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Defending archeologists

Bartley Kives' Sept. 21 feature The mound builders (Sept. 21) presents an interesting summary of complex issues involving the Linear Mounds in southwestern Manitoba. Despite basing most of his content on archeological research, he makes a sweepingly negative and incorrect assessment of archeologists and leaves out important information on a local national historic site.

Contrary to the statement, "Archeologists are not historians. They don't believe anything," there have been many archeological researchers and teachers who have devoted vast amounts of time to interpreting early cultural developments of First Nations over thousands of years.

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Artifacts are one of the things studied for the purpose of telling the cultural heritage of a society. Modern history includes written records, oral accounts and archaeological research. The Manitoba social studies curriculum includes archeological research, and the Grade 5 textbook, in particular, defines and incorporates the archeological portion of Canada's history, including the last 12,000 years (researched and written by an archeologist). Archeologists are historians and they do develop many insights about Manitoba's ancient heritage and history.

Elsewhere, Kives identifies Parks Canada administering nine sites. Missing from this list is the Brockinton National Historic Site located a few kilometres north of the Linear Mounds. It was designated in the 1970s as the Indian Villages National Historic Site, and as with the Linear Mounds, efforts were made not to promote it because of the fear it would be vandalized. Parks Canada recently reviewed the site on behalf of the National Historic Sites Board and upgraded its documentation. The Melita economic development committee recently installed a detailed interpretive panel (written and developed by an archeologist) at this beautiful and important site, and the Conservation Department has identified it as an important bird-watching site.


Department of Archaeology

University of Manitoba


Going beyond materialism

Gordon Sinclair Jr.'s Sept. 21 column, Gen Y: If you're unhappy and you know it..., is enlightening not for Sinclair's claims to understand why an entire demographic is supposedly unhappy, but for how strikingly it reveals a complete disjunction between two generations.

As a matter of fact, despite the dismal economic outlook young people face, many of us still have plenty of "things." But we are growing aware that behind the glossy screens of our iPhones and iPads, there is only emptiness.

And when the power goes off on our devices, we are left staring at the reflection of nothing more than our own face staring back from the dark mirrored surface. The problem is, young people are searching for something that older generations were not even aware was lacking, something beyond the material.

Perhaps this is what boomers perceive to be our sense of entitlement -- the fact we want more out of life than they ever would even dream of asking for.




Ironic and ludicrous

Re: Strategy to push moderation (Sept. 18). It is ironic and somewhat ludicrous that the Selinger government is creating the opportunity for public consultation in order to encourage a "culture of moderation" regarding alcohol consumption.

Is this not the same provincial government that has been doing everything possible to promote alcohol consumption throughout the province so that in 2012 the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission's profit reached an unprecedented $254.3 million?

In the last several years, the MLCC has been immoderately promoting its product through expansion of its liquor marts, by entering the grocery and movie theatre marketplace and through its ubiquitous advertising in particular before long weekends and throughout the festive season.




Subjective and manipulative

Mark Milke's Sept. 17 column, Fort McMurray is no Hiroshima, is both subjective and manipulative. He appears to be threatened by an artist who is looking at a horizon beyond today's sunset.

At the heart of his column is the fact that one medical practitioner erred in reporting the downstream waste as being carcinogenic. Evidence abounds that the waste, in fact, is carcinogenic.

He doesn't dispute the fact tailing ponds leak, nor the fact they are located directly in the path of migratory bird flight paths. He also doesn't dispute the shelf life of toxic elements contained in the ponds.




Further atrocities

Francis Trueman's Sept. 20 letter about military interventions overseas by the United States is very interesting, but he could have also mentioned the atrocities committed by the Pentagon and the White House in other corners of the planet during the last century.

These included supporting fascist dictators who murdered 200,000 peasants in Guatemala, 65,000 in El Salvador, 25,000 in Nicaragua, about 10,000 in Chile, and many more thousands in Uruguay, Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines.

All this was done in order to protect the financial interests of multinational corporations, without concern for human life. What an example of democracy.




Registry still exists

The public has been duped into thinking that the long-gun registry is no more. Sadly, this is not the case.

A friend who has a small single-shot .22-calbibre rabbit gun received a letter from Ottawa demanding $65 for a possession certificate for that gun.

So have they just changed the name of the gun registry? Is this now a money grab targeting all gun owners?

If the gun registry is destroyed, where did they get his name from and how did they know he owns a gun? Seems like nothing much has changed.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 24, 2013 A8

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