‘The Dilemma Of Modernity’

This cultural shift is happening in virtually all communities…

You must have that drive within yourself, to replace screens with trees, headphones with drums.

“Dear grandchildren,
Right up until I was about five or six years old, I went to residential school. We always went home to our grandma in the summertime. The world that I knew when I was a little kid, it was just like a picture-perfect world. Everybody had their responsibilities. In the past, the elders always had a central role in the family and in the community.

“But as time went on, especially when I was 19 years old going to Edmonton for school, that bond I had with the elders and the community and family just kind of disappeared. And it took at least another 20, 30 years of my life to re-engage with my community, my family and the elders.

“Now things have changed and we’ve been struggling even more. Instead of having an elder at home, we’ve got the television. Screens are the ones dishing out information to us.

“I went to visit some of you one day, and for me, it was kind of heartbreaking in a way.

Oh, here’s grandpa!
your mother said.
Here is grandpa!

“Everybody gave me a hug and then after a while, you kind of drifted away and were on your iPhones or little tablets.

“Mothers are beginning to come to me, as an elder, looking for advice. They’re worried, saying probably 90% of what you’re consuming into your minds through screens is garbage.

“The desire to belong to Dene culture must come from you. Your gifts are yours and yours alone. I will embrace you for all that you are, always, but you must have that drive within yourself — to replace screens with trees, headphones with drums.

“There was a time when our doors were open to endless visitors and our relationships existed in proximity to each other. Today we cannot take each other for granted. We must work together, and work daily as kin and clan maintaining these bonds. While computers and phones allow us to connect across distances, they cannot excuse or replace our yearning for a sense of place.

“I am at that point in my life where I am very, very positive. My friends are telling me,
Joachim, we have the history, we have the knowledge from the Ice Age, long ago stories to today. With the modern technology and Internet era, we have to begin using just about every conceivable avenue to get that knowledge out there and put it out there.

“We could easily use Dene culture and values and put them into iPads and turn them into games. I think that’s very hopeful.

“Your future is bright. Love and care,
Papa Joachim”

–‘Are elders being replaced by screens? A letter to my grandchildren’,
Joachim Bonnetrouge, CBC News, Nov. 11, 2019
(“Joachim Bonnetrouge is an elder living in Fort Providence, N.W.T. He is a residential school survivor {‘former student’} and former chief of the Deh Gah Got’ie ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 1,109 people} in Fort Providence, N.W.T.”)
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/letter-to-grandchildren-elders-screen-1.5344577
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See also:
Hidden – Elder Abuse in Aboriginal Communities{June 26, 2019}:
“Elder abuse is an alarming form of mistreatment not easily recognized. This BearPaw Media production focuses on how elder abuse hurts individuals and destroys families. This docu-drama features the wise voices of community elders as they talk about the important role of elders in a traditional Aboriginal culture and how this kind of abuse is especially destructive to entire communities.”
https://endracebasedlaw.ca/2019/06/26/hidden-elder-abuse-in-aboriginal-communities/

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