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Canada's Apartheid, by John Stackhouse
Stories
Introduction
  Nov. 3

Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies
  Nov. 3 (Saskatoon, SK)

Crystal's choice: The best of both worlds
  Nov. 5 (Mississauga, ON)

How the Mi'kmaq profit from fear
  Nov. 6 (Cape Breton, NS)

The healing power of hockey
  Nov. 7 (The Pas, MB)

Norma Rae of the Okanagan
  Nov. 8 (Westbank, BC)

Comic genius or 'niggers in red face'?
  Nov. 9 (Regina, SK)

Praying for a miracle
  Nov. 10 (Lac Ste. Anne, AB)

To have and to have not
  Nov. 12 (Moosonee, ON)

Trouble in paradise
  Nov. 19 (Tofino, BC)

A cut of the action
  Nov. 26 (Wabigoon, ON)

The young and the restless
  Dec. 3 (Ashern, MB)

The wireless warrior's digital dream
  Dec. 10 (Ottawa,ON)

'Everyone thought we were stupid'
  Dec. 14 (Salluit, QC)

First step: End the segregation
  Dec. 15 (Last in the series)

 
Have your say: Reader responses

November 3, 2001 - Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies

Below are the responses of globeandmail.com visitors to a story about two police officers who work the Indian beat in Saskatoon.

To contribute your thoughts, please go to the main have your say page.

John Stackhouse has written a brilliant piece on the native situation in Saskatoon. As a former resident of that city (in both the early seventies and the early eighties) who visits it monthly and now lives in a community where aboriginals constitute about 35% of the population, I appreciate the valuable insight he provided into the constantly strained relationship between the state - most clearly manifest by the repressive functions it performs, through the police and judicial system - native leaders, and the elected (white) city and school board officials. Thank God there are dedicated policemen like officer Louttit; we have natives on the Prince Albert force, but none with his level of ability and dedication. My two complaints about the article are that, rather than referring to Saskatoon as "Harlem on the Prairies," it should have been described as "Regent Park on the Prairies" (I also lived in Toronto, for ten years and fifteen days....), and no reference was made to the fact that the native enclave in Saskatoon is represented in the provincial legislature by Premier Calvert.
Brian Clavier

Frankly I am so disturbed that the treatment of First Nations people is still as bad. I lived in Saskatoon in 1979 and there has not been any change. I lived there for two years and was appalled by the indifference of whites towards the desperate need of natives. Shame on Canada for letting this to continue. Thank you for writing this story.
Barb, Ottawa

I have just read Saturday's article and you have just described the Indian community I know. For the first eighteen years of my life, as a white person, I grew up in Winnipeg's ghetto. It infuriates me when I see the money that is misspent trying to help the Indian population. The vast majority is going to enhancing the Indian leaders' lifestyle and very little going to the real problem.
K. Whiklo

I enjoyed the irony that the article entitled "Canada's Apartheid" by John Stackhouse had no input or extensive quote from any Indigenous person, community representative, or social organization that is mandated to deal with the problems he describes. The absence of this material makes the article preachy and denigrating, as Stackhouse only reinforces the stereotypes and highlights the problems that any casual observer would see. For those who would read only this article it would simply reinforce the negative images of Indigenous people in Canadian society today without addressing the real reasons why the situation is the way it is today.
T.J. Snow

I have lived in Saskatoon all my life and I would be hard pressed to recognize the place from Mr. Stackhouse's article. Saskatoon is a city of about 200,000 and is situated on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. It is a smaller city, one could perhaps walk across it in a couple of hours - in fact 20th Street is but a short stroll to our well manicured river bank trails. We know our neighbours, and most of us have a profound understanding of the troubles about 20th Street, as well as The Stroll. Law abiding, peaceful citizens don't normally find themselves in the drunk tank on a Saturday night.
Anthony Dunn

Your feature, "Harlem on the Prairies" , is interesting and thoughtful; however, it tells one minor part of the urban Aboriginal experience. I hope you also take the time to examine the hopeful side. Edmonton has approximately 35,000 Aboriginal citizens. My guess would be that the lion's share of this population do not share the experience of "Hair Spray" Jerry. Most of the Aboriginal people I know are law students, professors, teachers, business people, nurses, oilfield workers, and artists. I would put it to you and other readers that the "special status" sought by most Aboriginal Canadians is two fold: that they simply have the chance be taken at face value, and that Canada finally honour the promises we made long ago in the Treaties, contracts from which our nation has benefitted immensely. I will follow you feature closely.
Sincerely, C. Leonard

I read the full story in Saturday's G&M. As I lived in Saskatoon as a student in the early 1970s, I was shocked to hear what life was like for so large a part of the city's current population. This was an excellent story, and I look forward to reading additional installments. I believe natives should have the same rights as other Canadians, but also the same privileges enjoyed by the majority culture.
Gary Gerber

As a regular hard copy and on-line reader of the Globe and Mail I congratulate you on the series Canada's Apartheid. Thank you for tackling this tough and touchy issue. My interest in the article on Saskatoon stemmed from my years spent at University there and in visiting there for holidays. My only "complaint" is that I remember 20th Street, not 20th Avenue as mentioned in several places in the article (Note: this error was corrected on the Web version) but perhaps it is my memory that is faulty and not that of Mr. Stackhouse. I look forward to reading the entire series.
Rodney McLean, Moose Jaw, SK

I would just like to point out a few of the mistakes in John Stackhouse's first article "Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies". The street he referred to as 20th Avenue, is actually 20th Street. The river that flows through our city is the South Saskatchewan, not the North Saskatchewan as he suggested (Note: These two errors were corrected on the Web version). These may seem like minor details, but to me they illustrated the fact that Stackhouse came to our community as an outsider with little previous knowledge. Still he felt he had the authority to write the article he did, making sweeping generalizations and judgments. He didn't speak to a variety of members of the community, nor explore the city outside of its most desperate neighborhood. As a citizen of Saskatoon I am well aware of the divisions in our community, but Stackhouse's article did nothing to illuminate the complex issues involved. It might have been a welcome opportunity to generate dialogue within our city, but I am afraid it will only serve to further divide.
Dionne Lapointe-Bakota

What a shocking story that courageously paints the dark side of Saskatoon. Saskatoon is my home and I am an Indian woman. It hurts to think that some Canadians would believe Indians' special status is something that should be denied us. Our special status is the reward we inherited for our ancestors' pain and suffering. It is the payment for our ancestors' surrender; it is the promise our grandmothers gave to us that we could live and have a better future. People who insist on thinking that our special status is something unfair should consider walking our path for a while. Take on our family's dysfunction, try on our dark skin, consider our silenced voice, and hear our people's cries. Reading our story in the newspaper is wonderful because it's our story, and all types of people are expressing emotion, but we do more than read it: we live it everyday.
Bev Kynoch
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Have your say
Offer your views on the issues raised by this series.
The current question:
"John Stackhouse says to fix the native problem, we need to fix the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canada. What do you think?"

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