Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oscar Lathlin... human rights leader dies in Manitoba

Oscar Lathlin (died this morning--- November 2, 2008). Oscar was a great humanist and humanitarian and member of the New Democratic Party's majority government in Manitoba, serving as the Minister of Northern Affairs at the time of his death.

Oscar did not just talk about "hope;" his life was all about making the hopes of people for a better life become reality.

Oscar did not just talk about "change;" every day of his life was spent trying to create change that made the lives of people better, sometimes in small ways, but ways important to the person or family or community experiencing a problem; other times, the change was of monumental importance for Aboriginal people and the entire working class... Oscar Lathlin was a driving force and powerhouse in bringing the New Democratic Party to power in Manitoba, establishing a government friendly and attentive to the needs of the racially oppressed and the exploited working class... no small feat and accomplishment given the thoroughly corrupt and rotten governments most people in North America are forced to contend with in the name of "democracy."

Oscar Lathlin understood, fully, that without unity of all peoples, no people would get the kind of change they want and need.

Oscar Lathlin was a former Cree Chief and strong, tireless advocate for the Cree people.

It is ironic that when missing some days in the workings of Manitoba government--- due to illness--- the conservatives chose to viciously attack Oscar Lathlin for not being present, even though one day spent by Oscar Lathlin attending to the people's business amounted to more than these conservatives have ever done; in fact, often Oscar's very long days working were usually spent undoing some aspect of harm that these conservatives did to Aboriginal people and all working people while these conservative hypocrites were in power.

Oscar Lathlin helped bring quality health care to remote Northern Communities in Manitoba which had previously been "overlooked" by racist federal governments; he was a staunch supporter of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Board which has helped to create decent livelihoods for many Aboriginal people for whom fishing is a major part of their lives and source of their livelihoods while defending the rights of Aboriginal trappers, hunters and gatherers.

Oscar helped our family considerably when we were facing deportation from Canada; an unselfish act of humanism and friendship we will never forget.

No matter how busy Oscar was he would make time to help anyone coming to him with a problem; often he would assist people when they never even asked if he thought he could help them... this was the kind and caring person he was.

Oscar Lathlin was a problem solver at a time when many politicians do nothing but create problems and misery for people of color and working people.

The one thing Oscar Lathlin was intolerant of was: injustice.

Oscar Lathlin would provide support to any struggle intended to make life better for Aboriginal people and all working people. Whether it be the struggle to end racism and for full equality, for good housing & quality health care & quality education, safe drinking water supplies, creating jobs with good living wages while protecting the right of workers to be employed in safe and healthy work environments, and defending the environment... Oscar Lathlin was always there and ready to help and assist people in any way he could... and, Oscar pushed government hard to respond to providing what people required to live decent and meaningful lives. Oscar Lathlin believed that government existed for the primary purpose of making life better for people.

Oscar's entire life was one of dedication to making life better for all people by making the world a kinder, more respectful and decent place for everyone to live.

A truly great human being and caring politician has died; all people struggling to make the world a better place to live will miss Oscar Lathlin.

The world is a better place for all of us to live in because Oscar Lathlin struggled with us to make the world a better place to live.

Oscar Lathlin, a common man with uncommon concern for humankind, and the courage to struggle to make the world a better place to live.

We will never forget Oscar Lathlin's caring, concern and friendship when others, with a perverted sense of what they thought government was for--- repressing ideas--- were trying to inflict harm on our family.

For anyone looking for the true meaning of what it means to be "progressive," look at the life lived by Oscar Lathlin.

We join with people struggling for justice and human dignity, indigenous people's rights, worker's rights and human rights all over the world in joining with Manitobans in mourning the passing of Oscar Lathlin.

The world has lost a great humanist and humanitarian.

Oscar Lathlin will live through us and our struggles for honest government which grows out of the peoples' struggles for a better life.

Alan L. Maki

Jeremy A. Maki

Carrie L. (Maki) Johnston

Manitoba cabinet minister, Oscar Lathlin, dies

Updated Sun. Nov. 2 2008 3:52 PM ET

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG -- Manitoba aboriginal affairs minister Oscar Lathlin has died, provincial officials have confirmed.

Premier Gary Doer's press secretary says Lathlin, who was 61, died Sunday morning.

Details and the cause of death were not immediately known.

Lathlin was a long-serving member of Doer's government who was first elected to the Manitoba legislature as an New Democrat in 1990.

A veteran with years of experience running aboriginal band councils, Lathlin represented the riding of The Pas, the town where he was born on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in 1947.

He has also served on various committees of the Assembly of First Nations and as a consultant to the federal government.

The cabinet table was a long way from Lathlin's humble beginnings. He served as the man of the house at age 12 when his father died, Chomiak said. He worked trap lines near The Pas, pursued a university degree and landed a job with the federal government.

Later, he became chief of The Pas, working to improve the local school and create new jobs.

Manitoba cabinet minister, Oscar Lathlin, dies

Updated Sun. Nov. 2 2008 7:09 PM ET

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG -- For a politician, Oscar Lathlin was unusually quiet.

The cabinet minister and longtime member of the Manitoba legislature, who died suddenly Sunday morning at the age of 61, cared little for glad-handing, speeches or scrums, preferring instead to work quietly to improve the lives of people in the north.

"Anything that had to do with First Nation education or northern education, Oscar was a champion of," Attorney General Dave Chomiak said Sunday.

"It was his belief that education and economic development were absolutely pivotal to the north, and that's something he never gave up on."

Federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, in a written statement, called Lathlin "a true visionary" and a valued partner.

The cause of death was not immediately available. Lathlin had a history of respiratory trouble, although he never complained and was loathe to talk about himself.

"In cabinet, he didn't talk that often, but when he did talk, everyone listened," Chomiak said.

"He was the last person to talk about what he was doing ... he said he would do it and it got done."

The cabinet table was a long way from Lathlin's humble beginnings. He served as the man of the house at age 12 when his father died, Chomiak said. He worked trap lines near The Pas, pursued a university degree and landed a job with the federal government.

Later, he became chief of The Pas, working to improve the local school and create new jobs.

Lathlin was elected to the legislature in 1990 as a member of the NDP opposition. When the NDP took power nine years later, he was named minister of conservation, switching in 2002 to minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.

The portfolio would give Lathlin more power to develop opportunities in the north.

Among his proudest achievements was the University College of The North, which brought post-secondary learning to 12 far-flung communities.

He also established the First Peoples Economic Growth Fund along with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs -- a $20-million dollar pool of money aimed at helping aboriginal businesses start up or expand.

Throughout his career, and despite his health problems, Lathlin would return as often as possible to The Pas, driving seven hours on many weekends from Winnipeg over bumpy rural roads.

"He put more mileage on more vehicles than almost anyone I know," Chomiak said.

"He achieved a lot without having to talk about it."