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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 16, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, February it, 1S74-THE LETHMIDQf HERALO-S Refugees in a national park THE VOICE OF ONE ____________ Dr. Frank S. Morley Grizzly past and present By Andy Russell, local writer On August 19, 1691, the intrepid explorer, Henry Kelsey, reports in his journal that he saw and killed two grizzlies not far from the southern end of Lake Winnipeg in what was later to become Manitoba. These were likely the first grizzlies shot by a white man in North America and the first record of sighting a plains grizzly, then numerous in the western portions of the continent On a trading expedition in 1871-72 for the Hudson's Bay Company, Isaac Cowie leaves written record of taking 750 grizzly skins and 1500 elk skins in trade at a post just east of the Cypress Hills in what is now southwestern Saskatchewan. This gives some indication of the numbers of grizzlies then roaming the prairies and what the hide-hunters were doing shortly after the buffalo had all but disappeared. By 1882 there were very few grizzlies left on the plains; the last recorded kill being in Manitoba in 1890. Only the coastal, mountain, and tundra grizzlies were left, and in Canada these ranged through British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territory. Over tke intervening years these have been hunted, trapped and even poisoned with very little protection until fairly recent times, and even yet this protection suffers from thin spots in what should be a warm, understanding coat of conservation. Until comparatively recent times, Alberta offered the grizzly very little protection. Indeed, in places along the Rockies being used as cattle range, grizzlies were listed as a predator and bounties paid on their scalps. Because the big bear loves carrion, any domestic animal dying on its range is normally cleaned up with the consequence that it has been credited with many more kills than it has actually made. True, some individuals do learn to kill large animals, but most grizzlies never kill anything larger than a marmot Being 85 per cent vegetarian and omnivorous rather than predatious, their use of meat for food is minimal under anything like normal conditions. In one case involving a cattle-killing grizzly in the vicinity of Pincher Creek, Alberta, a predator hunter came in to collect bounty and took 32 bears in one season, none of which was the actual killer. Perhaps this canny gentleman realized that killing this bear would be like putting an end to UK goose that laid the golden egg so he carefully preserved it. Countless times, grizzlies feeding on animals that had died of eating poison plants, disease and other causes were killed with no questions asked. But the cattle industry's conflict with the big bear has been mild compared to what happened in the advent of wilderness habitat destruction by petroleum, timber, mineral and tourist developments. Following the Second World War, when petroleum developments boomed, all hell broke loose iff grizzly country. Apart from habitat destruction vital to the big bears by incompatible and sometimes carelessly destructive land-use activities, there was hardly a camp without its complement of rifles kept for "protective purposes" and off-day recreation was often hunting. Even though this was illegal, provincial authorities for the large part turned a blind eye on it. One company is known to have purchased rifles from a factory distributor for such purposes. When an oil exploration executive wrote an article for a well-known trade magazine extolling the virtues of a popular four- wheel-drive vehicle for wild country exploration and the hunting that went with it, the fertilizer hit the fan, as the saying goes. Resulting angry reaction by concerned people brought about some decent regulation, but not until a great deal of damage had been done. But not all the blame rests with the petroleum industry, for variations of the same kind of negligence and lack of responsibility occurred in lumber and construction camps as well as the activities of mineral prospectors. For years the common practice in various kinds of camps was to dispose of wet garbage by dumping it down the nearest gully or in an open pit The lure of this new source of food attracted bears into the vicinity and inevitably, bear- human conflict ended up in the destruction of the bears. One enterprising soul familiar with the use of dynamite sought to make a wholesale slaughter by constructing bombs. He packed metal containers with scrap iron, rocks and dynamite. For reasons best known to himself, be filled in the space between the chunks of iron and rocks with powdered lime. He then placed the bombs rigged with electric detonators in the dump where several bears and a flock of ravens were hi the habit of feeding. At an opportune moment a great explosion was set off killing unknown numbers of the animals and birds. But some of the ravens certainly escaped and these had been transformed from their normal coal Mack into white by the lime driven into their feathers. Reports of albino ravens drew the attention of wildlife authorities and the culprit was ultimately tracked down. How many grizzlies died around various camps along the Alaska Highway when it was under construction and during other road-building activities that followed in Alberta and British Columbia, nobody will ever know, but it likely runs into Hundreds. How many grizzlies were shot on sight by wandering prospectors in-the Canadian hinterlands cannot be guessed but evidence points to considerable numbers. How many more have been indirectly wiped out by the too often wasteful destruction of habitat, there is no way to tell. But certainly we are aware that much of what was ideal grizzly country as recently as 10 years ago, now has few of the big bears. Fortunately the national parks offer a measure of refuge, although even here the pressure of people is something of a threat. In spite of the fact that the odds against being hurt by a griz- zly in the five major Rocky Mountain parks in western Canada are about two million to one, the publicity following such incidents is always out of proportion to the actual danger. The risk of operating a vehicle on highways in the parks is infinitely greater, yet news reporting fatal accidents on the roads is minimal simply because such incidents are so common. If grizzlies were half as dangerous as popular belief tends to indicate, tourist use of the parks would be virtually impossible. For that matter, the early settlement of the west would likely have been held up for many years. Prior to the coming of the white man and his guns, the grizzly was king of all life on the plains. The Indians killed very few, for their crude weapons put them at a distinct disadvantage. Then as today, the grizzly did not go out of its way to look for trouble, although the big animal's curiosity or reaction to surprise can trigger close- range confrontations. Generally, the big bear is peacefully inclined. Park authorities know this and are going to considerable lengths to improve their management, a program that includes public education. Consequently incidents of conflict are being reduced even in the face of steadily growing park use by visitors. The grizzly can well be a kind of barometer registering the level Qf human appreciation for the beauty of the face of the land. We have made a gesture towards better management, but it is not nearly enough. Generally speaking, fish and wildlife management is being stifled through lack of sufficient money priorities too low in comparison to other resource development programming. In view of its values to tourism, recreation and long range needs of people our treatment of the habitat necessary for good fish and wildlife management is short- sighted and wasteful. Along with the grizzly, we need wilderness preservation, and so far both federal and provincial policy has been lukewarm in this direction. Even decent protection through law enforcement is insufficient and not near enough field research is being done. The Yukon Territory only has two full-time wildlife officers on its staff concerned with protection. The Northwest Territories still operates under the completely outdated assumption that people need to be protected from grizzlies. Northern British Columbia has only one wildlife officer looking after a huge stretch of country reaching from the Alberta boundary west to the Alaska Panhandle out of its office at Fort Nelson. The Alberta fish and wildlife authority has no idea how many grizzlies are left in that province, nor are its priorities anywhere near sufficient to find out. The current plan to re-open a spring grizzly season south of the Bow River has no justifi- cation, for there are very few grizzlies in this region. We have seen the grizzly wiped over a huge portion of its former range through ignorance or weight of human numbers. Whether or not this pattern of management continues to a point of no return depends on our recognition of important values where habitat preservation is concerned a kind of habitat that is not only vital to the grizzly but also to us. pook reviews Pictorial record of armed forces "Relentless Verity" by Peter Robertson (The Public Archives of Carada Series, University of Toronto Press, This is a pictorial record of Canada's armed forces in action as recorded by military photographers The selection of photographs starts with Canadian militia at Fish Creek in 1885. We then follow our forces to the Yukon, South Africa, both World Wars, Korea, and finally, as peacekeepers in the sixties. The photographs in this volume do not stress personal violence. There are photographs of leaders of the past, service personnel on leave and in training, and acts of compassion. The hardships, desolation, and dangers of war are also shown to remind as how horrible active service can be There's an excellent introduction on the history of Canadian military photography plus biographies of the photographers represented in this book. Relentless Verity is a fine, bilingual, all-Canadian publication and a credit to those who took part in its production. It would make a wonderful gift for all photography enthusiasts, past and present members of the Canadian forces, and collectors of Canadiana. The reasonable price makes it one of the best book buys available. TERRY MORRIS The making of music "At Home With Music" by Leonard Marsh with foreword by Sir Eraest MacMilUn, (Versatile Publishing Co. Ltd., 178 "Most of us nowadays enjoy plenty of music in our homes but all too littie of it is made there Twisting knobs and putting on records can bring us almost anything we want to hear (and often a great deal that we don't) but too many know little of the joys of home music-making." Leonard Marsh, gifted cellist enthralls with his first- hand experience on the mak- ing of music. At the age of 14 he took up the violin, at age 20 be abandoned it for the cello. The "Kerrisdale String Kwartet" met weekly at the Marshes house until what with all their friends coming to hear them play the Marshes had to build a music room. Included among the many interesting and informative chapters are Music In Strange Places, The Lost Art Of Listening. Playing In Public, and Who's Your Favorite Composer? Leonard Marsh is a social scientist and a professor hi the faculty of education at the University of British Colum- bia hi Vancouver ANNE SZALAVARY Existentialism modern religion When conversation lags at the dinner party, throw existentialism into the pot and everybody can join in. The beauty of it is that you don't need specialized knowledge, can make your own rules and define your terms, and enlist the aid of almost anybody as an example of existentialism. I heard an eminent Catholic clergyman argue that St. Thomas Aquinas was an exitentialist, so just imagine a philosophy which claims the Doctor of the Church, patron of all Catholic Universities, Aristotelian scholar, and author of Summa Theologica, along with the Danish Soren Kierkegaard; which lumps Shakespeare with the mad Friedrick Nietzsche, John Calvin with Jean-Paul Sartre; Goethe who described the Cross as "the most disgusting thing under the sun" and the profoundly Christian Gabriel Marcel; and so one may go on to find the most fantastic assortment of thinkers and philosophers who appear to be at opposite poles drawn into one net called existentialism You are right; it is ridiculous. Blaise Pascal was a brilliant physicist and mathematician in the vanguard of the scientific revolution of the 17th century, but no man more movingly describes the certitude of belief and the life of grace and faith. Surely there is something wrong in associating Pascal with the godless humanism which the French understand existentialism to mean. Yet there is one fact, one truth, that unites this strange assortment of men and that is the necessity for involvement, for encounter, that truth cannot be found in the detachment of a study but only in existence. It is a revolt against the famous principle of Descartes, "I think therefore I am (cogito ergo against Hegel who so long dominated the Western mind with his system of thought and his dictum that "the rational is the real and the real is the and substituting the epigram of Kierkegaard, "I struggle, therefore I am (Pugno ergo sum) Dr. John Mackay, principal of Princeton Theological College, illustrated this belief of the existentialists with an anecdote of the Spanish writer, Unamuno. A philologist had been making a study of the Mallorcan dialect. Unamuno was very dubious about some of his conclusions and undertook a study himself, casually meeting all kinds of people in Mallorca and recording his observations. At the end he gave a massive notebook to the philologist with the observation, "Here is the way people talk in Mallorca. Remember truth is only found on the road." Truth, that is, can never be known abstractly but only concretely in existential participation. Truth then is not the discovery of the' mind alone. As Pascal, probably the greatest genius France has produced, put in a lovely phrase, "The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of." So knowledge of God required a leap of faith, some awareness that transcended the musings and speculations of the philosophers. "The last attainment of said Pascal "is to know there is an infinity of things that surpass it." With Pascal and Aquinas such belief has dignity, but when Heidegger tells us that "reason, glorified for centuries, is the most obstinate adversary of it becomes a matter of grave concern. Is there no danger of confusing supra-rationalism and irrationalism? Thus Hitter said, "I think with my blood. Stalin advised, "When a man's ideas are too strong for you, strike at his skull." Also in making a sharp cleavage between reason and faith, faith may become a dogmatic table-thumping without the strength of reference to rational criteria. Moreover the emphasis on self-assertion easily leads to an idolatrous subjectivism that in turn can easily become a dangerous fanaticism. Certainly existentialism has much to teach and one of the most important lessons is to beware of an idolatrous worship of science which has led to a dehumanization of Western culture. Nevertheless existentialism points out the madness of the times and the basic cause of it Man must be prepared to go his solitary way, said Marcel, assuming sole responsibility for his doctrines and life. Yet the existentialist has to live out his life against a background of nothingness, an existence which has broken with the Western tradition, having borrowed its art and philosophy from the Orient and Africa. It is fascinating to trace the close association of existentialism and Zen-Buddhism So the art reflecting the modern outlook on the world is flat and formless, a turning inward of the human spirit, a sense of emptiness, as one art teacher exhorts his pupils, "Emphasize the vacancies. It's the empty spaces that really matter." It is easily understandable why one of the most popular plays of the time is Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, running for many months in European cities, a play of emptiness and nothingness. Did not H G Wells say that there was a God-shaped blank in the heart of mankind? Man is crying out for God to fill his emptiness. Now extentialism has this valuable fact to contribute, that man must meet God with the whole man. Moreover Jesus did not say, "Understand but "Follow and as man walks the Emmaus Road his eyes are opened and he comes to the truth. SATURDAY TALK By NORMAN SMITH By the sweat of their brow This is not a book review but a piece about a big piece of Canada and those who built it It is prairie in location and tools, but its story in human endeavor could be maritime, bosh or mountain. James M. Minifie's book Homesteader recounts in cool, clear literary style how it was for those who bought land sight unseen, put the plow to it and made of it a home and a It is a touching tribute to the spirit, urbanity and faith of his mother and father, and we learn something of his own labor as son and farm-hand and the diligence that took him to war at 16 and subsequently to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Yet there is no personal bragging, for himself or his family. The narration pauses all the way along to speak of the help and spur of neighbors, teachers, friends; it is the story of an age and a people, not of a family or a man. Homesteaders were not aware "the world owes us a living." Minifie's father, a dealer in bay and feed in Shropshire, came out in 1109. He was minded to get off the train in Alberta but the conductor persuaded htm there were better prospects in Saskatchewan, "like mis place here, Sintaluta." Off he got, with two bags, some misgivings, much determination. Starting as a stableman in a livery, he found the bones didn't understand nil accent "It ain't you, they don't understand me said the boss, "I bought mem from Dutch Schwartz and they don't understand nothing but Gennar Within months he und a new-found friend each filed for 310 acres, the cost being the 110 registration. "My father walked out into a spring thunderstorm feeling like one of the landed but his friend observed: "The gum-mint just bet me ten bucks against a half section that I can't stand this climate for three yean." Right then began the James Minifie has researched the family notebooks and government files for all the hard details and the story is about as unlikely to m now as a trip to the moon. Yet things moved along and the lonely farmer, incidentally a prize scholar in Latin at Bridge-north Grammar School, decided be was now a Canadian prairie fanner by deed and desire and it was time to send for his family. James and his younger brother, aged Hand 9, and their mother, came out in 1911 Their baggage included his knife, bow and arrow, perpetual calendar and a new watch. The to Liverpool was a little sad, James devoting his time to charting the passing telephone polo against ms new watch and calculating their speed at M miles an hour. "Going to Canada, going to Canada, going to, going to sang the wheel bogies; but his mother sat silent and melancholy, lacking Ins resource with the poles and watch. From there to the reunion on the station platform of Morse, Saskatchewan, there was ample time for foreboding. After a long wagon-ride Mrs. Mmifie was greeted by a hearty housewife on a half-way-there homestead with a roaring welcome: How do you like the "Not very Mrs. Minifie replied. "After you've milked twenty cows a day you'll love countered Mrs. Annis, who then begged them to stay for supper. The parents encouraged home reading Scott, Shakespeare, Dickens, astronomy, the elementary Greek: "I learned the letters in groups, rehearsing mem as I watered the cattle: Alpha, beta, gamma, delta brought the bucket up..." Father Minifie bad himself persuaded Regma to build a one room school and off the boys walked six miles each day, unless you couldn't see the bam for snow. Mother fashioned their trousers from old flour bags proclaiming Robin Hood on their seats. (Etching gophers sometimes interfered with the curriculum, but it was earnest stuff in the Earnest at borne too: James learned to develop bis own Brownie films in the cellar, and while churning butter he ploughed through the Bible, acquiring knowledge of "an astonishing amount of mayhem, fornication, murder and nicest" But with his familiarity with astronomy the story of the star stopping over the place where the child lay was puzzling: "It was at once too precise and too vague." Mature in mindand body be enlisted at 16. though when the insttucting sergeant urdeied him to charge the straw sacks with the cry "bate that fellow" James "simply could not visualise conditions under which a bayonet charge by me could he successful." Still, be was overseas for three years; young enough so be didn't see action but alive enoughso be delighted in everything and tells a great spoof story on Us military tarea. Back on OK farm James was wining to make a Ufe taere helping Us father, but the patents M vised otaerwise. They knew he was wwuiji in uiwe anu assurcB mm they could work things out on the farm all right. Father didn't want son to repeat his own discovery: "By toe time you kaow enough to get through life reasonably well it's too late to do much about it..." And so again the elder boy left, this time to Regina College and eventually to Oxford and a vivid sod useful puMic career in Jour- nalism and broadcasting. But be says noBdng of that in this book, a work of nuance and Miuiiivity deserving stui anotnei awaiti tor James Minifie for tt tefls Joyfully a part of tbe Canadian tliny we should not forget a prairie boyhood recalled. By James M. Minifie. (Macmfflan, ;