Treaty-making in B.C.: Noble sentiments, difficult realities
In June of 1991, a new dawn was supposed to begin breaking over relations between aboriginals and other British Columbians.
In that month, at a colourful ceremony, Brian Mulroney, B.C. premier Mike Harcourt and aboriginal leaders heralded an era of treaty-making across the province, and created the B.C. Treaty Commission to help make that happen. Nineteen years later, only two treaties have been signed, with the Tsawwassen First Nation (400 people) and the Maa-nulth First Nations on Vancouver Island (2,125 people).
Resistance comes in all shapes and sizes. A friend was on a bus in inner-suburban Sydney when two small Aboriginal boys jumped on and sat down without paying their fares – the driver announced that the bus would not leave until they did. The bus didn't move, and the boys didn't move either. Minutes ticked past. The other passengers began to get annoyed. The boys sat tight. The driver called for back-up. A police car turned up. Before the police were out of the car, the boys had hopped off the bus and vanished. Pointless? Depends. The boys challenged the driver, and the driver lost. His bus was delayed and his timetable was disrupted, which was a result for the boys. Self-defeating? Probably.Weekdays, Creating Ads. Sunday, Invoking Spirits.
Sometime around 9:30 a.m. on weekdays, Itzhak Beery enters a second-floor office in Greenwich Village to preside over his piece of the material world. It is an advertising agency, the latest he has owned in a 30-year career. Five computers await him, each thrumming with software for graphic design. Shelves hold the awards he has won.
On Sunday mornings, though, Mr. Beery returns to cover all the practical apparatus with sheets. From a cabinet, he withdraws volcanic stones, candles, finger cymbals, bottles of rum and cologne, each with symbolic value. He arranges these on a red cloth, and lays beside them a carton of eggs and bunches of red and white carnations.
Urban aboriginal artists in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are creating what may be the city's largest mural.
The giant 743-square-metre mural is a labour of love for five aboriginal artists who have been working for a month on the west wall of the Orwell Hotel on Hastings Street.
Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/entertainment/Artists+painting+aboriginal+mural/3311985/story.html#ixzz0uWOWfsNJ
Maybe it’s the accent — he was born in an “itty bitty” English village that no longer exists and then moved to Australia in his 20s. It might be his hands, which are always flying and pointing and clapping to explain the points of his many captivating stories. More than anything, it’s likely the vivid, captivating stories themselves about his extraordinary life experiences.