Saying of dubious provenance, use

There are several variants, all of dubious provenance

Saying of dubious provenance, use

Re: “Will we only realize what we’ve done when too late?”, (Citizen, Nov. 22)

The writer cites an anachronistic “Old Cree saying” which is almost certainly not an old Cree saying, unless your idea of old sayings is 40 years ago, give or take a few years.

It’s impossible to determine if the person who invented it was actually Cree, but it’s likely they were not. There are several variants, all of dubious provenance; but the most common one differs from the one published: “When the last tree has been cut down, when the last fish has been caught, only then will we realize we cannot eat money”.

“Poisoned rivers” was almost certainly added by Greenpeace, as it doesn’t appear in the earliest known citations. Overfishing is a legitimate concern, but cutting down trees clears land that can be used for farms — resulting in the opposite of having nothing to eat but currency. So, the next time you run into a pithy old saying, question it. There are better ways to motivate people than tricky phrases and thought-terminating cliches.

April J. Gibson


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

Just Posted

Aquatic Centre renovations starting soon

More space promised for crowded fitness and aquatic areas

Mary Lowther column: Nutrition in our food on the decline

When crops don’t contain the minerals they need, they cannot provide other nutrients we depend on.

Sarah Simpson column: Bigger isn’t always better

One item there was a two-foot-tall candy cane.

Void of summer events going to be felt in Chemainus

CBIA cancels Classics Car Show and Canada Day celebrations

Land purchase brings early treaty benefit to Halalt First Nation

Ownership taken of Crofton Corners and Chemainus River Storage

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read