Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.

LETTER: Langley man argues that all of society benefits when Indigenous people are supported

Failure to embrace human potential for one faction of society is justice denied for all

Dear Editor,

Born in 1947, I am the child of an alcoholic father and mother. Mom drank, mostly as an accompaniment to my father’s drinking. She also used a lot of prescription drugs.

Yes, to some degree, I have FAS/D or fetal alcohol syndrome, as it is known commonly. All through my life I have been up against the effects of fetal alcohol. I was a kid with an active intellect but was miserable in school. I had a plethora of behavioral issues that match the fetal alcohol profile and grew up with very little self-esteem.

Alcohol first, then drug usage became a hallmark of my mid-20s until well into middle age. Three treatment centres and a range of therapeutic options helped me to finally bring addiction into my willingness and ability to tackle it. I did win that battle.

So far, my past reads like that of too many Indigenous men and women. I also was abused sexually as a toddler, again a Native marker for too many.

But the unifying point here is that FAS/D or fetal alcohol that leads to addiction happens in a relative vacuum. There is little emphasis on assisting women, especially single women facing down a multitude of issues. Those younger women are birthing children that may have full-on fetal alcohol syndrome or effects-of.

They need help; we need insight.

• READ MORE: B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

As usual, a possible solution is obscured by a lack of willingness to wrap heads around the evolving effects of ignoring a critical societal ill, one that affects everyone, even those who do not understand its roots or delivery systems.

Young women in unstable circumstance may become pregnant. They may receive little or no help from governmental systems except the usual welfare considerations.

Percentages of births in Canada for the past few years have shown Aboriginal pregnancies are on the rise while non-native pregnancies are on the decline.

The past is the present without clarity – another way of saying “the sins of the father are visited upon the son”, but through the mother. There are a host of wise maxims about rigid views too factual to be wanted to be remembered. And that is on all of us.

• READ MORE: Violence against Indigenous women during COVID-19 sparks calls for MMIWG plan

Fetal alcohol syndrome starts with a drinking parent and too often slides into adversities that were fixable before another sad story really began.

According to former B.C. Aboriginal lawyer-specialist Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, in our correctional systems, those who test out as having fetal alcohol issues are rated at 70 per cent or higher among Aboriginal men or women. Does this help to explain why they may have come to be incarcerated in the first place?

Think of the wanted or even unwanted pregnancies; the avoidable cost to society in productivity of a so-called lost person that could have contributed to Canadian society and the economy.

This young person may place great strain on mental and physical health care.

This fictional baby may end up in trouble with the law, or without decent mental health options, or perhaps in correctional systems, to name the more obvious signs of avoidable disregard and continuation of racism toward the lot of the majority of Aboriginal people, a paradigm still with us today in both hidden and obvious ways.

How do we begin to turn around this societal problem? Its roots are in the past, but it is a monster of the present, rolling like that of a massive train, almost unstoppable as it bears down on its expected derailment, the wreckage of colonialism’s unwanted responsibilities.

Why does the average person not seem to understand that failure to embrace human potential for one faction of society is justice denied for all?

To end, I’m suggesting that there be greater emphasis by far to assist all young women who are pregnant but especially those who are in grim financial need, or on their own with a child or children, neglected, or in an abusive relationship.

This emphasis alone would increase the potential of all Canadian youth to grow into useful, hopefully non-addictive lives that would produce better outcomes for them and society as a whole. Much needs to be done to greet a better day, one that can’t come without examining current models of spending to actualize the potentialities of youth.

It begins by helping moms first.

Eli Bryan Nelson, Langley City

.

Do you have an opinion you’d like to share. Please send us a letter to the editor, include your first and last name, your address, and your phone number. Email to editor@langleyadvancetimes.com. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Indigenous child welfareLetter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NEWS FILE PHOTO
Voters in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Langley may head back to polls in 2021

Election of local politicians in BC vote would trigger by-elections in several Fraser Valley cities

Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society volunteers clean up Aldergrove streams. (Aldergrove Star files)
Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society looking for new members to help protect Aldergrove waterway

The society hopes to hold stream clean-ups and blackberry bush removal events this fall

Coast Spas in Langley was ordered closed by the Fraser Health Authority after 12 staff came down with COVID-19 (undated Google Street View image)
COVID-19 outbreak closes Langley spa manufacturer

Fraser Health reports 12 employees have tested positive

Ferdinand Bredenholler played the last post at the Fort Langley Remembrance Day service in 2019, when a crowd of 6,500 attended. This year, due to the pandemic, organizers are asking the public to follow the ceremonies online rather than attending. (Langley Advance Times file)
A stay-at-home Remembrance Day planned for Fort Langley

Organizers take the annual ceremony online

Pastor Brad Sumner is inviting Halloween trick-or-treaters to visit the Jericho Ridge Community Church for a COVID-compliant celebration. (Courtesy Jericho Ridge Community Church)
VIDEO: A drive-in Halloween at the Jericho Ridge Community Church

A COVID-compliant event for kids on the Langley-Surrey border

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read