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McGill Reporter
September 11, 2003 - Volume 36 Number 01
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On campus

First Nations festivities

The North American aboriginal tradition of the Pow Wow has been around for centuries, and it's entirely possible that festivals of dancing, singing and trading happened on what is now lower field, 400 years ago, when the site was known as Hochelaga. In any case, it had been a few centuries since an honour song had been sung there, until last year when McGill's First Peoples' House held their first Pow Wow.

Paricipants in First Peoples' House pow wow

Following up on that success, starting at 10:30 am on September 19, the field next to Burnside Hall near the Roddick Gates will once more be converted -- or perhaps a better word would be reverted -- into a fairground of Aboriginal arts, crafts and foods. In addition there will be performers such as Kontirennotátie, the women's traditional singing group from Kanehsatà:ke Mohawk Territory, and Inuit throat singers Evie Mark and Agnes Sivuaratik. It's a participatory event -- last year onlookers were asked to join in dances.

First Peoples' House aims to provide a sense of community and a voice for Aboriginal students on campus, welcoming Métis, Inuit, and Native peoples (both status and non-status). In addition to the Pow Wow, First Peoples' House runs a small library, hosts movie nights and other cultural events and sponsors guest lecturers. For more information, drop in at 3505 Peel Street, call 398-3217, email firstpeopleshouse@mcgill.ca, or check out their website at www.mcgill.ca/fph.

The kissing booth

There are two kinds of people in the world -- those who like to talk about sex, and those who like to listen. There are rumours of a third kind who take a more active interest but we at the Reporter were not able to locate any on campus. Nonetheless, all kinds of talkers, listeners, doers and dreamers all have a place at Venez Tels Quels, a co-op sex shop now open at 5427 St. Laurent.

Illustration of a sex manual and an open eye

Fear not, this isn't a blatant commercial plug -- Venez Tels Quels (VTQ), a sister shop to Toronto's Come As You Are, is an educational as well as commercial concern and they need your ears and brains for their workshop series.

"I'm always looking for people who do something in this area or who have an idea of something they want to do and want to develop it with us. That would be great," said Tamara Kramer of VTQ.

So far speakers will offer penetrating insights on female ejaculation, seduction and desire in women over forty, and a seminal talk on erotic literature. So, if you have insights to offer on Kama Sutra or a desire to write steamy scenes, get in touch with VTQ at McGill Health Services Sexuality Fair on September 24 -- look for the buzzing booth with the books. Or you can check them out at www.veneztelsquels.com, tel. 495-0444. The Sexuality Fair runs Sept. 24 in the Leacock and moves to the Brown building on the 25, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm both days.

Et tu, EU

On Friday, September 12, the Macdonald Engineering building will be overrun with people speaking strange guttural languages, eating unidentifiable stinky foods and discussing the federation. Fear not – it isn't a convention of "Star Trek" fans. It's a rarer breed still -- a conference of European scholars.

Well, conference is a little too grand. The event is going by the unpretentious moniker of discussion (and refreshment!) on the topic of "What's Going on about Europe and the European Union – In Montreal?"

Well, lots actually. One of the keynote speakers will be Armand De Mestral, co-director of the Institute of European Studies, a joint Université de Montréal/McGill venture. De Mestral was recently appointed Jean Monnet Professor of the Law of International Economic Integration by the European Commission, of which there are only two dozen in North America.

In addition to serving as a meet and greet for Europhiles in Montreal, the discussion will give participants the chance to talk about ENAM (European Network at McGill) and its Montreal counterparts, SPECQUE (Simulation du parlement européen), as well as Canada–EU exchange programs.

"What's Going on about Europe and the European Union – In Montreal?" 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm September 12, in the Macdonald Engineering Building, Room 388.

Who, me? A member of the Canadian citizenry?

Book cover of Shall We Dance?

McGill-Queen's University Press will kick off its on campus book launches with Shall we Dance? A Patriotic Politics for Canada, by philosophy professor Charles Blattberg of Université de Montréal. Blattberg, formerly a student of Charles Taylor at McGill and Sir Isaiah Berlin at Oxford, draws on Canadians as diverse as Quebecois rocker Jean Leloup and John A. Macdonald to build a primer on how to be a patriotic politico. Blattberg says his book is "about why we Canadians ought to converse more about our political conflicts, rather than just bargaining or going to court."

Wednesday September 24, 2003, 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, 2nd floor, McGill University Bookstore Café, 3420 McTavish.

Not just a six-legged flying bug

The ancient Aztecs believed monarch butterflies were the incarnation of fallen warriors, wearing the colours of battle. The monarch (also known as Danaus plexippus) probably has more in common with the Canadian retiree, spending summers in North America and then migrating by the millions to Mexico for the winter.

Monarch butterfly

Sweet Briar College biology professor Lincoln Brower is the monarch man, having spent the last 26 years studying the overwintering sites of the nomadic insect. He will be coming to McGill to deliver an aptly titled lecture on "The Grand Saga of the Monarch Butterfly."

Brower will be sharing both his knowledge and a selection of his 35mm colour slides taken over the past two decades. How the monarch survives in the volcanic highlands of Mexico and how they find their way for all that distance are mysteries he will address.

Although the monarch still flourishes, it faces hazards of the natural and man-made variety. The Oyamel forest of Mexico, where the butterflies take shelter in the winter, is under siege from development. In addition, a January 2002 storm killed 250 million of them. Nonetheless, there's hope, as Brower is involved in a number of conservation projects involving D. plexippus in co-operation with the Mexican, Canadian and U.S. governments as well as the World Wild-life Fund.

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