Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Alcoholism Is Colonialism

Many of our urban poor in Western Canada are displaced aboriginal peoples driven to drink thanks to poverty and the wretched history of White Folks poisioning them with firewater.

One recipe used at "Fort Whoop-Up", for example, called for: (a) 26 ounces of whisky, (b) one pound of chewing tobacco, (c) one bottle of ginger (size not given, assumed to be about eight ounces), (d) a handful of red pepper, (e) a quart of molasses and believe it or not (f) a dash of red ink. Mixtures such as this became increasingly popular among the Indians, who became so addicted that they would trade all of their possessions for a cup or bottle."

Without political and economic autonomy, discriminated against for jobs, housing, etc. they are forced to drown their trail of tears in alcohol or worse. What was stolen from them over 100 years ago remains stolen, and all they are left with is the poison of colonialism.

Today the same problem exists for the San People of the Kalahari desert. The direct result of British Colonialism and its treatment of indigenous peoples in Africa and Canada, and other Commonwealth colonies.

And forget blood diamonds, all diamond production, even that now occuring in Canada's North, is on aboriginal lands. And the indigenous peoples are displaced for the profits of the big Diamond bosses. All diamonds are blood diamonds in one form or another.

Potent beer cold comfort for Bushmen

Kaudwane, Botswana - It's early afternoon in this Bushmen settlement in the Kalahari desert and everyone is drunk.

Removed from their ancestral land by the government, Botswana's Bushmen, also known as San, are unable to hunt or gather wild berries and have little else to do but drink potent fermented barley beer.

"I suffer here. I want to go home, where I know where to find plants to eat and eland to hunt," said 61-year-old Letshwao Nagayame at this bleak resettlement camp about 200km north of Botswana's capital, the smell of alcohol wafting as he speaks.

"Here all we do is drink - this beer, it will finish us."

Botswana's High Court will on Wednesday decide if Nagayame and some 1 000 other Bushmen - one of the world's last surviving hunter-gatherers - can return to the land where their ancestors speared wild game and foraged for wild plants for 20 000 years.

In one of Africa's most high-profile land disputes, the Bushmen say the government illegally forced them off protected hunting grounds in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in the late 1990s and early 2000s to make way for diamond mining.

Botswana, a sparsely populated country next to South Africa and the world's biggest diamond producer by value, has been lauded as an African success story.

But its democratic credentials have come under scrutiny in recent years amid charges it has mistreated the Bushmen and stifled critics.

The southern African country's British colonial rulers set aside the vast reserve in central Botswana - one of the continent's biggest - as a sanctuary for the Bushmen in 1961.

Survival says De Beers, whose joint venture with the government mines the bulk of diamonds in Botswana, is eyeing the reserve for precious gems but the world's biggest diamond miner says it has no such plans.

Survival insists it does not oppose mining, but that the Bushmen must control their land.

The government has resettled about 2 000 Bushmen since the late 1990s and says all but about 24 had voluntarily left the reserve. About half of southern Africa's 100 000 surviving Bushmen live in Botswana.


DeBeers versus the Bushmen

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Stephen Bess said...

Thanks for this post. I've learned something on this visit. I was once told that the term, "hotentot" derived from what the colonialist would give the San people in liquor.

eugene plawiuk said...

Interesting since Fire Water was the term used in Canada for the alcohol given to natives, it was a mix of booze, gunpowder, molasses, etc.

g said...

There is much more behind the alcoholism: Genocide

Great blog!!

adamgilcrist said...

Interesting since Fire Water was the term used in Canada for the alcohol given to natives.

Suffering from an addiction. This website has a lot of great resources and treatment centers.