“This weekend POCHO Florida Burro Jefe Santino J. Rivera sent me a heads up about a Tweet featuring one of my editorial cartoons. I clicked the link and just about fell out of my chair.
The graphic in the Tweet was a side-by-side presentation of my cartoon showing a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan next to a photograph of a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan (image, above.)
Violet Clarke is a Métis (of combined aboriginal and European ancestry) woman who lives on a reservation (known as a reserve in Canada) in the town of Anzac, about an hour-and-a-half drive from the mining boom town Fort McMurray.
Though 86 years old, she recalls her childhood in this region vividly. Sitting in the eat-in kitchen of a mobile home that, from the outside, looks ramshackle, she recounted hunting for moose and collecting blueberries in birch bark baskets. They fished in Willow Lake. Her father made only two visits a year to the nearest town, Fort McMurray, where he bartered for supplies like cloth and baking soda.
By some measures, life is better now. She has a cell phone, running water, electricity and a heated home. But she says she was better off then. She says today the moose are gone, scared away by nearby tar sands (also called called oil sands) prospecting, extraction, processing and transport. She says the berries are not safe to eat. Mercury contamination has made Willow lake’s fish inedible. Even her water has to be trucked in now.
Video and text by Dan Grossman. Canada, 2014.
For his upcoming project reporting on Alberta’s oil sands with aerial photographer Alex MacLean. Alberta’s sands are the world’s third largest oil reserve and one of Earth’s largest industrial projects.
Listen to an unedited audio interview with Violet.
This is what the government does not want us to hear.
The League of Canadian Poets recently posted this interview with me over at their own enormously clever blog, for which I thank them! I’m reposting same here:National Poetry Month Blog :An Interview with rob mclennan We are so very pleased to announce that rob mclennan will be doing a special Po