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Dear Chief: Letters to the Chief from fictional persons asking about real issues

['Andy Barker']
['Andy Barker']

Dear Chief,

As a Status Indian, what do you think about the fuss over the Newfoundland and Labrador coat of arms?

Signed,

Head Scratcher

Dear Head Scratcher,

If the fuss is about the animal which is supposed to depict a caribou I could understand. As for the two Beothuks astride the shield, I always thought they looked dignified much like the American Indian on the Chicago Blackhawks hockey jersey. And they look a lot more dignified than the mouth full of teeth smiling Indian on the Cleveland Indians baseball jersey and cap. As for slighting the Beothuks, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor has done it twice. Shanawdithit as the official name of Centennial Field is being used this year for the first time. Less known to most people is the modification of the coat of arms of the Town of Grand Falls to signify the new town of Grand Falls-Windsor. The original coat of arms had a Beothuk wigwam at its peak. It was replaced with Windsor Castle making a colonial symbol the ruler of the roost. It took 51 years to have Shanawdithit properly recognized. What's the chance of ever having the wigwam back in its rightful place?

Dear Chief

Are there any wishes you have for tobacco smokers?

Signed,

Butts Out

Dear Butts Out,

My best wish is that they all stop smoking and save themselves a ton of money, enjoy better health, and thus cause less strain on our medical facilities and professionals. Until that day arrives I wish smokers would carry a measuring tape so they will know they are the proper distance from the entrances to public and commercial buildings. My last wish is for large signs - Take Your Butts With You - in smoking areas, to try and shame smokers to cease their dirty litter habit with butts tossed wherever. The butts around the side entrances of the provincial building on Cromer are just one example of an unsightly mess!

Dear Chief,

What do you think of the poor turtles in the oceans with plastic straws up their noses and trees covered with plastic store bags?

Signed,

Plastics Galore

Dear Plastics Galore,

Plastics are mere things, they have no brains. The biggest problem with plastics is their brainless users - people. Did the bag decide to be a tree decoration? No! Did the straw decide to float in the ocean? No! Thus, until governments are truly serious about enforcing litter laws and demanding industry devise systems to make sure that plastics are either totally recyclable or quickly biodegradable; then, plastics will be a problem forever and a day. How long more must we wait for an action plan?

Dear Chief,

Do you believe aliens visit our planet?

Lots of prominent persons believe we are not alone in the universe. An advance alien crew may have already arrived and are ingeniously warping human thinking to shutdown book stores, newspapers, and magazines; stop printing books; close libraries; kill postage; and make everyone utterly addicted to smartphones. Thus, when the aliens arrive in full force they will shut down all energy sources, and with the lack of access to phones, humans will exhibit idiot like behaviour; easy to fool, and easy to lead around by the nose. Others believe it's not aliens at all, just businesses, shutting down as much print as possible in order to maximize profits by operating in the online and wireless world. Sigh!

Dear Chief,

What's a sad sight you saw this year?

Signed,

Book Worm

Dear Book Worm,

This September marks my 18th year retired from Sprucewood Academy where I was part-time librarian, part-time classroom teacher. I have been rarely in the school since 2000, but circumstances this past spring had me there and I looked into the library. I was hoping to see a smart, bright, attractive place. However, it’s stacked up boxes and tired look gave me a sense of gloom. Make no wonder literacy is still a problem in Newfoundland and Labrador. So sad!

Dear Chief

Do you do much thinking about Muskrat Falls?

Signed,

Short Circuit

Dear Short Circuit,

Muskrat Falls may miraculously turn out for the good, a great hydro power project. However, if you listen to the experts on power rates and debt loads it is not a very hopeful scenario. As for not thinking about it I find it hard to avoid as the giant electricity towers all along the island's landscape look like giant crosses. And thus, those Danny Williams crosses are a reminder to me that as taxpayers we may very well be climbing a hill to our impending crucifixion, not in body, but surely financially and thus in spirit. The province's deep financial abyss could easily trigger a new wave of out-migration; loads of people leaving the happy province, forever. Meanwhile, our glorious federal government just looks on, no coming to our aid. Unbelievable!

And that's it from the Chief.

Andy Barker can be contacted at abdp9@hotmail.com

Other columns from Andy Barker:

Shooting arrows

Being in step

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