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Marriage is a religious matter
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your report of the proceedings against the Government of the Northwest Territories by the two homosexuals, Jason Perrino and Colin Snow (Yellowknifer, July 8, "Gay wedding hold-up").

I may not have shown extreme sensitivity in the past to homosexual advocates as my faith and my position are continuously maligned by them and their ideological cohorts.

My views elicit their comments that I am homophobic and uninformed. A phobia is a fear that is a perversion of genuine concern for one's welfare.

I avoid speaking of perversion of marriage and the natural order of procreation except when our government is under attack by forces antithetical to the values that have made it credible and our country strong. In this case, it is the right of private citizens to advocate on behalf of a widely held principle that is under attack.

It was not the case itself that elicited Scott Duke's comments, but the fact that a judge would take time to consider the Trudels' right to intervene. His offhand comments thinly mask another rebuke to the freedom of speech.

No, contrary to Duke's comments, the Trudels and a wide segment of society are much affected by the NWT government's opportunity to either extend the exclusivity of marriage or to dilute its meaning.

Counsellor MacPherson's comment that these are legal issues, not religious issues, is wrong on two counts.

Marriage is a religious matter as much as baptism is. Religious authority created marriage and government discusses its parameters within that context. When "marriage" becomes something other than is defined by religious codes, it becomes meaningless or a metaphor. (A marriage of minds, e.g.) Marriage will always be the physical/spiritual contract between men and women. Neither the government of Canada, General Motors or NASA can change that.

Passes through Senate

Secondly, until the bill concerning same sex marriage passes through the Senate, she and her plaintiffs deem their views to preempt the Parliament of the country by suing our government for the law as it now stands. Is that really legal or is their costly suit against our government a frivolous use of the courts to promote their sexual ideology?

There will always be dissent to homosexuality being called marriage: the two are very different. But will such dissent always be legal?

Poor jurisprudence will lead to the reduction of freedom of expression. Only by preserving law - in this case the right to speak - will good people be able to remain free.

David Siemens

Photo picks on stereotypes
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I take exception to the photograph of the aboriginal man passed out on the street. You took no effort to protect his identity and took advantage of someone who is helpless and cannot fight back. Nobody deserves a photograph in the newspaper when they are at their worst.

I understood it was an accepted practice to obtain someone's consent prior to having their picture taken and published in a community newspaper. I believe it should be mandatory, if not law.

Interestingly, it is placed above an article on future housing for the homeless. Do you consider your paper may contribute to the homeless by serving up the same old stereotypes of aboriginal people causing renters to think twice before renting to aboriginal people?

This publication has become so high-toned and superior, yet I expect more from a publication where the senior staff and owners have such a long history in the community.

And I hope, if this man has young children, they are able to deal with the playground taunts other kids will have about their father.

Gail Cyr

Butt out of same-sex issue
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

This is a letter regarding the story that Ruby and Laurin Trudel are trying to block Jason and Colin from getting a marriage licence (Yellowknifer, "Gay wedding hold-up," July 8).

Ruby Trudel really needs to butt out of the affairs of others.

First, she was a key player in the Territories-wide smoking ban, and she doesn't patronize any of the establishments affected.

Now, she is trying to stop two people who love each other from getting a marriage licence.

Since when did she decide to try and play God? Colin and Jason are friends of mine, and though I no longer live in the city, I wish them unequivocal happiness, regardless of what others believe to be an immoral relationship.

Rob Foote
Leduc, Alberta

Three types of harvesters
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The story about Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.'s Harvester Support Program (NHSP) which appeared in last week's edition needs a few clarifications.

First, the people receiving equipment such as ATVs, snowmobiles, etc. are not necessarily full-time harvesters.

NHSP has defined three types of harvesters that reflect a world where it's nearly impossible to be a full-time harvester.

Categories include an intensive harvester who repeatedly, or regularly engages in all, or nearly all, of the various harvesting activities during the annual harvest cycle.

Active harvesters who regularly engage in some of the major harvesting activities during the annual harvesting cycle, and whose participation may be short but intense, and whose time commitment involves more than occasional participation or trips.

Occasional harvesters who occasionally, but not regularly, participate in harvesting activities are also eligible.

Secondly, the Government of Nunavut and NTI are involved in a partnership review, not an investigation, to see how we can improve our harvester programs, and avoid duplication.

And in order to avoid confusion, what was stated in the article as a deductible fee is better known as an "equity fee." There is an equity fee scale on the application form which shows how much equity a recipient would have to pay according to yearly income (up to $75,000) and the number of dependents in the household.

Lastly, all application forms are available at the Hunters & Trappers Organizations offices. Only applications for the Womens Role in Harvesting and Traditional Knowledge Enhancement programs are distributed through the Community Liaison Offices.

Donna Adams
Manager, NTI Nunavut Harvester Support Program

'Two-Spirited People' were revered
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"I know that there are a few people who are living these lifestyles yet I know that it is not common in the North and our ancestors would view it as unnatural."

That was a quote from a letter written by Western Arctic Senator Nick Sibbeston (No Mexican holiday, News/North, July 4). He also said that same-sex marriage is against aboriginal values when that is completely untrue.

Let me introduce to you the Two-Spirited People.

The concept of Two-Spirited related to today's designation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons of Native origins. Being given the gift of two spirits meant that this individual had the ability to see the world from two perspectives at the same time.

This greater vision was a gift to be shared with all, and, as such, Two-Spirited beings were revered as leaders, mediators, teachers, artists, seers and spiritual guides.

They were treated with the greatest respect and held important spiritual and ceremonial responsibilities. There are still over 180 native tribes throughout North America that recognize these people.

The book, We are Part of a Tradition: A Guru on Two-Spirited People for First Nations Communities written by Gilbert Deschamp, stated, "Traditionally a person's sexual orientation also brought gifts of vision and understanding. People who were Two-Spirited were considered to have a great gift of vision that went beyond most people's abilities. Because of the nature of the Two-Spirited person, it was believed that they could understand and help solve problems that both women and men have individually or between each other. They possessed the ability to see an issue from both perceptions."

Two-Spirited People were not only considered normal, but a vital and much needed part of the natural world and of the community as a whole.

If we're going to be speaking from personal opinion on what aboriginal ancestors are thinking, then let me paint you a picture of my opinion. Picture a tribe of aboriginal ancestors, including Two-Spirited People, sitting around a fire shaking their heads in disappointment - hoping one day the European influences will leave the aboriginal culture alone.

Clearly after doing research on this issue, this is just something else that the government is taking away from the culture.

With complete respect toward every culture, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, we should not be speaking for our spiritual leaders, but only speak for ourselves and spread respect within one another...after all isn't that what we all strive for?

Being a youth in this society of ours, it is disgusting how much hate is being pushed upon us from some of our political leaders/influences.

Crystal Newton/B>
Fort Smith

Keep the river clean
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I am an elected Amarok Hunters and Trappers Organization regular board member and I would like to make a statement that I believe in.

God gave free will to Adam and Eve and gave them responsibility to take care of nature and all the living creatures.

Just like the first man and the first woman, we/you still have the free will to respect or reject nature and all the living creatures.

Please don't use motorized boats that pollute the Sylvia Grinnell River.

Norman Ishulutak
Amarok HTA board of directors

Poverty still exists throughout the North
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

In this 21st century, we aboriginal natives in the North are still suffering from abject poverty and hopelessness, while a lot of young people are suffering from malnutrition and lack of education.

We are supposedly called Canadians, (supposedly rich).

I watch kids, doesn't matter where you go, playing outside instead of attending schools during the school year.

Because most schools don't provide meals, kids stay home and hopefully their parents will get welfare to feed their families to get them through the day.

You wonder why there are so many suicides among young people today, everywhere in the North, as there are not jobs available to them.

You can see the courts are extremely busy seeing the same people, young people, going to court, going in and out of jails, committing crimes over and over, as there is nothing for them to do.

Many of these young people, young couples, have to live with their parents as there is no housing available to them.

Many of these people tend to abuse their parents for their old age pension cheques. You wonder why we have to live like that, and be Canadians!

I hear Bob Geldoff trying to sway Prime Minster Paul Martin to dish out billions of dollars to Africa, which has better renewable resources than we Canadians - their plants and trees grow a foot a day and our plants and trees grow a centimetre a year due to very short summers.

It's sad that Geldoff, who appears to be a singer/writer that just couldn't make it, finds a way to become famous by trying to persuade Canada to give billions away, while people in the North are suffering from hunger, poverty, lack of housing, education, infrastructure, and health care.

Ignorant and uninformed individuals like him should be promoting, "Stop poverty in Canada's North!"

Prime Minister Martin should seriously look at his backyard first, Canada's North, before giving away the taxpayers' money to help alleviate some of the problems the North is facing today.

John Komak