Friends, reading is one way to expand your thinking, putting your life and times into scope.
And, it is also a good idea to be curious, too. From a book I just picked up, George Orwell; a Personal Memoir by T.R. Tyvel, the chapter Education of a Genius talks about the English author’s earliest years, being sent off from a poorer family to a decidedly posh private school.

Going back far enough into someone’s past helps you understand the real conditions which form their eventual person.

They then take on a character you can identify with.

As an eight-year-old bedwetter in a harsh institution the pupil was caned, punished, much as we were in our own residential schools, simply for speaking our Dene language.
As an insight into the author’s mind, we find that to him, like many of us, all of this was more or less out-of-body experience. Mixed in with religion as it was, sin became not something he wanted to do. In reaction to his own confusion he simply disobeyed.

Working with the youth at home in Radilih Koe, Fort Good Hope, I’ve always let them know that they are not really criminals, in the career sense, even when being sent off to jails or prisons.

Two of Orwell’s classics, 1984 and Animal Farm are still as relevant today as when penned, three quarters of a century ago. He had a way of understanding the world before him as only a seer can.

Another in this front line is Nobel Prize winner, William Golding. His book, Lord of the Flies, about a group of teen boys marooned on a deserted island, warns of the perils of not looking ahead, and blindly trusting in faulty leadership.

Northern society is still very much a post-colonial one, with the latest news being more or less a reaction to personal feelings, not about present realities at all.

We see that in recent statements by leaders like Premier Bob McLeod speaking on behalf of our supposedly misguided Indigenous leaders being manipulated by southern environmentalists. Our Dene leaders have been at this long enough to have their own minds, period. The hoped-for oil boom, finally being put to a halt over a decade ago, is still being pushed by influential southern forces at play in the North.

Meanwhile, in the real world, 20 of our Northern communities reach record-high temperatures in a single week, because of climate change. We need to wake up and go green or wander off into the coming jungle.

Mahsi, thank you.


Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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