Right in the centre - Examining the facts


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

I find it quite amazing, and even annoying, that the limited amount of history we are taught often doesn’t really hold a candle to the truth. We are told that the Indigenous people and the Metis were conservation oriented, keepers of the land. I am sure they were in many cases, but a book published in 1934 and written by Stanley Vestal shows several cases of a different story.

He outlines how the Red River Metis would go many miles into the Sioux territory of what is now the United States and kill off many more buffalo than they could actually consume or sell. Vestal’s story is based on interviews with descendants of the great Sioux leader, Sitting Bull. The book also outlines how fierce and brutally deadly fighting could be between various tribes and the Metis. Other books document some huge battles between tribes.

Yes, there were times of peace and peacemakers, but there was a huge amount of animal slaughter and human slaughter as well.

I am not laying blame to any group for actions from 150 or more years ago but where I do lay blame is at the feet, or more precisely the desks, of the academics. Today, it is considered wrong to call certain people groups savages. That said, there were many savage acts committed in our North American history regardless of racial origin or colour.  When people stabbed, shot or strangled other people, it was savage and to say otherwise is to gloss over the truth.Of a lesser concern, but still annoying, is that today we are supposed to believe nature is kind. That’s a huge lie. I have been told by several eye witness accounts where moose, elk or deer have been brought down by wolves, the feast begins long before the animal dies.

My point is, as I have stated before, question everything you read or hear. If it sounds phoney, it may well be phoney.

Some academics today will wax eloquent about how people used to take better care of our wild life than what happens today. Farmers are blamed for damaging wildlife habit and people in general are blamed for destroying habitat. I protest somewhat. I decry the loss of bushland, but some farmers do keep bush and every farmer provides feedstock for many species from birds to deer.

Coyotes move into cities, not because of a loss of habitat but because city people don’t usually shoot them and besides, there’s all the road kill deer along with some fat, tame kitties and puppies to eat. The same goes for geese and many other wildlife; they gather in and around urban populations as the urban people don’t shoot them. 

In the world of politics, conservatives will tell you that left wingers are evil and the same criticism is tossed out against conservatives. I can attest that some left wingers or liberals, are indeed evil and some conservatives are too. The good news is that there’s good in most people and, fortunately for us, more good than evil.

The underlying message is that no group, be it political or cultural has only goodness in their history. There are numerous instances of things that happened that were pretty sketchy and in some cases downright wrong or evil. It’s important to not too gloss evil over with a sugar coating that claims that a certain group were always good and their enemies were always wrong. With the millions of books in the world and all the resources available on the internet, we should be able to come closer today to the truth. The trick is to examine the facts and not stand blindly by while the myths are spread.

Truth is what sets us free and when we stop seeking the truth, we are indeed in big trouble.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.