Mudeater
University of Regina Press / 26 April 2017

Mudeater: An American Buffalo Hunter and the Surrender of Louis Riel by John D. Pihach Published by University of Regina Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $27.95 ISBN 9-780889-774582 It’s significant when an illustrious individual appropriates an ancestry, ie: Archie Belaney reinventing himself as Grey Owl. Frontiersman Irvin Mudeater had Grey Owl beat: Mudeater switched back and forth between Indian and European ancestry each time he crossed the 49th Parallel. Born to a Wyandot Chief in Kansas, Mudeater’s story encompasses buffalo hunting, stage coach driving, the Civil War, and criminal activity that saw him flee to Canada in 1882 and become “Robert Armstrong,” the white man who settled in Prince Albert and was credited (with two others) for bringing Louis Riel into custody in 1885. Yorkton writer John D. Pihach became fascinated with Mudeater/Armstrong’s Wild West and Canadian stories after learning that his neighbor was the great-grandson of the famous man, and that Armstrong had written an accessible and unpublished memoir. Considering Armstrong’s storytelling penchant, “some of his claims relating to certain historical events appear unconvincing,” but Pihach believes the “savage nature” of his “Indian” encounters are reliable. The result is the book Mudeater: An American Buffalo Hunter and the…

In the Temple of the Rain God
University of Regina Press / 20 April 2016

In the Temple of the Rain God: The Life and Times of ‘Irish’ Charlie Wilson by Garrett Wilson Published by Canadian Plains Research Center Review by Keith Foster $29.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-288-5 Reading In the Temple of the Rain God: The Life and Times of “Irish” Charlie Wilson is like getting two stories in one, or more precisely, a story within a story. The subject of this biography is one that author Garrett Wilson is intimately familiar with –his father. A family history, this book is also a history of Saskatchewan’s first 50 years as seen through the eyes of one man. In weaving a narrative of his father, Garrett quotes heavily from a combination of diary entries, correspondence, and tape-recorded reminiscences that his sister had the foresight to record. As a result, Charlie is able to tell his own story in his own words. Born in Ireland, Charlie immigrated in 1905, the year Saskatchewan became a province, and settled, appropriately, in Limerick, SK. He wore many hats in his lifetime – homesteader, businessman, politician, and debt adjuster. Charlie hobnobbed with prominent politicians of the new province. A genial host, he had all but one of Saskatchewan’s early premiers stay overnight…

Identities of Marie Rose Delorme Smith: Portrait of a Métis Woman, 1861 – 1960
University of Regina Press / 4 September 2015

The Identities of Marie Rose Delorme Smith: Portrait of a Métis Woman, 1861-1960 by Doris Jeanne MacKinnon Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $34.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-236-6 Doris Jeanne MacKinnon’s The Identities of Métis Rose Delorme Smith: Portrait of a Métis Woman is an incredible story of a seemingly ordinary woman who lived a remarkable life spanning nearly a century, from 1861 to 1960. In an era when ordinary women often remained unknown, what sets her apart? She lived at a time and place when significant western Canadian history was being made and personally knew many of the historical personalities of the time. She was also well-educated and literate, rare for a Métis woman of that period, and recorded her experiences in a diary. It’s incredible that she overcame all the hardships she did – surviving whooping cough as a youth, being “traded” in 1877, at age sixteen, to a white man more than twice her age for $50, giving birth to seventeen children, and losing two sons in the First World War. According to Marie Rose, her arranged marriage was the result of a misunderstanding. When Charlie Smith, a wealthy whisky trader, grabbed hold of her…

The Strength of Women
Coteau Books / 1 February 2012

The Strength of Women, Ahkameyimowak by Priscilla Settee Published by Coteau Books Reviewed by Donna Gudjonson $19.95 ISBN 13:9781550504569 Author Priscilla Settee is an Aboriginal scholar, educator, writer, and activist in Saskatchewan. In her book The Strength of Women she unfolds a collection of spellbinding stories told by fifteen Aboriginal women who have all struggled through great adversity to become unsung heroes, role models, activists, educators, artists and spiritual healers. The stories are presented in five categories: Beginnings, Work, Art, Spirit and Community. Though each story is unique there are underlying threads of injustice, racism, abuse, sexism and hardship seasoned with happier memories and anecdotes. As the book flows on we see how each woman’s path is shaped by her experiences. I found the first stories to be the most enlightening yet sorrowful to read but I found myself drawn deeply into each woman’s life and because it is written in her own voice and dialect it was like hearing her tell the story in person. The women spoke of how racism, poverty, violence and substance abuse affected their own families and communities. Each storyteller speaks of a personal struggle and a turning point when an opportunity presented itself to…

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…