News and Reviews
The village of Cape Dorset on western Baffin Island enthusiastically supports its Inuit artists, some of whom have a reputation of producing world-class art. Two years ago, the artists in the community were covered in a college newspaper, and last week they were the subject of a feature story in the major international news source, Al Jazeera.
The reporter who visited Cape Dorset focused on the creativity of the artists. They draw and sculpt walruses, seals, whales, polar bears, and other animals, but they often introduce mythic elements as well as fine natural details to their works. An owl or a goose may be depicted with finely drawn feathers, but a frog may have the hands and head of a man and the soul of a monster.
Bill Ritchie, manager of the Kinngait Studio, which is part of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, said about the art works that he exhibits, “when you see this work hanging on a wall, it's not what you expect. It's new, provocative, edgy and often joyful.” He sees his role as an art dealer as making sure that the best art productions get into the hands of buyers farther to the south, and that the talented artists are richly rewarded for their creativity.
The Al Jazeera journalist visited the Kinngait studios, on a side street of Cape Dorset, and observed several artists working in back rooms. Shuvinai Ashoona was in one room hunched over a drawing pad. She is considered a cutting edge artist for drawing such scenes as a woman giving birth to a monster.
Jutai Toonoo works nearby. He used to be a sculptor, but he lost some fingers in an accident so he has turned to drawing instead. He is working from a cell phone photo he took of a small wildflower wilting under a crust of new snow. He says that, in the Arctic, one has to look closely at the land to find things to draw since there are no trees.
“When you look really close, sometimes there's a forest of plants, tiny plants. And that's what I like to draw. Today, anyway.” He views his drawing as “a crazy form of healing” that allows him to get his feelings out on paper.
Pitaloosie Saila in the next room is busy signing a pile of her prints. Speaking in Inuktitut, she tells the journalist that she is proud of the fact that many of her works are on display in the cities to the south. It is important to her that they are making people happy. She likes the fact that outsiders are learning from her works how the Inuit live and what they do.
Tim Pitsiulak’s work adorns a 25 cent Canadian coin, and his creations hang in boardrooms in major cities. But he says he’s really a hunter at heart. He shows Al Jazeera a photo on a computer screen of a walrus that he shot just the previous week. Then he shows off pictures of his 19-year old son, who just shot his own first walrus.
But his art expresses his visions of the animals. He includes legendary themes, showing creatures that are half animal and half human, or animals that have human clothing on them. Pointing to one drawing, he says, “that one is a sea monster that lives under the ice and drags people into the ocean. That was fun to draw.”
Bill Ritchie, the manager of the studio, praises the artists and adds that the younger ones are more fortunate than their elders. The older artists could only speak Inuktitut, while the younger people are also fluent in English, so they can speak for themselves. “That opens a whole new world to the younger ones,” he believes.
An annual offering of Cape Dorset prints this year featured 32 works from 11 artists, including seven from the late Kenojuak Ashevak, one of the most prominent Canadian artists of recent years. She died in 2013, a “Canadian national treasure.” She was famed for her sculptures, paintings, and prints—and as a leading citizen of Cape Dorset.
As the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday approached last week, an Amish family decided to flee to Canada to prevent unwanted medical treatment for their daughter.
Andy and Anna Hershberger and their 10 year old daughter Sarah Hershberger have been contending with medical authorities in Ohio’s Akron Children’s Hospital. The Hershbergers state that the chemotherapy drugs prescribed for the child’s leukemia have caused painful side effects for her. In June, they refused any further treatment, preferring natural vitamins and herbal treatments instead. The hospital took them to court to force the parents to allow the chemotherapy.
According to one news report on Wednesday, doctors argued that the girl has an 85 percent chance of living if she continues with the medical treatment, but will die within a year if she is not given the medicine. In October, an appellate court, overruling a lower court decision, sided with the hospital. The court appointed a registered nurse who is also an attorney, Maria Schimer, with the power to decide medical issues regarding the child.
The family disappeared from their farm sometime before October 30. An attorney for the Hershbergers, John Oberholtzer, and an attorney for Ms. Schimer, Clair Dickinson, both reported on Wednesday that they did not know the whereabouts of the family. Oberholtzer said the family has kept in contact with him to see how their appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court is progressing.
On Thanksgiving day, Thursday, new reports indicated that the Hershbergers had fled to Canada to avoid the threatening American medical forces. A different attorney representing the family, Maurice Thompson, told ABC News that the family has a “moral right to refuse conventional medical treatment.”
Thompson told the news service, “Sarah’s condition has gotten a lot better since the family has been pursuing the alternative treatment.” Andy Hershberger, the father, had told ABC News in August, “We've seen how sick [the chemotherapy] makes her. Our belief is the natural stuff will do just as much as that stuff if it's God's will.” The attorney said that the family had left the U.S. in order to seek alternative treatments, and has no plans to return to Ohio.
But Mr. Hershberger apparently did not cite any religious reasons for opposing the chemotherapy. Instead, the concern of the parents is for the suffering of the child. “If we do chemotherapy and she would happen to die, she would probably suffer more than if we would do it this way and she would happen to die,” he said.
A different news source on Thursday quoted an oncologist from the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Howard Weinstein, on the value of continuing prescribed chemotherapy treatments, even when the patient experiences adverse reactions during the first month.
Dr. Weinstein explained that the girl could restart her chemotherapy, and while it would have a reasonable chance of success, the cancer would be even more difficult to cure because of the interruption.
He argued that while parents and children who are taking chemotherapy may feel the treatment is worse than the illness, they need to persist, since the final outcome is normally better. The parents may think that the improvement the child is experiencing is due to the switch to the natural methods, but that is incorrect. “The first month of chemotherapy did all the work,” he contends.
A news story on Friday gives a contrary impression. It indicated that Sarah’s grandfather, Isaac Keim, told the Akron Beacon Journal that the girl was continuing with her natural treatments and he says she is doing better. He contends that medical tests show that the cancer is now gone. Sarah, who recently turned 11, seems healthy and vibrant.
The earlier news stories had indicated that the Medina County sheriff, Tom Miller, was not planning to search for the family unless required to do so by a court order. Hospital authorities have not said whether they will seek further legal action against the family. Meanwhile the girl and her parents have returned to the U.S., Mr. Keim said, but they remain in hiding.
Their reaction, of flight from threats posed by the hospital authorities, follows long Amish tradition. Hostetler (1993, p.76) wrote that the Amish follow the example of Isaac in the Bible. Faced with the hostility of the Philistines, Isaac moved to new lands and dug new wells to resist fighting with them (Gen. 26:15-29). Therefore, facing hostile actions or threats, the Amish take the biblical example literally: they usually move to new locations without defending themselves. The flight of the Hershberger family exemplifies this pattern of Amish nonresistance.
News and reviews of publications relating to peaceful societies—and sometimes to related topics—are normally posted here on Thursday mornings (U.S. time) and are kept on this page for one week. Older news and reviews for 2013 are listed below, and ones from previous years are listed on the News and Reviews 2004-2005 page, the 2006 page, the 2007 page, the 2008 page, the 2009 page, the 2010 page, the 2011 page, and the 2012 page. All stories are also included in the News and Reviews Subject Listing. Recent ones are listed at the bottom of each society entry in the Encyclopedia of Selected Peaceful Societies, after the heading: Updates: News and Reviews. News and reviews about peacefulness in general are referred to from the bottom of the Facts page, while news stories about this website are linked from the About This Website page. News and Reviews can also be found with the Google search bar.
November 28, 2013. Tristan Islanders Support Typhoon Relief
November 28, 2013. Piaroa Leaders Assert their Peacefulness
November 21, 2013. A Tropical Downpour Is a Good Omen
November 21, 2013. Consequences of Abandoning the Forest
November 14, 2013. Museums Proposed for Ladakh
November 14, 2013. Travel Boycott to Botswana
November 7, 2013. Long Johns for Tristan Weather
November 7, 2013. Avoiding Conflicts in South Asia [anthology chapter review]
October 31, 2013. Patterns of Mbuti Forest Life [video review]
October 31, 2013. Ju/’hoan Society: Growth, Change, and Preservation of Values [book review]
October 24, 2013. Nattilik Heritage Centre Opens
October 24, 2013. Pakumotu Republic Fails to Fly its Flag
October 17, 2013. Amish Responses to Health Insurance
October 17, 2013. Oddoul Serves on an Important Egyptian Committee
October 10, 2013. The Facts in the Tracks
October 10, 2013. Mainwaring Celebrated the Lepchas
October 3, 2013. Role of the Indian Army in Ladakh
October 3, 2013. Birhor Women Lead Anti-Mining Movement
September 26, 2013. G/wi Lose Court Appeal
September 26, 2013. Cell Phone Pioneer: Zapotec Mountain Community
September 19, 2013. Gang Rape in a Birhor Village
September 19, 2013. Mbuti Refugees Flee Threats of Violence
September 19, 2013. Semai Communal Lands Threatened
September 12, 2013. Hutterites Help Give Flood Relief
September 12, 2013. Cockfighting in Rural Thailand
September 5, 2013. Peaceful Lepcha Responses to Gorkha Agitation
September 5, 2013. Chewong Choices: Modern or Traditional Values [anthology chapter review]
August 29, 2013. Amish Farmers and Climate Change (Environmental Concerns of Peaceful Societies, Part 1)
August 29, 2013. Solar Energy in Ladakh (Environmental Concerns of Peaceful Societies, Part 2)
August 22, 2013. Buid Traditions Taught in Mangyan School
August 22, 2013. Nubians Question Egyptian Developments [magazine article review]
August 15, 2013. Exhibit Showcases Montana Hutterites (Museum Displays, Part 1)
August 15, 2013. Inuit Artifacts Return to Nunavut (Museum Displays, Part 2)
August 8, 2013. Zapotec Community Peacefully Expels a Silver Mine
August 8, 2013. Tristan Relationship with Mann Strengthens
August 1, 2013. Botswana Bars San Attorney
August 1, 2013. Ju/’hoansi Cope with Droughts
July 25, 2013. Most Forager Bands Are Not Warlike [journal article review]
July 25, 2013. The Yanadi: Criminals or Sought After Citizens
July 18, 2013. Ladakhis React to Terrorist Attack
July 18, 2013. Tahitian Language Back in the News
July 11, 2013. Paliyan Utilizes Facebook
July 11, 2013. Anti-Ballistic Missiles and the Hutterites
July 4, 2013. Piaroa Fear Destructive Effects of Proposed Mining
July 4, 2013. Batek Cope with Globalization [journal article review]
June 27, 2013. The Tahitian Language and Peacefulness
June 27, 2013. Research Facility Emulates Inuit Traditional Knowledge
June 20, 2013. Lepchas Await their Development Board
June 20, 2013. Amish Reluctance to File Lawsuits
June 13, 2013. Further Training for Birhor Boys
June 13, 2013. Causes of Inuit Suicides
June 6, 2013. Market Forces in Ladakh
June 6, 2013. Amish Technology Conference
May 30, 2013. Pictures of Nubians
May 30, 2013. Tahitians Vote in a New Government
May 23, 2013. Lepcha Schoolgirl Meets Famous Actor
May 23, 2013. Another Invasion in Namibia
May 16, 2013. Hutterites Establish a New Colony
May 16, 2013. Zapotec Radio Station Closed
May 9, 2013. Mbuti Cherish the Forest—Does Anyone Care?
May 9, 2013. Buid Retain their Peaceful Society [anthology chapter review]
May 2, 2013. Nubians Have Conflicts
May 2, 2013. Indian Government Ignores Educated Birhor Boys
April 25, 2013. Back River Heritage Status Questioned
April 25, 2013. Sam Mullet Headed a Cult, not an Amish Congregation
April 18, 2013. G/wi File Another Court Suit
April 18, 2013. Yanadi Fish Farming May Be Threatened
April 11, 2013. Montana Hutterites Appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court
April 11, 2013. Protecting the Piaroa Environment
April 4, 2013. Film Festival in Ladakh Promotes Women’s Equality
April 4, 2013. Amish Reality Versus TV Shows
March 30, 2013. News and Reviews Feature Will Resume
March 14, 2013. Nubian Delegates Meet President Morsi
March 14, 2013. Violence Threatens the Lepchas
March 7, 2013 . Equality for Fipa Women
March 7, 2013. Yanadi Families in Andhra Pradesh Gain and Lose Welfare
February 28, 2013. Tristan Couple on Isle of Man
February 28, 2013. Amish Protect the Land
February 21, 2013. Scientists Collaborate with the Inuit
February 21, 2013. Semai Beliefs about Snakes
February 14, 2013. Zapotec Communities Confront Mining
February 14, 2013. Conflict in the Hills of West Bengal
February 7, 2013. Court Settlement of Herero Invasion
February 7, 2013. Photos of the Batek
January 31, 2013. Flowering Plants, Tamil Poetry, and the Paliyans
January 31, 2013. Semai Participation in the Digital Age [journal article review]
January 24, 2013. Botswana Hassles the G/wi—and Offers Job Training
January 24, 2013. Fracking Among the Amish [magazine article review]
January 17, 2013. Egyptian Government Grants Land to Nubians
January 17, 2013. Old Year’s Night on Tristan
January 10, 2013. Hutterites Lose Court Challenge
January 10, 2013. Too Much Chang in Ladakh?
January 3, 2013. Ohio Amish Birding
January 3, 2013 . Inuit Cooperate with the Saami [journal article review]