Wednesday, March 5, 1997

Learning to live together

This week has been designated, thanks to a consensus among those powerful enough to make such decrees - who are mostly men - to be Women's Week.

Most such weeks and days pass by with barely a whisper of recognition, but the events of the recent and distant past, from the Montreal Massacre of 14 women to the typical caseload of a typical Yellowknife defence lawyer, begs more serious attention.

If nothing else, this week should give us cause to consider how each of us can improve the condition of women in society. Women are often leading the charge, but without the co-operation of men, all the demonstrations and legislative pleas in the world will accomplish nothing.

Yellowknife's Women's Centre is a good example of the path we must follow. There is no women-only policy there. Indeed, men are welcome at the centre, particularly at family-oriented events. This has troubled at least one woman who wonders if battered women should not be offered a refuge free of a male presence, and it's no surprise.

We sympathize with the plight of those so traumatized, physically or emotionally, that they prefer to avoid men. But the truth is both sexes must learn to live together peacefully and respectfully, and the Women's Centre knows that families -- whole families -- are among the best vehicles to that end.

At the same time, and as the territorial government continues to hand off the responsibility for social support services to non-governmental organizations, the mandate of the Women's Centre is likely to continue to grow (as it always has) beyond filling the needs of just women.

Like it or not, we may not be able afford to segregate the needy among us. Neither should we want to. (3/5/97)

A class of his own

Usually when athletes break records at illustrious events, the sporting world stands still for just a moment to reflect not only upon the current record holder's accomplishment, but also to remember all those who broke ground before.

Richard Beck's achievement in The Pas, Manitoba at the World Championship Sled Dog Race on Feb. 16. is in that class.

We are proud of him and we commend him for it. Having won that race more than any other musher is an accomplishment worthy of note. He's been named world champion six times now and we wish him six more. ( 3/5/97 )

An open mind

Dogrib Chief Joe Rabesca is quite right to be concerned about the caribou kills taking place on Dogrib land. Wasting the meat of just one caribou is against the law. Wasting the meat of 50 is a major crime that should be investigated and patrols may be started by the band.

But Rabesca is too quick to suggest the culprits are not Dogrib and implies with his comments they are not even aboriginal. If he has evidence to that effect, he should reveal it. Otherwise, keep an open mind.

Unfortunately, criminal hunting habits are practised by irresponsible elements of all Northern peoples, not just some. ( 3/5/97 )