Questioning neo-colonialism still runs the risk of being ostracized
To the Expositor:
I wish to honour last week’s excellent letter by elder George Corbiere (‘Writer registers strong opposition to M’Chigeeng liquor store proposal’). Even for non-Indigenous people, growing up with media brainwashing causing us to be puffing on cigarettes, swilling beer and other alcoholic beverages like our heroes on film and TV, it is a major accomplishment to question these proven dangerous addictions. For First Nations people still struggling with politically correct neo-colonialism, questioning these socially acceptable rituals runs the risk of being ostracized for not enabling our friends, family and neighbours.
Though I don’t talk about this often, when I was six months old, growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, my parents were talked into giving me the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, which caused an immediate seizure that almost killed me. It took seven years before I was finally diagnosed with Celiac disease and autism, for which there is no cure. As my mother was a nurse, she had complete confidence that eventually modern medicine would come up with a “magic pill” to cure me. When my parents were finally confronted with the official news, my father approached Ojibwe relatives at the Garden River First Nation and they agreed to perform a healing ceremony. Remarkably, within 24 hours my symptoms went away, the most immediate response being that I began to speak and bloating from gluten went away.
After many years of taking good health for granted, eating junk food, smoking cigarettes and social drinking with my pals, I finally realized that I had to stop smoking cigarettes, which gave me sore throats. I observed that most people determined to quit smoking went through the cycle of temporarily quitting, back-sliding, beating oneself up, then falling back into the indulgence. I decided to give up giving up things. I would stop buying cigarettes, and if a friend offered me a cigarette, I would only smoke one at a sitting and not while I was busy with any other activity, as chain smoking seemed to be my biggest problem. Remarkably, something totally unexpected happened, that no one talks about. Smoking deadens one’s taste buds and after reducing the quantity of smoking over a two-week period, taste buds will revive. It is amazing how terrible cigarettes actually taste, as the tobacco is stale and mixed with a large quantity of horrible chemicals.
Some years later, I was exposed to parasites from well water in Northern Ontario, which revived my celiac condition. All the regular doctors I approached had no clue why I was again bloating from alcohol, refined sugar products, wheat products, refined carbohydrates or GMOs. A naturopath explained that though there were herbal remedies I could take to rid myself of the parasites, I had to first change my diet and eliminate the clogging of my intestines from this junk food diet. He also reminded me that Celiac is a pre-diabetic condition and that if I didn’t immediately stop drinking and eat a diet for my blood type, the chances were good that I’d be poking myself with insulin for the rest of my life. Apparently, as I have a type ‘O’ blood, I should be eating a traditional indigenous diet: no alcohol, no refined sugar products, no refined grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, wild meat and wild fish. Remarkably, after my earlier success with giving up giving up things, I was able to immediately stop drinking alcohol and sugar drinks, as well as for the most part, radically cut back on carbs. It is true that once in a blue moon, I might have a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, a piece of pizza or pie. However, the good news is that I’m not particularly overweight and I’m not diabetic. Knock on wood.
Derek Stephen McPhail