LETTERS: Don’t dismiss water worries

Editor:

Re: Neighbourly water advice, Sept. 23 letters.

Editor:

Re: Neighbourly water advice, Sept. 23 letters.

It has taken me some time to process the letter to the editor regarding shutting off the water supply to the Semiahmoo First Nation.

The suggestion “why don’t you simply hire a helicopter to deliver water to your reserve? I think that weekends, especially Sundays, would be ideal times for helicopter delivery to your homes” is so offensive, I am surprised no one else has said anything.

As a nurse who has worked on reserves, and has seen little improvements in living conditions since the ’80s, I am appalled that in 2016 people still have this attitude towards First Nations people.

The idea that it is OK for our First Nations population, forced onto reserves if they wished to retain their status, that for the most part, with a few exceptions, could not sustain their First Nations lifestyle, to live below the poverty level in conditions that I for one would not wish to endure – to dismiss their concerns about running water, clean water, in such a paternalistic, sarcastic manner is simply astonishing.

It not only reinforces the stereotype that such conditions should be tolerated, it reinforces the attitude that First Nations people should be told what to do or not do to try and bring their standard of living up. That they should be treated like children who do not know any better and cannot handle their affairs. Nay, worse than children because at least we provide food, running water and decent shelter to our children.

Shame on every smirk and smile that ill-considered letter elicited.

Alison Prentice, Surrey

 

 

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