Editorial page
Monday, April 13, 1998
Snowmobilers without borders

While 11 adventurers make their way from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay by snowmobile, 14 citizens of Kugluktuk are travelling to Deline.

In the first instance, the riders from both towns are raising money to finance projects involving the elders in Cambridge Bay. The delegation from Kugluktuk is going to Deline in order to accompany some people back to the annual Natik Frolics.

It is curious that while the current capital, Yellowknife, and the capital-in-waiting, Iqaluit, are fermenting with the chemistry of division, the people of the North are quietly knitting together relationships that reflect their common interests and concerns.

The boundaries marked on maps and in atlases are ultimately the result of political compromise and convenience. They may be intended to reflect the homogeneity of race or language or common history, but the reality is that they reflect the political expediency of the day.

And so, while the political theorists make theories and the geographers draw colored lines across maps of the territories, the people who live there go about visiting their neighbors, raising money for the benefit of others and having fun at each other's festivals, criss-crossing the invisible line that will soon officially delineate our differences.

In an increasingly fractious world, it heartening to see neighbors behaving like neighbors.

And as the squabbling over the division of resources, artifacts and benefits mounts, as it inevitably will, it will be valuable to all of us to keep in mind the example set by these travellers.

The things that really matter don't necessarily divide people. In fact, they can bring them together.

Our own Rangers

The North's Rangers represent perhaps the best example of how to bridge the gap between the military and civilian worlds, two solitudes that often have little to do with each other as we approach the end of the 20th century.

A country that maintains a military should not shun its soldiers. Neither should soldiers consider themselves part of a special sphere of influence to which ordinary rules of behavior do not apply.

Rangers, those hardy souls who know the land and care deeply for their country, prove that is possible to act in defence of the nation without leaving the ordinary world behind. We are humbled by their efforts.