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

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read