Category Archives: Poems, Essays, and Things

Because I like to write and I like to share.

Sahtu Dene: Canadian Aboriginals and Uranium Radiation

Interview: The Dene People

Q: I am joined today by a member of the Sahtu Dene tribe from the community of Deline in the Northwest Territories. First of all, thank you for coming. What can you tell us about your community and the meaning of your names?

A: The Dene is an aboriginal group living in the northern boreal and arctic regions of Canada. Dene is the common Athabaskan word for people and Sahtu is our name for Great Bear Lake, the fifth largest freshwater lake in Canada and ninth in the world. Deline is located 300 miles from Yellowknife with a population of 800 and means “where the river flows”.

Q: Deline was featured in the film Village of Widows after discovering the devastating effects of radiation poisoning from uranium mines. But let’s start from the beginning, when and where did mining start?

A: Port Radium was owned originally by Eldorado and secretly became a government-owned mine in 1942. The men started work in 1932, mostly working as labourers and carriers for the unrefined pitchblende ore. From 1934 to 1939 we mined radium and between 1943 and 1962, uranium. It was seen as an exciting job opportunity and everyone was eager to participate.

Q: The Canadian government didn’t tell you of the dangers and effects of the substances?

A: Not at all. As far as we were concerned, the stuff was gold; it was worth a lot of money. I remember some of the young men joining training programs where they suffered radon gas exposure and cleaned up toxic hotspots without any protection from masks or even shower facilities. We did not know about the ore being health hazardous until 1945 when the government finally warned us about health and people started becoming sick.

Q: However, from what I understand, not only workers were affected by the effects. How did the radioactive ore spread through the community?

A: Like I said, we knew nothing about the dangers of the ore mined from Port Radium; before the mine, there was no industrial presence in our area. The men carried around sacks of the ore and tailings so it got into their clothes, into their skin. At one point we sewed some of the sacks to make tents and we also filled sandboxes from the fine sand-like tailings. Radioactivity went into the animals, our food source, our lake, and drinking water. The substance surrounded us and became a part of our lives, so unfortunately really everyone was affected.

Q: The toxic substance must have a huge impact on the environment and land as well; how much of it is in your land and how has it affected your people?

A: Waste landfills and lake dumps are everywhere. The tailings were dumped around the site and over 1.7 million tons of uranium waste was dumped north of Great Bear Lake. Our land, animals, and people have now been living with radioactivity for over 70 years. The first death of a radium mine happened in 1953, and an ore transporter in 1960. Since then there has been many deaths from poisoning, cancer, and other sicknesses. There are many single mothers now in Deline, and the generation of young men in this village is the first to grow up without knowledge passed on from their grandfathers, fathers, and uncles.

Q: In addition to hiding the health dangers of the ore, is it true that the government did not tell you what the uranium was to be used for?

A: Yes, we had no idea that the uranium we were mining and transporting was to be used in the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb. When we realized our work was used for objects of mass murder, we were horrified. Hearing about the absolute destruction dropped onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki made us want to take back all our work and despise our sacrifices even more. Had we known that the ore was making bombs, we would have never worked produced it. Until this day, we feel regret for contributing to that disaster.

Q: You must have felt outraged that the government neglected your health and denied you the information that would’ve saved many lives. The Dene people were unjustly used for labour; what actions were taken after your meeting with Parliament in Ottawa in 1999?

A: Well let me just say that white miners were as uninformed and abused as we were. We realized that the government did not care for any of us, so we went to Ottawa to ask for major cleanup of our community and an apology for the cultural, economic, spiritual, and emotional damage that they have caused us. It was a small victory for us to even get a formal meeting with the leaders of our country. They didn’t grant us our wish at the time, but we raised significant awareness and were closer to getting the improvements we wanted.

Q: I know that your tribe visited Japan and attended the memorial of August 6, 1945 as a way to pay respect and restore inner peace with the Japanese people. Why did you feel the need to go and what was it like to visit Japan?

A: We felt it was our duty to offer them our condolence, and it was necessary for our inner peace to apologize and make amends with the people whom we hurt. It was a very emotional trip; we cried when we saw footage of the explosions and the suffering that we caused. We lit lanterns and talked to many people; by the end we knew we made the right decision to come – it was a releasing and gratifying experience.

Q: What accomplishments have taken place at Deline now, and what are the Sahtu Dene’s visions for the future?

A: In 2007 we succeeded in negotiating with the government and earned a contract of 6.8 million dollars to help clean up the wastes. There is still a lot to be done to get rid of the radioactivity in Deline, and we will continue to fight for our rights as people. We are still trying to understand how something so bad could come from our Mother Nature; we celebrate the world we live in and pray for a better future.

Q: Thank you so much for your time; this has been such an eye-opening conversation. We wish you all the best!

Republished from 2010 Geography class. It is a hypothetical interview inspired by viewing 1999 documentary Village of Widows by Peter Blow.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

4 Comments

Filed under Academia, Poems, Essays, and Things

A single bazaar booth

Much bigger and sunnier than what I’ve written.
Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/481111172662500062/

In the dampened smell of barbecue leaking
out the Chinese restaurant door
The little woman sits in a booth under
four oversized umbrellas
Gathering mannequin hangers as mother asks,
“How much for this shirt?”

“Usually 20, but I’m closing now, so have it for 10.”
She speaks Mandarin.
Mom nods for the purchase as the roar of clouds echoes down the street
The lady folds the elegant beaded garment, smiles, hands us a plastic bag

We say thanks and turn around
Rain pours down.

————————————————————————
Life is hard, I realize that regardless of our evolution into society, it will always be a survival of the fittest. We work to live and we live to work, but we musn’t forget to be generous and kind to each other because those moments are what we remember through time.

Happy birthday to my mother who never turns a year older!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

13 Comments

Filed under Life, Poems, Essays, and Things, The happenings

Walks ’til Magic Hour

Source: photok12.org/?q=node/11

Oh glorious day!
Sunshine blazes through canopies of green, crowds filter into High Park
A blackbird calls, its red and white marks peeking through the brush
Algae foams above the pond, where breezes sweep through the gardens
Strolling a maze of hedges and wading pools
Sit with face to the sky, indulge in quenching fruit salad and gelato
Hike hidden sandy trails imagining a place without city noise
Emerge into picnics, lawn bowling games, and playground cheers
Snapping photos and laughing chats all the way
Have a mini barbecue in shady grass, with softened rays of the dying hours
Contemplating why we work so hard to seclude ourselves from nature,
When we love so much to wallow in it?

—————————————————————————————–
Perfect way to end the long weekend: had an absolutely fantastic time with my family and my only regrets are that I had homework nagging the back of my mind and that I didn’t reapply sunscreen, not because of sunburn, but because it is too soon to already get this tanned. Summer feels so close but so far away, and I am feeling very unmotivated to go back to school and don’t-even-mention exams. I just have to remember to live every moment because before I know it, grade 11 will be finished.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

14 Comments

Filed under Just another person, Life, Poems, Essays, and Things, The happenings

World Heritage Sites: Nature and Culture Conservation Unite

Courtesy of famouswonders.com

MACHU PICCHU: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

A world heritage site is a place in any country of physical or cultural significance that is protected from major industrial changes. A list of world heritage sites is created and monitored by the World Heritage Programme and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee, which is composed of 21 state parties. The program was officially founded on November 16, 1972, with several organizations contributing to its ideas and campaign. By 2010, 911 sites have been listed, with about 700 cultural and 180 natural. Sites such as the pyramids in Egypt, old cathedrals, and the Great Barrier Reef are recognized as treasures to the whole world and humanity, and so are preserved so that everyone can enjoy them.

Machu Picchu is a creation of the Inca Empire before the Spanish Conquest in the 15th century. It is often called “The Lost City of the Incas” and is believed to have been built for the emperor Pachacuti. It stands 2,340 m above sea level and is located in the Urabamba Valley in Peru. It is made with polished dry-stone walls, in the classical Inca style, with three primary buildings: the Intihuatana, the Room of the Three Windows, and the Temple of the Sun.

Its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. [1] The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. [1]

The estate was started around AD 1400 but abandoned a century later at the time of Spanish colonization. Although known locally, it was brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. [2] In 1981, Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary and in 1983, a World Heritage Site. In November 2010, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement in which all artifacts held in Yale from Bingham’s collection in the 20th century were returned to a Peruvian university.

Works Cited:
1. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machu_Picchu

Published from Geography class 2010.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

4 Comments

Filed under Academia, Poems, Essays, and Things

Allegory in Short Film: Neighbours (1952)

Stop motion by Norman McLaren:

In the award-winning film “Neighbours”, concrete elements are used to powerfully express abstract ideas. The fence plays an important part as both a set and prop, and presents an allegory that is linked to the timeline of events in the film. The fence’s role and purpose change throughout the story, and its degradation can signify the transformation of the men’s relationship. Friendship between the two was found before the existence of the fence. The fence first appears as a territorial mark between the two properties as the two men claim their land. As the argument escalates, the pickets are used as a weapon as the men start a light duel. The fight worsens, and the blows hit by the wood get harsher and more deadly. As war is declared, the fence’s original purpose as a boundary is terminated and its destruction symbolizes the breaking of a barrier. The splintered wood decorates the coffins of the two men, portraying peace once more, and the end of a terrible fight. The fence’s state changes and each different stage can be related to the cycle of human relationships and the fomenting of war.

Published from November 25, 2010.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

3 Comments

Filed under Academia, Poems, Essays, and Things

Woe of May Flowers


Warm breezes gently breathe, stuck in stuffy nose
Yellow dust of unhatched life surf waves of the air flows
Soaking up the sun and green and reach for a tissue
I love spring, I only wish I didn’t have – achoo!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

8 Comments

Filed under Just another person, Life, Poems, Essays, and Things

Asbestos: Mini Research

File:Asbestos with muscovite.jpg

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Asbestos is a mineral of fibrous crystals that absorbs sound, has textile strength, and a resistance to heat, chemical, and electrical damage. Its fibers can be woven into yarn or rope, and are easily added to a variety of materials such as cotton and cement, making it a versatile substance. The inhalation of these fibers has been proved to cause illnesses including cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos is used in many products from drywall roofing tars, to shoes and stage curtains, because of its fireproofing and insulating qualities. It became popularly used by manufacturers and builders in the 19th century as a common insulator and propelled the Industrial Revolution; however, asbestos has been used for as long as 4500 years in Ancient Greece when it was used in oil lamp wicks and ceremonial table cloths. The extraction, manufacturing, and processing of asbestos has been banned in whole or in part by over 60 countries in the world, including those in the European Union. Even though today, far less products in the home contain asbestos, it is still used because of new ways of containing escaping fibers. Canada has yet to ban asbestos and is currently the largest player in the global asbestos industry; over 40% of the world’s asbestos is found in a narrow belt of rocks in Quebec and over 300,000 tons of it can be exported annually to developing countries. The banning of asbestos is a difficult balance for Canada between saving jobs and economic profit or relieving the health hazards placed on workers and consumers from this multi-purpose material.

Written 2009. Since then, Canada’s asbestos industry has been winding down. For anyone who wonders what asbestos is…

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

7 Comments

Filed under Academia, Poems, Essays, and Things

Le philosophie de Voltaire: Short paragraph en français

Le bonheur et le bon sens de vie

La philosophie de Voltaire est simplement que travail est le secret pour le bonheur véritable. Il croit dans un style de vie qui est introverti et qui concentre sur les tâches de soi-même. Voltaire a opposé l’idée de Leibnitz que tout qui se passe et un produit du cause et effet, et que tout arrive pour un raison, ou pour « les meilleurs du monde ». Voltaire admet qu’il y a de mal dans le monde, mais beaucoup des catastrophes, comme un tremblement de terre ou la mort, n’ont pas une explication que des humains peuvent comprendre. Il faut que nous n’inquiétions pas des grands problèmes ou des bavardages qui sont hors de propos à nos vies. Voltaire croit que les actions sont plus fortes que les mots ; des pensées doivent être appliquées pratiquement et traduites dans les efforts concrets. Le travail fait une personne heureuse par repoussant l’ennui et improductivité.  Essentiellement, Voltaire a dit que le foyer est la détermination sont important pour atteindre la potentielle maximum de chacun individuel et pour apprécier la vie précieuse. La vie significative est plein de bonheur est crée par se développer nos talents, travailler fort à nos buts, et dans les mots de ce philosophe remarquable, par « cultiver notre jardin ».

Thanks/Merci,
thebookybunhead

Leave a comment

Filed under Academia, Poems, Essays, and Things, Words

Yet another paragraph on Romeo and Juliet

FORESHADOWING

            Foreshadowing is a technique that is frequently used in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to create several dramatic effects. Repeated references reminding us of the inevitable deaths make suspense, anticipation, as well as dramatic irony because we know the ending that the characters do not. A first example of foreshadowing is shown by a quote from Friar Lawrence as he explains the balance of nature:

O mickle is the powerful grace that lies

In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities:

For nought so vile, that on the earth doth live;

But to the earth some special good doth give;

Nor ought so good but, strain’d from that fair use,

Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.

Virtue turns itself vice, being misapplied,

And vice sometime by action dignified (2.3. 15-22)

In nature, everything has its proper place and it is people’s misapplication of its resources that destroys the balance between good and bad. While a mentor to Romeo and Juliet, the friar fails to follow his own teachings; he meddles, steps out of his role, and also abuses nature by using it to attempt to fix his problems. He foreshadows his own foolishness and the problems that will arise when two heirs of opposing houses defy their places in society. Before their marriage, Romeo makes a bold statement that challenges the fates and foreshadows the following crisis. He declares that “Death may come and do what he wants as long as he had Juliet” (2.6. 7-8) that foreshadows a twist in fortune for their new love as well as the coming of death, specifically the following murders of Mercutio and Tybalt. As the plot escalates, foreshadowing of death becomes more frequent that the two lovers begin to see death in each other. As they part, Juliet gravely notices that he looks “as one dead in the bottom of a tomb” (3.5.56) to which Romeo replies, “…trust me love, in my eye so do you:/Dry sorrow drinks our blood” (3.5.58-9). They see a tragic ending in their love story and foreshadow their own deaths. Constant foreshadowing keeps readers in anticipation for the deaths; however, when the ending finally happens, it is still surprising. In conclusion, although we know the results of the future because of the reminders scattered throughout quotes, the looming knowledge of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths make the actual event more dramatic and meaningful.

Written February 2, 2011.

This is the last assignment I’m posting on Romeo and Juliet, I promise! I love the play, but I’m not obsessed with it, I just thought it might be a resource to someone out there. If you missed the last Romeo and Juliet piece I posted, here it is: https://thebookybunhead.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/romeo-and-juliet-essay-themes-in-ballet-and-play/

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

3 Comments

Filed under Academia, Poems, Essays, and Things

Les Précieuses Ridicules by Molière: Essay en français

Les Précieuses Ridicules

            La pièce Les Précieuses Ridicules est un comedie du 17ème siècle écrit par le grand dramaturge Molière. Il raconte l’histoire de deux femmes, Magdelon et Cathos, qui suivent le mouvement féministe de la preciosité et qui, à cause de leurs attitudes arrogantes, deviennent les victimes d’une farce magnifique. Le faux marquis de Mascarille, l’étoile théâtral, a toujours amusé l’audience. Les personnages principaux sont des caricatures qui présentent des aspets de la préciosité comme la littérature et la mode avec beaucoup d’exagération. ll y a quelques éléments de comique qui sont mélangés dans le langage et le maniérisme dans cette pièce ; tous les éléments présents sont là pour se moquer des conventions de la préciosité. Dans le cadre de la théatre, le comportement qui est consideré approprié et correcte dans un salon précieux est perçu plutôt avec humeur.

Le comique de parole est trouvé dans le style du langage précieux et le contenu des conversations. Les filles imitent des expressions précieuses qu’elles apprennent des textes et elles discutent avec esprit et précision. Il y a des périphrases qui sont utilisées comme termes des objets commun. Les chaises sont des « commodités de la conversation » et un miroir est appelé « le conseiller des grâces ». Un autre exemple est l’emploi des adverbes comme des adjectifs. Par exemple, Magdelon a dit « …je suis furieusement pour les portraits… ». Molière a accentué le style précieux pour créer l’humeur en tout ce que Magdelon et Cathos disent. Elles sont vaniteuses et elles croient qu’elles savent tout pour devenir à la haute société. Ses caractères sont reflétées dans le dialogue quand les femmes expliquent les règles d’amour et ses changes des noms de « Polixène » et « Aminte » á Gorgibus. Le comique de parole existe dans la façon dont les femmes parlent, et aussi les sujets dont elles parlent dans leurs conversations.

Le comique de geste est un élément classique utilisé premièrement dans le temps du Commedia dell’Arte. Les blagues visuelles dans les gestes des acteurs, spécifiquement Mascarille, et de tournage a évoquer beacoup des rires partout la piéce. Un exemple du comique de la situation est l’arrivée du marquis avec les porteurs. L’entrée d’une grande chaise et pieds boueux dans un salon est inappropriée et elle crée une scène drôle. Suivant ça est un exemple du comique tarte à la crème avec des bâtons et les coups. Les porteurs demandent un salaire et ils sont répondus par un soufflet et une menace d’une bastonnade. Il y a des autres instances de ses farces ensuite comme les deux valets et les violons sont bastonnés aussi. La chanson de Mascarille est encore un autre exemple du comique de geste. On peut imagine ses actions quand il crie « Au voleur ! au voleur ! »  et les réactions intenses des filles admirantes. Aussi, le comique de geste anime plus loin les mots et sujets dans le comique de parole. Molière a appliqué ces techniques traditionnelles au contexte de la préciosité pour créer une pièce tout nouvelle.

Une autre partie de cette pièce est l’élément de la surprise. Depuis le début, le costume incroyable du marquis avec une abondance hideux des rubans et fanfreluches nous choquent et ravissent. Ses bouffonneries imprévisibles sont toujours étonnantes ; son caractère fou apporte continuellement des surprises. A la fin, la grande surprise est quand les deux hommes bourgeois arrivent et bâtonnent ses valets, révélant l’identité fausse de Mascarille. Les deux filles découvrent qu’elles étaient dupées et que tout était une farce tout le long.

Avec ces éléments, Molière a reflété la culture du temps dans le théâtre et il a causé des nobles pour se rire de sa société. Les interprétations et images mémorables et les techniques de comédie qui sont utilisés dans Les Précieuses Ridicules créaient un divertissement ultime.

Published from 2011.

*A Little Note*
So I have been republishing some of my earlier assignments and essays to build up the content of the blog and to share ideas with other students who may be learning the same. I came across some pieces I have written for French class, and thought it interesting to see what response I would get publishing it. Who knows how many français speakers this can reach?

Thanks for reading/ Merci de lire,
thebookybunhead

7 Comments

Filed under Academia, Poems, Essays, and Things