That’s Raven Talk
Canadian Plains Research Center / 21 December 2011

That’s Raven Talk by Mareike Neuhaus Published by Canadian Plains Research Centre Review by William Wardill $34.95 ISBN 978 -0-88977-233-5 The title of this book attracts readers who know about the place of Raven in Native spirituality. This book is identified on its cover as literary criticism. It was written primarily for those who understand the terminology of linguistics and for whom the study of languages is both a science and a passion. That’s Raven Talk began as a dissertation and, through the editorial judgement of Canadian Plains Research, became a book which expands on the use of the holophrase (one-word sentence) in the translation of Indigenous languages into English. Neuhaus examines carefully and at length excerpts from works by a bevy of writers who are familiar with Indigenous languages and culture. These are Ishmael Alunik ( Call Me Israel), Alootook Ipellie (Artic Dreams and Nightmares), Richard Van Camp (The Lesser Blessed), Thomas King (Green Grass, Running Water), and Louise Bernice Halfe (Blue Marrow.) In company with these authors, Neuhaus takes her readers into a half-lit world where everything familiar is subtly different. Although she writes for scientists, any word-lover can journey through her book to a deeper understanding of…

With Love To You All, Bogga S.
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 14 December 2011

With Love to You All, Bogga S by Audrhea Lande Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Catherine Fuchs $28.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-62-0 This biography of Sigurbjorg Stefansson, known affectionately as “Bogga”, brings to us the original and inspiring story of “Bogga’s” life. From the outset, author Audrhea Lande engages the reader by weaving together the stories and personal letters from the life of Sigurbjorg Stefansson, long time teacher and philanthropist. With Love to You All, Bogga S contains personal and evocative descriptions of the hardships of immigrant life in the early 20th century amid the Prairie Provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The story of “Bogga’s” life are preserved with many historical pictures, letters and newspaper clippings that give a visual support to this personal account of one of Canada’s outstanding pioneers. Audrhea Lande reveals the depth of character that was possessed by Sigurbjorg Stefansson, a woman who cared deeply about social issues, and a woman who was ahead of her time as a freethinker and humanist. Sigurbjorg “Bogga” Stefansson, like many of the Icelandic pioneers contributed greatly to furthering literacy in Canada through the arts and education. Sigurbjorg Stefansson taught school at Carrick, Lundar, and at Gimli from 1923…

Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future

Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future: Celebrating a Century of Excellence in Education at the University of Regina Campus Text by Dr. James Pitsula Photos selected by Don Hall and Dr. Stephen King Published by the Canadian Plains Research Centre Press Review by Jessica Bickford $39.95 ISBN 9-780889-772434 There are one-hundred years of history packed into Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future, which is a visually stunning compilation of archival photographs and historical tidbits about the University of Regina. Dr. James Pitsula, who authored the text, is not only a history professor at the University of Regina, but he is also the authority on U of R history – having written three other books on the subject. Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future chronicles the U of R’s story from its humble beginnings in 1911 when Regina College (which was then a high school established by the Methodist Church) opened its doors to a whopping twenty-seven students, right up to the present day when the University now has twelve-thousand students, three federated colleges, and twenty research centres to its name. The intervening years, all chronicled through gorgeous photographs of students, faculty members, staff and buildings, are thoroughly described in four…

Within the Stillness
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 7 December 2011

Within the Stillness: One Family’s Winter on a Northern Trapline by Keith Olsen Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by William Wardill $16.95 ISBN 978–1–894431–61-3 This book encapsulates deeply etched memories of Keith Olsen, whose grandfather came to the United States from Denmark in 1910 at the age of thirteen. When he moved to Canada, he settled in the Big River district of Saskatchewan, where he married Anna Ethier in 1914. After the birth of two daughters, she became a victim of the 1918 influenza plague. The elder daughter, Florence, became the mother of James Edward Olsen, who was born out of wedlock in 1934. Florence Olsen married an English immigrant, Thomas Edward Nicholson, in 1937. After only nine years in the Nicholson family, James Olsen’s relationship with his stepfather became unendurable, and he set out on his own. He was twelve years old. In the late summer of 1960, James Olsen, his wife (always identified as Mum), and their young sons Clarence and Keith went to Little Mahigan Lake for a winter on the trapline. What follows is a colloquial account of living off the land. Aside from a few purchased necessities, they ate what forest and lake…