Soren Larsen and Ambassador Citaku were the most informative and challenging for me. I’d never heard of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation or of Kosovo before their lectures, so it definitely opened my eyes to things I’d never thought about before. I know that many indigenous tribes in the United States are commonly ignored by major corporations and our government. That’s, sadly, on par with our reputation as being a nation who bullies. Canada, however, is typically thought of as the “nice guys” of North America. I wrongly assumed that they treated their indigenous tribes with respect and dignity.
The Cheslatta people were forced to flee their homeland because the Canadian government allowed a large corporation to redirect water. While this was great for the large corporation, it causes massive flooding on the Cheslatta people’s traditional lands. Their ancestors’ bodies no longer stayed buried. They had to go searching for their bones and piece them back together so they can once again be properly laid to rest, according to Larsen’s lecture. How the Canadian government has allowed this for so many decades if beyond me. While the Canadian government did eventually financially compensate the tribe, years later, for forcing them off their lands, paying them after the fact doesn’t make the action any less terrible. For this tribe, their lands are sacred and a large part of their traditions. I’m extremely surprised and disappointed in the Canadian government for not helping this indigenous group more. It definitely reminds me of what the United States government did with the Dakota Access pipeline about two years ago
Ambassador Citaku was clearly passionate about Kosovo. Her obvious patriotism was inspiring and refreshing. Many of the other speakers were more analytical about their subjects, but with Ambassador Citaku you could really tell she loves her country. Kosovo is located between Albania and Serbia. It’s about 3,500 miles from Russia, according to DistanceFromTo
. Yet, according to Ambassador Citaku, Russia constantly makes trouble for the Kosovo government and its people.
Russia attempts to worsen relations between Kosovo and Serbia with the hope of starting another war. What I don’t understand, and this is probably because I was born well after the Cold War, is why Russia wants to cause so much trouble for so many countries. She never fully explained why Russia would still care about Serbia and Kosovo in this ever globalizing world. I used to think people were overreacting when they blamed certain actions or beliefs on Russian (like tampering with the past United States presidential election) but after hearing her lecture, I’m starting to rethink how I view Russia.
I have learned so much about South Africa and dispelled many myths I had held true. Going in to this, I assumed that most South Africans only speak Afrikaans. In reality, South Africans speak a very wide variety of languages, including English. I also thought they had huge problems with crimes like sex trafficking and forced marriage. As I discovered in my previous blog post, their statistics are similar to many southern states in the United States. They’re much more “western” in many of their customs than I expected. They still definitely have racial tensions post-Apartheid, but things will hopefully continue to improve.
Also on a more positive note, the country-wide drought seems to be very slowly lifting. The dam levels are raising and Day Zero for Cape Town has been pushed back to next year, according to Reuters. Before I started this blog, I had no idea South Africa was in such a severe drought. I tend to consume news about western countries and rarely see what’s happening outside of North America and Europe. This blog has definitely made me pay much closer attention to countries I’d disregarded in the past.