask of cleaning windows before the "storms" were put on and this was an endless, wretched job which took hours of pain staking polishing and much running in and out to see spots we had missed. It was years before the efficiency of windex or any spray product and we had to fall back on an ancient household powder which, when mixed to a paste, had to be smeared all over the panes of glass, allow- ed to dry, then polished off again. It took long hours, lots of rags, and plenty of endur- ance to do a job worthy of mother's approval. We always ended the ..window cleaning chores with hands dried to a prune-like condition and tem- pers frazzled. While we performed these humble tasks, mother and the hired girls were finishing up with the fall pickling and can- ning, preparing pumpkin for the nine pies we needed for the two dozen we'd feed at the Thanksgiving dinner, and shining up the Sunday silver. In the evenings both mother and dad would pour over the fall catalogues making long lists of the necessary replace- ment articles required for win- ter; 5 pairs fleecy long draw- ers; 3 men's large toques; sev- eral pairs warm woollen gloves, sturdy overboots with felt in- soles; bottles of cod-liver oil, etc. While all these women's chores were being attended to, our big brothers were occupied ill their several hap- piest of wflich was the annual fall shoot. In those years game birds were in abundance and hunting, to most rural people, constituted a major portion of their winter supplies, as well as providing a skilful sport. So it was, every year, my broth- ers (along with thousands of hunting enthusiasts across the nation) would have their guns cleaned and ready to go long before the opening shoot. Then when the day finally arrived they'd be off with a couple of pals and their dogs in the vint- age pick-up truck and we wouldn't see them for several days. I never knew exactly where the boys went, but it was up in some unehartered northern marsh where, according to mother (whose feminine intui- tion knew about these things) they lived a primitive exist- ence, revelling in indigestible food, dirty wet clothing palling fabrications on their hunting experiences. It was a world of non-women which we neither understood nor had any desire to share. Even- tually they would return, ex- hausted, indescribably filthy, but pleased with their shoot which they would hang in the shed waiting for culinary at- tention. Alas, this was where my sis- ter and I came into the action. It was traditional in our fam- ily for us to have a feed of wild duck for Thanksgiving; after all, we had turkey sev- eral times a year so conse- quently it didn't present much of a treat. It became my sis- ter's and my duty to get the ducks oven-ready. I learned the art of duck plucking at my mother's knee so to speak. It's a dying craft I believe, and I must admit it is not a talent I am prepared to boast about today. However, if I had to, I suppose I could still pluck a pretty clean duck. Sister and I were banisned behind the shed where we held our duck plucking bee. Actual- ly, once we got into it we could do it fairly quickly and the time passed in spite of our grumblings. We had several boxes into which we sorted feathers. One box held ine down, which mother stuffed into our best pillows, another box held the coarse feathers, which mother stuffed into our cushions, and the third box held all the long feathers which were burned. When we'd finish- ed a dozen birds, mother would take over, decapitating, defoot- ing, and de-insiding. It has to be said though, that sister and I learned to do these indelicate tasks equally as well as our mother, for she thought it was something Every Young Lady Should Know, like how to set a table. These early experiences have stood me in good stead in my later years. I grew up knowing that there are innumerable male-oriented activities partic- ularly in the sporting areas, which are a mystery to the fe- male mind and hopefully will remain that way. No matter now liberated we become, the locker room hijihfcs see fol- lowing a Grey Cup game will not likely be duplicated in any part of the feminine world. It isn't likely that feminists will take to shooting parties up north in hunting lodges for the simple reason that women can't or don't seem to enjoy the "bonding" relationship that seems inherent in males. Hie idea of five or six women in a hunting lodge in some remote swamp is beyond my imagination. They would argue over the shower, find fault with each other's cook- ing, and cry if they accidental- ly shot a pretty bird. But some women, particular- ly those of a misguided libera- tionist turn of mind, can't ac- cept the fact that innate differ- ences between the sexes do exist, are desirable and should by no means be shared. This fact was. brought home to me in my early married life when we lived in a ticky-tacky sub- urb along with dozens of other young marrieds. fortunately, had mapied a non-hunter and was1 relieved of my usual fall ducking chores. But two neigh- bor couples, lacking my back- ground, practically came to di- vorce each time the hunting season came around. They wanted to accompany their husbands on their shooting ex- peditions! I tried my best to educate these two ladies. I explained that the hunting instinct seems to be an inborn characteristic in masculine make-up which should be allowed hi', rein. Af-. ter all, I said, the forefather of this land thought nothing of rising with the sun, shrugging into his buckskin, slinging his musket over his shoulder and disappearing into the woods to shoot his breakfast. In a short time he would return lugging a couple of partridge which his wife would quickly skin and cook wliile he set about his chores. I explained that the average junior executive still retains these instiiicts. Although he won't get out of bed to close a window at four, in the hunt- ing season he mil leap up eagerly and be off with his dog and gun long before sunrise. He knows full well that every duck he shoots will likely cost him about but cold statistics cannot dampen his enthusiasm. He is content to sit out in some remote marsh, cold and wet, romantically entertaining the premise that he too is "pro- viding for his and he wards of the chill with gulps of V.O. Don't fight it, I ad- vised, it's a male prerogative, like growing beards. .But these ladies wouldn't lis- ten. They' badgered and nagged ..to go along with their hus- .bands until finally, one fall the .poor fellows agreed that okay, they could tag along provided the women prepared and cook- ed the ducks their husbands bagged.' My husband and I allowed ourselves to be talked into going along for moral support, .but whose, we weren't sure. My better half spent all his time stretched out in front of the fire in the draughty lodge, improving his mind with a pile of old Playboys. To their credit, the ladies tried. They didn't complain at the rustic outdoor plumbing or the balky wood range. They wrapped up warmly when they went for walks and didn't grumble at the sleety drizzle. But preparation of the fine mallards their husbands lovingly turned over to them was another thing again. I showed them my neat, dexter- ous plucking technique but wound up doing the job myself. Neither lady had ever cleaned a chicken and when I saw one trying to clean a bird with a large spoon and the other one trying to shake the insides loose, guess Who had to finally take over? All in all it. wasn't a happy weekend, but it proved to these young wives that there are still some sanctuaries in a man's world which should never be in- vaded by the female gender. I wouldn't mind a nice feed of wild duck some Thanks- giving. But only if they come to my kitchen with their in- sides out and their outsides off. Alluring Sight To Hunters f v 0- v ,.A t Zr v o, S x v N vs I fhoio By Paul Nedza Book Reviews Depressing Picture Of Indian Life "Reservations Are For In- dians" by Heather Robert- son (Lewis and Samuel, 303 pp., S3.75, are not for people; they are for In- dians. Indians are a non peo- ple. Put in such stark terms, the idea is startling and offen- sive. And that is what Heather Robertson apparently intends it to be. It would be tempting to think that a highly selective process was employed to bring togeth- er so much depressing material. Surely the reserves and Indians described are not typical! But that may be a defence against facing reality. The picture given of Indians is not flattering. Yet not many white readers will be encour- aged to indulge in further des- pising these people. It is all too clear that Heather Robertson believes the Indians have been tricked and trapped into the kind of existence afforded by re- serves. Treaty rights are a dismal joke in the judgment of the author. They guarantee the In- dians little else than status as wards of the government. The treaties were really deeds of sale by which the Indians ceded their lands to the government. Even the phrase "as long as the sun shines and the rivers flow" which seems to give so much comfort to some Indians is sham is not written in any of the treaties. Life on the reserves is de- scribed in considerable detail Enjoyable History "The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1S81" by Pierre Berton; (McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 439 pages, A LTHOUGH Pierre Berton has a long list of accom- plishments to his name, one doesn't think of him especially as an historian. Nevertheless, if all history were written in the vein of The National Dream students would probably think differently on this subject. Those of us who recall our Canadian history will be famil- iar with the story of the building of the CPR and all the political ramifications involved. The West was a long long way from the powers of government and indifferent politicians who did not share John A. Macdonald's vision of a country extending from sea to sea. All the drama of the era is skilfully told by Berton who somehow manages to make the book read like a historical whodunit. The cast of charac- ters includes the politicians John A. Tupper, and the vacil- lating Mackenzie; it includes the men with the money who occasionally threw their weight around and, pinched pennies; it includes, thousands of tough navvies who laid the tracks through bog and bush, establishing their own code of non-ethics in proper little towns along the way. In sum, this is a dandy book, well researched and entertain- ingly written. It might even in- spire the more scholarly, pro- fessional historians to revamp tlwir plodding styles and intro- duce a little leaver, into their heavy facts. I'm, looking for- ward fo the next volume which will tell the story of the open- ing of the west, following the laying of steel. MARGARET LUCKHURST for Hay Lake In Alberta and for Norway House, The Pas, and Roseau in Manitoba. Servicing the Indians is devastatingly de- noted as an "industry" for white men. At Norway House, says Miss Robertson, "allowing them- selves to be cared for is the daily occupation" of the Indians. Refusing to be entirely pas- sive in the face of this demean- ing setup, the Indians have de- vised tlie technique of the "Drink-in." Using the Gleichen- Cluny situation as the basis of her discussion of alcoholic ex. cesses, Miss Robertson ad- vances the provocative thesis that Indian drinking is a way of getting back at the white men. Using the study of sociologi s t John Steinbring, she argues that Indian drunks are not typical alcoholics. "The Indians' drunk- enness has a stagey, exaggerat- ed quality, as if they are will- ing themselves to get drunk, play-acting at being drunken In- dians." There may be some who will argue that Miss Robertson's eight months' "off and on" in- vestigation hardly qualifies her to be an authority on the sub- ject of Indians. Some things in the book are questionable. How, for instance, did Miss Robert- son learn so much about tlie "gossip industry" at Norway House when the Indians do not trust white people and clam up when they are around? And how could epidemics carry off "hun- dreds of children every year" at the same Norway House when the total population is only a few hundred? Also Steve Seenie of the Roseau reserve must be a very unusual person if he can drive 'lildrcn to kindergarten, act as janitor for the band hall, handle most reserve problems and yet spend "all" his time in Dominion City near the re- serve! Such apparent exaggerations and deficiencies are really in- consequential. The book is de- signed to make an impact and it succeeds. But no solution is offered. Who knows if there is a solution? The federal govern- ment proposed to phase out the reserve system and make the Indians first class citizens but they don't seem to want that. Why they want to keep their wretched reserves beats they really are as bad as this book makes them out to be. Heather Robertson is a radio producer at CBC Winnipeg and was a reporter for the Winni- peg Tribune. She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba and of Columbia University. DOUG WALKER. Books In Brief "Sermons Not Preached In The White House" by Steph- en C. Rose (Cambria Press. J55pp., 55.85, distributed by Clarke, Invin and Company LW.) TT C President Richard Nixon's introduction of private religious services at the White House has provoked some caustic comment not- ably by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr who contributes tlie in- troduction to this collection of 11 sennonic addresses. The author is a young Presbyterian minister who is well-known for his writings on renewal in ihe church. Here he has turned his attention to renewal in his na- tion. The underlying assump- tion is that just as Amos was unwelcome in the eighth century B.C. so Mr. Rose would not bo welcome at the While House services. -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY Age Of The Barbarians A dismayed Sunday School teacher brought me some discussion material for teen-agers, one- topic being "Masturba- with accompanying material ex- plaining masturbation away as a normal and harmless practice. Apart from it being an abuse of the body, it leads to day- dreaming which is mentally destructive. In this as in many things the church is aping the world. "If gold rust, what shall iron A tourist attended a church service at Jasper. She was in great spiritual need. She was profoundly shocked by some young people taking the service who turned it into a mockery of Christian ritual. As the Scripture was read, for example, a girl interrupted continually, saying, "I dis- At one point she put her finger across her nose and said "I'm going to A man then said, "Mrs. X has lost her dog. Let us pray for the dog of Mrs. X." The Lord's Supper was then parodied. So on the blasphemous "service" went. In a Christian Church on the Lord's Day! The Lord's Supper Is also parodied in a bestial, savage, ruthless movie, a witches' brew of lust, obscenity, sadism and indecency. But was voted the "best film" at the Cannes festival this year. Is not the current Man- son trial a perfect symbolism of such an age of madness? Some months ago vandals broke into the International Piano Library in New York and set fire to worth of rare piano records, the electronic equipment (amplifiers; tape decks, speakers, et cet- the bulletins, subscription lists, and one of the few Steinway concert grand- player pianos in the world. Fortunately the firemen arrived in time to rescue many of the rare records. But what kind of hoodlum would so senselessly destroy rare and lovely things? The same kind1 of barbarian that sacked Istanbul, burned the library at Alexandria, looted Home, de- stroyed Carthage blew up the cathedrals in Kiev, or on countless occasions hi his- tory have turned the world into helL Recently someone blew up the second oldest building in Bermuda, lovely old Devonshire Church. It is being rebuilt, but the furnishings are irreplaceable. This is a barbarian world. The United Nations was founded 25 years age, herald- ed as "the greatest event since the Last Supper" by the New York Post, by "pec-, pies determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" and "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights." Today the UN is crippled by fi- nancial problems, its authority derided by nations involved in the Middle East crisis, undermined by the wickedness that led to the Vietnam War, made ridiculous by pol- iticians' shabby lies, from which lying American presidents have not been ex- empt, and at'times seems fated to go the way of the League of Nations. Certainly unless the escalation of the arms race can be halted and reversed mankind is headed for a fearful doomsday. But doomsday is reaching out for count- less thousands in our increasingly addic- tive society. In the United States along the alcohol-related highway, deaths reach nearly a year, not counting the wounded which must be five times that number. Such contempt for human life is reflected in the reports from Vietnam where so many "kills" are reported. And churchgoing men still justify the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and K'agasM as an expedient and quick way of ending the war! A member of Parliament showed the way to forget all this barbarism. When it was mentioned to him that the taxpayer's money might be wasted on some "works of art" in the National Gallery, such as a pile of rug cuttings against the wall, he blamed the people who went to see it. He never went near the place! So the solution is to keep eyes and ears closed! A lot of "good" citizens doubtless stayed home on the day of the Crucifixion. The Country Of The Young By Richard J. Needham, in The Globe and Mail yM H ERE'S a 16-year-old Toronto boy who doesn't seem too well adjusted to what is called society. After he was con- victed of stealing nine rock records from a Bloor Street store, Judge Donald Gra- ham put him on probation on two condi- that he join the summer militia program and (2) that he return to school hi the fall. The long-haired youth said af- terwards that'he would defy the order: "I don't mind going back to school, but I sure as hell don't want to join the army. I don't like the discipline. I don't like the idea of wearing one of those zoot suit uni- forms. And I don't want to be woken up early in the morning. What really worries me most, man, is that they'll cut my hair off." Army officials said the boy couldn't be forced to join if he didn't want to join; and even if he did want to join, could be turned down. Since the boy is over 16, the schools can't be forced to take him, either. Now Judge Graham says that the boy can meet his terms of probation by getting a job. If this boy were an isolated case, we could forget about him; if there were only a few like him, we could forget about them, too. Every society not only can, but should, support a number of misfits, eccentrics, whatever you want to call them. But what do you do when you've got thousands upon thousands of young men and women who insist on their right to a parasitic life-style, one which defies and negates not only normal social custom but the law itself? Wittingly or unwittingly we in North1 Am- erica have produced a veritable army of young people who not only refuse to work, but demand and exercise the right to go nude in public, have sexual intercourse in public, use all manner of drugs in public, and from time to time engage in vio- lence and destruction. They demand the right to be fed by others, to be housed by others, to be entertained by others, to be treated by others for the damage they do to themselves through drugs, promis- cuity, etc. They demand the right to assemble any- where they please, in whatever numbers, and have all the necessary facilities laid on for them by other people. They de- mand tlie right to make a horrible mess example, at have oth- er people clean it up for them. "Mounds of trash and litter scattered over the grassy hills gave Mosport the appearance of a massive garbage dump. An estimated tons of garbage had still not been picked up by dusk even though the promoters promised that 300 volunteers would start the gigantic chore first thing Monday morning. As workmen dismantled the giant scaffold stage where the entertainers played, a call sounded for garbage volunteers over the park's public address system. The response was mini, mal." What do you call these pies, druggies, dropouts, parasites? So- ciologists often refer to them as being alienated, and there's the key. The word alien means foreign, and what are these kids but foreigners making up a foreign country within Canada, within the United States? They're a nation in them- selves, a nomadic nation, almost compar- able to the Mongols who showed up in Central Europe from time to time. Of the pot-pushing, love-making, mide-swtmming youngsters who invaded and occupied the Powder Ridge area in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago, Time remarked: "In their enjoyment, they've posed a new concept that may worry au- thorities elsewhere. If youngsters just want to gather and groove together by the thousands, even without music, who is to stop them? And The answer, I think, was supplied by Rudy Platiel in a recent Globe and Mail. Writing of Mosport, he said, "It's a city of with its own laws, codes, and city without policemen. Here, people show only mild amusement at the 15-year-old girl who walks around wear- ing nothing, but smiling and carrying a loaf of bread." Perhaps the time has come to recognize these kids as constituting, in their massive alienation, a foreign city or country. Per- haps the time has come to put that aliena- tion on a geographical, no less than a so- ciological, basis. Perhaps the time has come when we should tell them, "You re- ject our laws, our standards, our way of life. Well and good, you are possibly right, but kindly stop bugging and exploiting us. Go and set up your own society, and see if you can do a better job than we have." There's lots of room in North America, in Canada especially. Why not give them a large tract of land where they can do exactly as they it's sex, drugs, booze, rock music, or just lying around? They could have their own gov- ernment if any, their own laws if any, their own police if any, their own means of supporting themselves. Then, perhaps, they'd be happy; or perhaps they wouldn't, But the experiment is surely worth trying. Northern Saskatchewan, any- body? HI Settle For That By Doug Walker WHEN I came out of church one Sunday morning recently, I met Jeanne Frame. Jeanne was featured .as a wearer of wigs in one of those friendly fillers some weeks back but doesn't seem to ap- preciate the honor! She said she wasn't going to speak to me lest I find something more to writa about. Instead of speaking, she said that henceforth she would only smile at me. I'm ready to settle for that. Jeanne has a lovely smile with or without her own hair.