Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records at the South Peace Regional Archives

Photograph: Sturgeon Lake Café, N.D. SPRA 0175.084.04 Part of Valleyview & District Chamber of Commerce Millennium Photograph collection

The South Peace Regional Archives initiated a survey of the region’s holdings in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) call to actions to locate records within their holdings related to Indian Residential Schools. We found very few records related to residential schools, but we did find several records related to Indigenous people and communities in our region. We decided to expand the scope of our research to look for any records related to Indigenous peoples within our holdings.

Thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers, we now have a small database of material to share. While we pursue avenues of access, we would like to start sharing some of these images and documents.

This photo (SPRA 0175.084.04) is from the Valleyview & District Chamber of Commerce Millennium Photograph collection; the photographs were gathered by Mary Ellen MacGregor for the “Journey to the Millenium” collection sponsored by the Valleyview and District Chamber of Commerce.

The photo is captioned “Pierre ?, Bella Badger (Joyce), Teddy Desjarlais, and Pete Joyce in front of the Sturgeon Lake Café, also called Taylor’s.”

If you know who Pierre is, have stories about young Indigenous culture, or Sturgeon Lake Café let us know! Please contact us at info@southpeacearchives.org or 780-830-5105 to share any memories or information you have.

Telling Our Stories: Coming Soon!

Keep an eye out for our upcoming edition of Telling Our Stories all about the Old West! This magazine will feature articles about women in the rodeo, wild horses, Treaty Eight, the Sturgeon Lake Games, the Lake Saskatoon Games, and the Peace Country Land Settlement database. The Old West edition will come out in early September so keep your eye on the website to find the digital copy, or become a member to have the physical copy mailed to you!

Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records at the South Peace Regional Archives

Photograph: July 1st Sports Day, ca. 1910. SPRA 0056.01.003c-2 Part of Harry Tuffill fonds

The South Peace Regional Archives initiated a survey of the region’s holdings in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) call to actions to locate records within their holdings related to Indian Residential Schools. We found very few records related to residential schools, but we did find several records related to Indigenous people and communities in our region. We decided to expand the scope of our research to look for any records related to Indigenous peoples within our holdings.

Thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers, we now have a small database of material to share. While we pursue avenues of access, we would like to start sharing some of these images and documents.

This photo (SPRA 0056.01.003c-2) is captioned “Indians Racing, July 1st 1910” at Saskatoon Lake Sports Day.” This photo is part of the Harry Tuffill fonds; it was taken by Harry Tuffill while he was in the Peace Country with Walter McFarlane’s survey crew.  Our records do not identify the people in this photo, so if you may know who they are or have other stories about local Indigenous entertainment we would love to hear it! Please contact us at info@southpeacearchives.org or 780-830-5105.

Soldier Spotlight: Michael Cashaback

Photograph: Community reception for approximately 100 men in civilian and military clothing during World War II, 1942 (SPRA 1969.39.723)

 

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

The only son of Nicholas and Pauline Cashaback, Mike was born on November 15, 1919 in Cochrane, ON. He moved with his family from Ontario to Edmonton in the mid 1920s, and 2 years later to Esher (now Silverwood near Rycroft) where he received his education to grade 8. In 1941 Mike joined the Canadian Army as a blacksmith, but was employed as a cook. Later he became a provost (with the military police). Mike married Evelyn Betty Lamper on July 21, 1942. While in Holland, Mike was wounded on March 19, 1945 at Niemagen, and he sailed back to Canada on the hospital ship S.S. Nelson, returning to Silverwood. After the war, Mike tried farming, then worked as a blacksmith and in a lumberyard. In 1958 he became the Rycroft Village Policeman. The Cashaback family had 4 children by this time: Michael, Ozann, Gail, and Debra, and they moved to Grimshaw AB in 1962. There Mike continued police work until 1964, and began building houses for J. B. Tissington in Grimshaw and Peace River. When Evelyn Betty and Mike divorced in 1975, he moved to Madeira BC, keeping active in the Legion and Lions club. He passed away in Vancouver on November 9, 1981, and his ashes were spread on Pender Harbour, his favourite fishing spot.

Source:
Chepi Sepe p. 183 (photo)
Wheatfields and Wildflowers p. 461

Explore the History of…

The “Explore the History” series in Telling Our Stories focuses on rural communities that were once more than what they are today. In this age of increasing urbanization and centralization, it is easy to forget that the much of the history of the South Peace Region is found in these places. Settlers arriving through the first half of the twentieth century settled largely in the countryside. They made their living farming or utilizing the natural resources the region offered. Distance, time, and poor roads were often obstacles to travel so, once arrived, people tended to work and play locally. As transportation improved and services centralized, many of these small communities faded into fond memories of their former selves.

Ready to start exploring? Pick a tour, grab your sunscreen (and bug spray), and join us as we explore the history of the South Peace!

 

Explore the History of Halcourt Ridge (March 2017: p. 12)

Explore the History of South Wapiti (March 2016: p. 12)

Explore the History of Lymburn & Demmit (September 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of Crystal Lake (June 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of the Spirit River Settlement (March 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of DeBolt –Ridgevalley (September 2014: p. 12)

Explore the History of Huallen and the Saskatoon Mountain Radar Base (June 2014: p. 12)

Explore the History of Grande Prairie and Environs ca. 1914 (March 2014: p. 10)

Explore the History of Belloy and Codesa (September 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History Across the Smoky (June 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History of Bezanson (March 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History of the Bear Creek Flats (September 2012: p. 8)

Explore the Aboriginal History of our Place Names (June 2012: p. 8)

Explore the History of White Mountain (March 2012: p.8)

Explore the History of Grovedale (September 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of the Kleskun Hills (June 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of Bear Creek (March 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of Sturgeon Lake (September 2010: p. 8)

Explore the History of New Fish Creek (March 2010: p. 8)

Explore the History of the Burnt River Valley (December 2009: p. 8)

Archives Receives Provincial Recognition for Telling Our Stories Magazine

Last month, the South Peace Regional Archives received provincial recognition for Telling Our Stories magazine.  The Archives Society of Alberta (ASA) presented the Alan D. Ridge Award of Merit (Print) to this “high-quality publication,” published by the South Peace Regional Archives. The nomination stated that Telling Our Stories is “an inspiration to the other heritage institutions in our Network and is what many aspire to achieve.” ASA Board Member Carson Murphy formally presented the award to Archives staff on Friday, May 31st.

Alan D. Ridge Publications Award

Each year, the Archives Society of Alberta “recognizes excellence in the form of research, opinion, analysis, etc. on some aspect of archives studies, records management, the use of records, archival institutions, or the archival profession.” The Alan D. Ridge Award of Merit (Print) recognizes these contributions via print resources such as books, pamphlets, brochures, peer-reviewed articles, etc.

The award is named in honour of Alan D. Ridge, Provincial Archivist of Alberta from 1968-1984. His active involvement in archives and records management in England, Canada, and the United States has provided leadership and stimulation to the archival community in Alberta and beyond.

Telling Our Stories Magazine

Telling Our Stories is a quarterly magazine, published by the South Peace Regional Archives. The magazine highlights content and resources from the Archives’ collections and includes submissions from Archives’ staff, volunteers, and members of the public. First published in 2009, Telling Our Stories began as a newsletter before transitioning to a magazine format in the fall of 2017. Issues in 2018 highlighted “Timeless Love: Weddings of the South Peace” (March), “National Indigenous History Month” (June), “South Peace Fish & Game” (September), and “International Travels” (December). Telling Our Stories is available to the public, free of charge, at the Archives or through our website. Members of the Archives’ Society receive print copies via mail.

ASA Board Member Carson Murphy formally presents the Alan D. Ridge Award of Merit (Print) to Archives staff Alyssa Currie (Executive Director) and Josephine Sallis (Archivist), 31 May 2019.

Bonnets for Easter

The Kentucky Derby hasn’t got anything on these ladies! New clothes for Easter had been a tradition for many families for years. The Just-A-Mere-Ladies Club took that a little bit further with their annual Easter bonnet creations. Seems like something we might to revive.

La Glace Just-A-Mere-Ladies Club group photo featuring their specially made hats. Ladies present include Isabelle Christiansen, Mabel Hagen, Alice Wartenbe, Gloria Cavanough, Glady Maple?, Jean Haakstad

Happy Easter!

We’re sorry to announce that we are closed for Easter Monday. Here’s a little Easter joy to alleviate the inconvenience.

Cards and postcards are wonderful bits of personal correspondence that can shed bits of light on personal history. These two Easter postcards from the Grimm-Vader Family fonds are an example. The first has no correspondence, suggesting good intentions but perhaps a bit of forgetfulness or procrastination on the part of a young man (Ora Grimm). The second was sent to Mr. Ora Grim while he was visiting family in Venus, Nebraska.

“Raven, Nebraska, April 21, 1916

Dear Nephew,

As we got a letter from Ralph telling us you was here from Canada, would be glad to have you Boys both come up or I make up a visit. We are all well. It has been cold and windy now for some time. Drop us a line. With Best Wishes from Aunt Celia & family, Raven, Nebraska, Brown, Co.”

This short piece of correspondence helps us build a picture of an extended family with a foothold in two countries. Luckily, we have more than this to go on for the Grimm-Vader family. Processing for this fonds is nearing completion and will soon be ready for researchers. It includes almost a thousand photographs, postcards, and two extensive family histories.

We are very grateful to Nora and Ray Grimm for sharing their family history with the Archives. It will be a wonderful treasure for years to come.

Making History Accessible, One VCR At a Time

Image: some of the technology we use to help preserve and make media records accessible at the South Peace Regional Archives.

The South Peace Regional Archives collects a wide variety of documentary materials as part of our mandate to acquire, preserve, and make accessible historical records related to families and organizations in the South Peace Region. A collection of relevant older media technology is an important component of the “make accessible” part of our mandate.

Older (working) media technology makes it possible for us to digitize reel-to-reel film, cassettes, beta tapes, and VHS. For those items not yet digitized, the old VCRs, cassette, players, and beta machines allow researchers to view and listen to stories they would not have the opportunity enjoy.

We have a good collection of film projectors and even a couple of beta machines that help us make film, video, and audio recordings accessible to researchers. Oddly enough, we have no working VCRs or cassette players. If you have one of these precious media gems gathering dust in your abode, we would love to hear from you. The SPRA has a growing collection of VCR materials that document several families and organizations in the South Peace Region. You and your old machine can help make those records accessible.

You can contact us at info@southpeacearchives.org or call us at 780-830-5105.

Wooden Valentines

While Beth Sheehan collected history and photographs from the Peace River Country, she also collected physical objects, including samples of wood.  In her collection here at the archives, we have a story and photographs of wood samples collected by Beth in the local area and in her travels. In 1954, her husband Everett gave her a wooden Valentine he made while camping on the desert in Arizona. She thought it so lovely that together they made more. Everett made boards approximately 1/4 inch thick with a band saw. Beth traced heart shapes on the boards, then cut them out with a coping saw. She filed and sanded them meticulously, making them into three-dimensional hearts. Oiling brought out the natural beauty and grain of the wood. On the back of each heart was noted the name of the wood, where it was from, the year, and in some cases, who gave it to her. She didn’t make duplicates. She also took pictures of polished wood and some wooden jewelry. Arthritis in 1985 made it too difficult to hold and work on the small pieces, and no more were made, though many pieces had been prepared.

Beth’s Wooden Valentines