Treasured historical memories of this area

Those curious about the early history of this area will find this small booklet published by the CAHS press, an interesting study. It begins with a look at the expedition of John Palliser.

Three-Persons and the

Chokitapix Jean L’Heureux’s

Blackfoot Geography of 1871

Translated and Edited by Allen Ronaghan

Published by Central Alberta Historical Society

$24.95

Those curious about the early history of this area will find this small booklet published by the CAHS press, an interesting study.

It begins with a look at the expedition of John Palliser.

The Palliser Expedition of 1857-60, sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society, aimed to map the Prairies with a view to settlement by European immigrants.

The report would identify areas of timber, arable land and routes for railroads (CPR).

Less well examined by the expedition were those lands of the Blackfoot Indians, Peigan and Blood tribes, who did not welcome white men.

This diary of Jean L’Herureux gives a comprehensive description of these unexamined areas, places known to Albertans by other names.

This diary, originally written in the French language, has been translated and edited by Allen Ronaghan.

The name “three-persons” of the title, was given to L’Herureux by the Blackfoot, when, as a Roman Catholic Priest, he spread the message of God, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). L’Herureux had some training in a seminary, but did not become a priest.

When he joined the Blackfoot tribes and became fluent in their language, he passed himself off as a priest.

That detail, though interesting, is not really important to this diary.

The descriptions of the land, the rivers and small watercourses, as well as the Blackfoot names given to these areas are the strength of this telling.

The author has included the diary in French as well as a brief dictionary of the Blackfoot language, and maps.

In the front of the book is an introduction giving details of L’Herureux’s origins, and the difficulties the author found working with the diary and verifying the details as far as possible. In the body of the book, a diary excerpt is given, with explanatory footnotes by the author.

One diary entry explains the social set up of the tribes and one sad note relates . . . “three tribes, the Blackfoot, the Bloods, and the Peigans . . . the country is owned in common by the entire nation with a territorial division for each tribe.”

Is it any wonder they did not welcome those who planned to sell off their land?

Because this is a small book, it is possible to keep your finger in the maps pages and check as you read, finding the places called by their Blackfoot names, now named differently.

L’Herureux reports on a One Tree Creek (now part of Dinosaur Park) and the enormous vertebrae of a powerful animal.

The natives called them “the bones of a grandfather bison”. (This is the first report of dinosaur bones in Alberta).

Though his diary reads like a government report recommending the land for immigration, it ends on a sad note.

The whisky traders from America have come to the Blackfoot land and L’Herureux pleads with the government to “put an end to such evil.”

A nice interesting dip into Alberta history.

Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.

Just Posted

Red Deer wants no repeat of Calgary Stampede deaths

North American Pony Chuckwagon Championship

Central Alberta firefighters’ wildfire expertise recognized

Clearwater County Regional Fire Services chosen to create crack firefighting unit

Amazon Prime Day kind of ho hum for local retailers

E-commerce giant Prime Day sale runs Monday and Tuesday

Innisfail woman facing fraud charges

RCMP allege woman stole more than $54,000

Visitors flock to Bluebird Festival

Annual festival takes place east of Blackfalds

Chavis’ grand slam helps Red Sox beat Blue Jays 10-8

BOSTON — Rookie Michael Chavis hit a grand slam, Xander Bogaerts had… Continue reading

Group wants charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

CALGARY — An animal welfare group is renewing its call for cruelty… Continue reading

Cannabis producer Organigram Holdings Inc. reports $10.2M third-quarter loss

Organigram Holdings Inc. reported a third-quarter loss as revenue slipped amid lower… Continue reading

Churches jump into action with threat of immigration sweeps

CHICAGO — As a nationwide immigration crackdown loomed, religious leaders across the… Continue reading

Some in GOP rebuke Trump, but party leaders still silent

WASHINGTON — Top Republicans remained largely silent after President Donald Trump said… Continue reading

You don’t feel alientated, Trudeau tells western Canadians

National unity is not being threatened by the federal government’s attack on… Continue reading

Final blast of torrential rains unleashed by weakened Barry

NEW ORLEANS — Tropical Depression Barry spared New Orleans from catastrophic flooding,… Continue reading

Evidence erased by police would have freed wrongfully convicted man: defence lawyer

HALIFAX — A defence lawyer who fought to free Glen Assoun from… Continue reading

Most Read