June - A Book You Didn’t Finish the First Time!
For the month of June, Sarah, our Researcher read "Keeping the Lakes' Way: Reburial and the Re-creation of a Moral World among an Invisible People" by anthropologist Paula Pryce. Written in 1999, this book was the first book devoted to the story of the Sinixt, or Lakes People. The theme for June's reading challenge is 'A book you didn't finish the first time.’ Well, this is the book that Sarah has picked up to read SO MANY times, but has always been interrupted by the million other things to do at the Museum! So, she was very pleased that she could use this book for this challenge, and finish it once and for all. This book picks up the Sinixt story during the Sinxit blockades around Vallican, after human remains were uncovered during the construction of a mountain road. Pryce discusses some of the history and how the Sinixt lived in diaspora for generations before returning to the Vallican site. Pryce writes: "During my fieldwork with the Lakes, I found that ideas of prophecy, the destruction of our present reality, and resurrection exist side by side with discussion about the importance of protecting the graves of their ancestors. For the Lakes, protecting the ancestors is a way of protecting their world from collapse." This book is an interesting part of a growing body of literature on the Sinixt or Lakes Peoples.
May - A Popular Author’s First Book!
Lana - our Programs Manager - read local author Darcee O’Hearn’s first children’s book: Leonard the Larch!
Leonard likes to sneak up and frighten his friends. The bigger the fright, the more enjoyment he has! Leonard is a trickster character in Dacee O'Hearn's book, "Leonard the Larch". The book takes on a folktale approach at explaining the Larch tree's seasonal shedding of it's needles.
Leonard is a character that prefers to be set apart from the others and celebrate his uniqueness, so with the help of the Mother Earth character, he is transformed into a truly unique example of nature. After he is transformed, he takes a wondrous look at his new self. "All of his needles were gone! Mother Earth was right - he did look like a spooky skeleton!! Leonard devilishly grinned from ear to ear as he thought of the fun he would have on Halloween night." This wonderful tale is from the Legends of the Forest series and is available at the Rossland Public Library to borrow or you can purchase it in the Museum gift shop.
April - A Book With an Ugly Cover!
Sarah - our Researcher - took this month’s challenge on:
April's Reading List challenge is to read a book with an ugly cover. I chose to read "Storm over High Arrow: The Columbia River Treaty (A History)" written by past museum president J.D. McDonald. To be frank - the cover of this book lacks imagination (although the yellow font is a bold choice!), but don't let that deter you from reading this book! Jack McDonald was very concerned about the Columbia River Treaty and how it was "negotiated" in the 1960s, which prompted him to write this slim volume.
Right now, the Treaty is being renegotiated, which makes this an opportune time to reacquaint ourselves (as Basin residents) with the history of the Treaty and think about what was lost, what was gained, and perhaps innovative ways to move forward. What I like about this book is that it's short: it's a very accessible introduction to the Columbia River Treaty. Also, as McDonald points out, there were no public consultation sessions for the original Columbia River Treaty. But, now that the Treaty is being renegotiated, we have the opportunity to make our voices heard! We have the unique opportunity to contribute to the next chapter of the story of the Columbia River Treaty, and this little book is helpful for educating us on the last chapter - reading it might help us avoid mistakes made in the past, and ensure that the Columbia Basin continues to be the best place to live for generations to come!
This book is available in our gift shop and research library!
March - A Book Published in Your Birth Year
The Rossland Historical Museum & Archives Association was “born” in 1955! However, we decided to select the book we published to celebrate Rossland’s birthday instead!
Joelle selected some favourite photos from the Rossland Centennial Photo Album 1897-1997 for this challenge.
This book is available in our gift shop and research library - and 3 copies are also at the Rossland Public Library
February - A Graphic Novel
Since we don’t have any graphic novels in our gift shop or research library, Sarah - Researcher - is reading the beautifully illustrated collection of Sinixt oral history by Marilyn James and Taress Alexis - called “Not Extinct: Keeping the Sinixt Way.
What does it look like to return from Extinction? In this book, Sinixt storytellers and knowledge-keepers Marilyn James and Taress Alexis address the reality of their living culture in the face of Canada’s bureaucratic genocide of their people in 1956. Through lively story and discussions by the authors, each chapter illuminates the Sinixt relationship with the upper Columbia River watershed and their quest to reclaim their rights and responsibilities in their x̌aʔx̌aʔ tum xúlaʔxʷ, their sacred homeland. Gorgeous illustrations and reflections by regional settler and Indigenous artists and writers give readers further opportunities to engage with the stories. Their perspectives represent the interest of increasing numbers of people in developing respectful and decolonizing relationships among Indigenous and settler peoples and to inspire the work of reversing the Sinixt extinction. Join them all to meet the trickster Snk̓lip and the other Animal Beings who people the stories of the captikʷɬ, the Sinixt oral history.
Books have this special ability to transport us and to connect us beyond ourselves. Graphic novels have reimagined our interaction with the written word, and now this incredible multi-platform collection of stories has expanded things again. Not Extinct is stunningly illustrated and includes audio files so you can listen to the stories as told by Marilyn James and Taress Alexis. The combination of written stories, ilustrations, and audio recordings makes for a diverse, immerseive experience, and the inclusion of settler reflections adds an interesting layer of interactions. I really enjoyed listening to Marilyn James tell the story of how the Sturgeon Nose Canoe came to be. The characters in these stories are wily, sweet, misunderstood, and brave – all too human for a story about animals! It also made me think about all the things we use in our day to day lives – where they came from and what they mean to us. These stories also made me think about where we live and the history of the land we live on. These are Sinixt stories, but they are about things we know – the Columbia River, Christina Lake, mosquitos, turtles, and more! We are all here, so inevitably we are in conversation with each other, and we interact with the land all in our own way, and this book shows us how we can all share the same stories, regardless of how we interact or communicate. This book is fun, insightful, and important for all ages and I know I’ll return to listen to or read these stories again and again!
I went to the site of old Kettle Falls this past summer – long since buried under Lake Roosevelt. It’s hard to imagine what it used to look like, but reading the stories of “How the Stxàɬq [huckleberries] Came to Kettle Falls,” “Rattlesnake and Salmon,” and “How the Sturgeon-Nosed Canoe Came to be,” really brought to life what it must have been like, with all sorts of creatures like salmon, sturgeon, and eagles, and what the geography looked like with cliffs, pools, and huckleberries. No wonder Kettle Falls was so significant to the Sinixt! Thanks to these stories, the memory of places that no longer exist still remain.
This book is available in our gift shop.
We also looked for some historical graphic novels available at the Rossland Public Library and found two really interesting ones that our Museum Director read:
Secret Path by Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire (e-book format also available)
"Secret Path is a ten song album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago."
This story is heartbreaking, but beautifully done. Joelle’s highlight was “Seven Matches”
You can watch a video that includes the illustrations by Jeff Lemire set to the songs by Gord Downie as well as additional information here.
“A portrait of two Canadian officers during the Second World War, with attention to detail in the dress, troop movements and battles, and especially their day-to-day lives.”
Joelle’s highlight was learning more about the often staged photography even while at war - including this “casual” camp photo that had to be approved by the censor before it could be mailed to family.
January - Re-read a Favourite Book
Joelle - Museum Director - is re-reading Old Glory by Ron Walker
This is the story of Old Glory Mountain. Of lives frought with danger, boundless courage, and unimaginable natural beauty.
Old Glory is available for sale at the Museum Gift Shop and 3 copies available at the Library!
The Old Glory weather station:
Officially opened: October 1st, 1944
Destroyed by fire: January 2, 1968
“After the news, we would discuss what we heard. It's unbelievable the number of world problems we solved sitting around the table. Unfortunately, now that we knew the answers, no one would listen to us because we were so young. How strange, because now, no one will listen to us because we're so old." - Ron Walker
"We had a special dispensation from the police to carry a .455 Webley revolver. It threw a slug that would not deny a steel barrel at 40 paces. Al Laatsch didn't think much of the gun so he consulted a gunsmith. He was told that if he put the barrel of the gun in a grizzly's ear, the bear might get a headache, so we gave up carrying it." - Lyle Fleming
Poem by Wilf Gibbard:
Old Glory Lookout
“Glory Lookout, elevation 7792
That is the place that welcomes you.
We’ll make you tea, now take your time
This is the place where the air is sublime.
This is the country where the bears play
And the mountain goats roam night and day.
If you want fresh meat there’s a lot of deer
and blue grouse are here.
Up here we get bad storms at night
With the thunders roar and lightening bright
The cabin rolls and rocks, you can feel it sway
And you pray for the dawn of another day.
We have a telephone and radio too
Visitors we have quite a few
They hike up but cannot stay long
They’re afraid of bears when the night comes on.”
Wilf and Ruth Gibbard also have a book available at the museum gift shop and the Rossland Public Library: Up the Mountain and Back Again, describing their adventurous life packing supplies up Old Glory mountain.