December 26, 2009

Aamjiwnaang celebrates torch relay

Native community opts to celebrate torch

By James BradshawFrom the reserve, the smoke stacks of numerous chemical plants can be seen belching out grey clouds, and a putrid stench from some plants wafts over the reserve lands when the wind changes direction. Little more than a kilometre down the road, the smell intensifies outside Shell Canada's Sarnia refinery, where a ghostly fog rises from a canal that passes the plant before emptying into the river.

But Chief Chris Plain refused to use the torch's visit as a soap box from which to air his grievances.

"I didn't come to be political today. I'll talk about the torch, but I don't want to talk about community issues," he said, softly and politely. "I started my speech that way, but I thought, no, I'm not going there. We didn't want this event to showcase some of the issues we have outside. This is a celebration."
Comment:  Chief Plain has more restraint than I would've had in his situation. He could've alluded to the problems, at least, without getting heavy-handed about them.

For more on the subject, see Torch Blocked on Canadian Reserves and Aboriginal Youths to Carry Olympic Flame.

(Kevin van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

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