Monday, December 1, 2008

Giving the White Man Black Lung

There was a native smudge today in the Carnegie theater. Something was being burned, sage or sweet grass or something, but ventilation had clearly not been taken into consideration in the planning.

The 'cultural sharing' programme is run by a white woman, Diane, and a native man, at least the last time I looked.

When I dropped into the building at 11:50 a.m., the air was filled with smoke. I thought the smoke would just be on the first floor where the theater is located. But as I walked up the stairs, I couldn't breathe normally; it was like I couldn't get enough oxygen. I was trying to decide whether I should go back downstairs or keep going up. I got to the back of the third floor where the air was better, probably because the computer room nearby has it's own ventilation system. My lungs are normal, but there are occasionally people in Carnegie who are on ventilators or have health problems.

But you can't say anything about not being able to breathe because political correctness is as thick as smoke in the air. You're supposed to be grateful that you're even allowed into Carnegie as it is on "Coast Salish land". At the All Candidates meeting held at Carnegie prior to the civic election this month, an organizer from the Downtown Eastside Neighborhood House thanked the Coast Salish people as this even was taking place on their land. And candidate Andrea Reimer piped up to say she was glad that fact was acknowledged.

A further note on cultural sharing: natives who have made their way into the establishment at Carnegie, like Stephen Lytton and Marlene Trick George, are 'thick as thieves' with the white people operating it as a site where the poor are routinely denigrated and denied basic civil liberties. Some of the worst abuses have taken place in the Seniors Center where the supervisor is native activist and Carnegie staff person Marlene George. Stephen Lytton is a Carnegie Board member and after listening to public concerns about an elected Board member being blocked from entering the building for Board meetings, he suggested they allow "the man" back in. Other Board members ignored Lytton and he has never spoken out again on the issue.

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