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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 20, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Saluiday, hbruorr JO, THI inHMIOCt HKAIO S People of the south -18 Margaret Luckhurst Chief Big Snake reflects on the past "VOU know, the west isn't nearly as exciting it used to be sixty years Grfcr Rider Davis o( Fort Mac- leod lamented recently. "Ev- erybody prefers, to have things urbanized and organized and I suppose I do too in a way, but it took a lot of work and civiliz- ing, if you want to call it that, to get in the way it is today." Rider Davis should know what he's talking about for at 83 he's almost a legend in southern Alberta, a human walking, talking, history book. "Actually I should have been New he explain- ed in an interview. "My family dates back to 1634 when the first Davis arrived in Vermont. My dad, D. W. Davis, was born there and went to fight in the Civil War. He was at the Bat- tle of Gettysburg. I don't know whether this engendered rest- lessness in him. but at any rate, like many Civil War vet- erans, he drifted west, arriving in Fort Benton in 1867. My mother, the former Lillie Grier came west with her parents in 1885. Her brother David had been a member of the '77 Northwest Mounted Police and the family came out here to be near him. Mother was the first school teacher in Fort Mac- leod, and it was here she met and married my dad in 1887. "What had my dad been do- ing in the intervening years? Well, he came to Alberta in 1869 and was at one time in charge of Fort Whoop-Up. You know, I think we lean a little too heavily on how wild and woolly things were around Whoop-Up! It's true there was whisky trading, but it doesn't follow that it was a hell-hole of debauchery, the way it's told so often today. I wish some- body would write a factual ac- count of what went on there, but we might find it wouldn't read with such hair-raising in- terest as we like to think. "At any rate, dad became general manager of the I. G. Baker company, a construction outfit and was in charge of the outfit which built Fort Mac- leod, along with the help of the mounties, in 1874. Later he per- formed the same function at Fort Calgary in 1875. He was there for a. year and then went back to Macleod to run the Ba- ker Company until ttey sold out to the Hudson's Bay Com- pany in 1891. In the interval, in 1887 my parents were married, and in 1888 my mother return- ed to her hometown of Wiarton, Ontario, to have me. I don't know why she undertook to take that long trip back there, but perhaps she felt safer where facilities were more ad- vanced. But I guess she was sold on the West because she returned when I was a few weeks old. "In 1887, before I was born, my dad thought he'd take a fling at politics. He was the first Federal Member of Par- liament for the area, going in as a Conservative; we've al- ways been Conservative you know. In that election he beat out the HBC Factor Hardistv. Dad and Hardisty had a side bet of a thousand dollars as to who would win and dad always considered he won the election by driving up to Lac la Biche with his partner Frank Strong. They took John Costigan, a Calgary lawyer along with them and they cut out a lot of non-existent half breed voters. Dad always felt that won him the election. Of course Hard- isty polled a good vote from the north, but dad got more in the south. "But politics didn't hold my dad. In 1896 he retired and received the appointment as Collector of Customs for the Yukon. John J. Healy, you know, of Whoop-Up fame and a well-known sheriff in Montana, had written and told to go north because that was where the action was. So dad went up there and stayed through 1896 and the winter of '97. Mother and the kids followed in the spring of that year. But you know, w h e n we arrived in Se- left there in 1906, my brother Chester and I went ranching for a few years. We had three sections down on the Belly River across from the Blood reserve. We worked hard there, breaking up about 300 acres with two gang plows. So don't go away from here think- ing just because I've been a lawyer for umpteen years I'm some kind of a white collar parasite, as I do know some- thing about farming and ranch- ing." "How come I didn't stay with it? Well, I tell you, it was frus- trating work in those days. We never seemed to get ahead. There'd be savagely cold win- ters followed by droughts, and perhaps our hearts were just not m it. At any rate, Chester went off to Royal Military Col- lege and became a permanent m e m b e r of the Lord Strath- cona Horse. He died of wounds in the First World War. In 1912 I started studying law with the firm Macleod.and Grave. I was what you might call the last of the office slaves, for that's ex- actly what I was. I was an articled student and in those days it took five years as an articled student in a law office to become a member of the Law Society of Alberta. My studies were interrupted for a stint in the First World War. I was later admitted to the bar in 1928." Mr. Davis was asked to elab- orate a little on the early days of the Fort Macleod area. "Be- fore we went to the Yukon we had moved to the ranch known as the Strong Ranch, down on the Belly River. Frank Strong was a fantastic horseman who'd come up from Montana, and running horses was a spe- cialty of his. In those days ev- erybody rode, and it seemed even though I was pretty young, I was seldom off a horse. Do you know, there wasn't a fence from our place clear to Fort Macleod? How- ever, after my dad died in the Yukon in 1906 and we return- ed to Macleod, a large Mor- mon settlement had been es- tablished at Orton, and the land was eventually becoming fenced in. That winter of 1906- 7 was a terrible one. We had gone back to the ranch and I can tell you there were terrific cattle losses because of the cold. For about six weeks the thermometer didn't register higher than thirty or forty be- low. That hit everyone very hard. But even the weather didn't stop farmers from com- ing in; they were settling around Granum and out in the Porcupine Hills. As a matter of fact, Fort Macleod was sort of the centre of things for many years. It was the divisional point of the CPR and the head- big cities, they aren't for me." In 1923 Rider Davis was ap- pointed sheriff and clerk of the Supreme Court in Fort Mac- leod, a post he was to hold for ten years when be took over the practice of J. Matheson upon the latter's appointment to District Court. In 1930 Mr. D a v i s married the former Eloise Telford of Owen Sound. "Like my mother, my wife came out to teach high school here at Fort Mac- leod. She's a university grad- uate and very interested in the history of southern Alberta. Naturally, being a smart man, I snapped her In 1937 Mr. Davis was elect- barters for the Mounted Po- In 1937 Mr uava was Uce. But political string-pulling ed to the Fort Macleod counca was effective and these two op- and a couple of years later be- erations were moved to Leth- bridge eventually. So Macleod actually hasn't changed much in population since back in 1912. Oh, we have a few more families, and a couple of indus- tries but generally we keep fairly static. But frankly, I like it that way, you can have the GRIER RIDER DAVIS by Ric Swiharl Book Reviews Amalrik tells it like it is "Involuntary Journey to Siberia" by Andrei Amalrik, introduction by Max Hay- ward. (Longman, TX) call Andrei Amalrik a re- solute nonconformist as the dust jacket of this book does, is putting it mildly. His stubborn recalcitrance, know- ing what the result of it must be, approximates the death wish. He has criticized, scath- ingly and sarcastically, that monolithic institution, the Com- munist party. He has made the Russian government look ridi- culous1, and he has not only done it once, but many times. The book is an account of the Life on the kolkhoz, a collec- tive farm, reaches an animal level. Far from the centres of commerce and industry, the peasants' lot could hardly have been worse under the Czars. Added to that, production is abysmally low because farm- ers have no incentive to do better. Apathy, ignorance, dirt and brutality are the norm and Amalrik observes it all with an objective and unresentful eye. He tells in simple terms what goes on in the kolkhoz and sometimes he tells it with a twinge of humor too. ,It was Alexander Ginsburg, now an exile himself, who worked for Amalrik's release before his term was up. When events leading up to his depor- attle to go north on the steam- tation to a collective farm near ill VlVIPT er "Portland" we didn't know Tomsk and his experiences as UUU1VO ill unt-L anything about the gold rush and neither did any of the oth- ers who were going up on that boat. It wasn't till we arrived at St. Michael's and met minors coming out with gold that we knew there had been a strike in the north." Although Mr. Davis had started school in Fort Mac- leod, and continued for a few years in Dawson City, his par- ents felt he'd benefit from some "old school" training and sent lu'm back east in 1902 to attend Upper Canada College in Toronto. "I was there through what you would today call my high school years. It's a good school. The discipline is pretty rough and rigid, but there is some- thing to be said for it. I don't think they would go for blue jeans and long hair, even now. ami I can't help but Ihink this type of discipline strengthens a fellow's moral fibre. When I experiences a laborer in that remote re- gion. Ostensibly Amalrik was a "parasite." He did not have a regular job, but lived in a tiny apartment in Moscow where he wrote plays and essays, and cared for his invalid father. It was his association with the Russian painter Zverev, a modernist whose work had been acclaimed at an exhibition in Paris, that eventually led to his arrest and deportation. As Amalrik tells it, the trial was a farce, the accusations silly and the whole affair a sam- pling of the repressive police methods. In the end, the se- cret police had their way and the unrepentant Amarik was shipped off lo Tomsk, after spending a short time in a stinking jail cell in the com- pany of homosexuals, alco- holics and the mentally ill, whom he found a rather cu- rious cross section of Soviet humanity. "The Green North" by Richard Rohmer (Maclean- Hunter Ltd., 152 pps., paper- back, TJICHARD ROHMER is chairman of Mid-Canada Development Corridor Founda- tion. Mid-Canada is basically Canada's boreal forest area, running from Newfoundland through Labrador and northern Quebec, south of James Bay, then across northwestern On- tario, and through northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta where it splits into three parts a leg up the Mackenzie River Valley, an- other into the Yukon, and a third into the Prince Rupert sector of British Columbia. In the next century Rohmer thinks this area could have up lo six million inhabitants. Canadian nationalists will approve of the spirit ol this little book. the incorrigible Amalrik re- turned to Moscow he wrote "Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984" and for fhis, he was again arrested and charged with "spreading deliberately false fabrications, defaming the Soviet State and public order." Max Hayward, co-translator of "Journey" remarks that al- though Amarik's trial was a farce, yet there is1 a "tendency for the post-Stalin bureaucracy, even the police, to take some account of the law such as it is they may still honor it more in the breach, but at least they wish to appear to be observing it." And it is men and women like Amalrik, who insist on their right lo say what they think, who may some time bring about a change in the political impasse in the Soviet Union. Amalrik's own slalemenls might well be considered by those in the West who in- creasingly show contempt for the rule of law. "Those in high office." he says "ought surely to reflect that without a proper rule of law they themselves may one day share the fate of Sinyavsky and Daniel. As long as we live in a State that vio- lates its own Jaws, nobody, from the rulers of the country down lo unregistered attic dwellers, will have any sense of responsibility for their actions or feel assured of their per- sonal safety." This is not simply a book of protest. It is the straightfor- ward account of a 32-year-old Russian poet, essayist and playwright, who tolls it like it if, because he can't, help him- self. It's well worth reading. JANE UUCKVALE. Focus on the University By J. W. FISHBOURNE Hope springs eternal came mayor. In the following eighteen years he was never opposed, and when he finally stepped down he figured "it was time for somebody else to take over." Did he ever run for office federally? "I ran as a Conser- vative in 1940. but at that time the Social Credit party was very popular rjid the Liberals and Conservatives sim- ply didn't get a look-in. How- ever, from the looks of things I think the Social Crediters will be out next election, or given a good scare if they aren't beaten." As a small boy Hider Davis used to enjoy watching the Mounties parade, "where the Empress Theatre is now sit- he explained. "I also remember Kootenai Brown. Do you know anything about Koot- enai Brown? Not much? Well, you should delve into his his- tory, he was quite a charac- ter. Born in Ireland you know, although a lot of people assume he was an Indian. I can't go into his whole story here, bat he was a familiar sight around Macleod in the early days when he came into town to sell fish. He had long black hair, and had adapted certain In- dian ways including their cos- tume, which probably gives rise to the legend. From time to time our family would ride over to Waterton in a. demo- crat for a couple of days fish- ing, and Kootenai would come d o w n to visit us every night. 1 He'd tell stories to us kids and have us goggle-eyed." In 1968 Mr. Davis, "more or less" officially retired and turned his law practice over to son Chester. Now he devotes most of his time to keeping in touch with the lengthy list of Interests which he has devel- oped over the years. "I think perhaps I belong to too many he grinned, "but I like them all so what c a.n I do? I still get asked to speak at functions, and I enjoy this as I realize people are interested in finding out more of the history of southern Alberta." Mr. Davis was one of the first white men to be made a member of the Peigan's Kainai Chieftainship, an honor he re- ceived in 1949. "Not many peo- ple know the background of the organization, but it was de- veloped to promote the educa- tion and requirements of In- dian youth. They don't hand out honors casually, and those wkt do receive the'm usually help support the principles of the organization. I was pleased to receive the chieftainship, and my Indian name is Chief Big Snake, which translated means Learned Mr. Davis is proud to belong to the Montana Old Timer's As- sociation. "I think probably I'm the only surviving Albertan to belong to he pointed out, "because in order to qualify your ancestors had to be in Montana before Dec. 31, 1868. Since my father arrived in 1867, I was accepted." Mr. Davis is also a member of the Yukon-Alaska Sour- doughs, the Calgary South Al- berta Pioneer and Oldtime As- sociation and several other old- timer organizations. Why doesn't he s i t down and write a book about his expe- riences? "Well, I should have done this years he admit- ted regretfully, "but I never thought I had the time, and even today I seem to be too busy. My one ambition is to live to 1974 to see and take part in the celebration of Fort Macleod's centenary. It's also the year the town will pay off it's bonded indebtedness which we took on in 1924. The town will be in good shape when that, is paid off. then we can really look ahead. I'd like to see a few more families come in here you know, but not too many, not too many. The big- ger you got the more troubles you get loo. look at Leth- bridge, with the sewage debt they are going to incur. No, it's best not to get too large, then you can kind of keep your fin- ger on things." Any regrets? "Not really, ex- cept there never seems to be enough time to do all the things I'd like lo do. 1 suppose I should have writlen a book. hut. I was always too busy doing something else." COME of you may have noticed a press 3 story on an interim report by the Post- Secondary Task Force of the Worth Com- mission. As yet I have not seen the report itself, but if the press coverage was even approximately accurate, this initial release by the commission augers well for its fi- nal report. As I understand it, the report points to a need for entirly different types of insti- tutions, among them couple labelled "techniversity" and "eommuniversity." I cannot claim to really understand just what these new institutions will be, or how they will develop, but that may not be very important. What is important is that for the first time in living memory in this province, a committee or commission formed largely of academic people has said something other than "The universi- ties are perfect give them more money." Indeed, it is refreshing. As to the ideas themselves, I rather like the notion of two different kinds of uni- versities, one oriented toward the business of future employment, and the other more concerned with what I believe to be the more fundamental responsibilities of an edu- cational system. There are undeniable ad- vantages to such an arrangement, not the least of which will be the reduction of the now enormous difference between what students expect and what the universities are willing and able to deliver. Some such division will help in another way, too. As any long-time incumbent of a university position comes to realize, there is a great gulf, a sort of respect- ability gap, between those who approach the subject matter of their discipline from the basic viewpoint, and those whose lot it is to deal with applied aspects of the same discipline. To clarify that rather curious statement somewhat, it might be helpful to think of the basic approach as being pure, and the applied as being prac- tical. By and large, the former is believed by its practitioners and not too vigor- ously protested by others as being somehow better than the other. This Is not entirely a matter of academic snobbery, though that surely comes into it. I can re- call one particularly "pure" individual, with whom I worked at a much larger university than this one, asserting that the faculty of arts, with its slightly subordi- nate ally the faculty of science, constituted the university, and that all other faculties were inhabitated by various inferior peo- ple, plumbers of one sort or another. (Doubtless he had the bug in an unusually virulent form, but it does bite a lot of peo- ple.) The establishment of the natural sci- ence types in one institution and the hu- manities and social science buffs in the other, would call for some realignment of this peculiar notion, if nothing else. That, in my view, would be worth doing. But the really important thing is that fi- nally there appears to be a body of ex- perts willing to do something more than recommend that the existing educational system be further sanctified. As one whose natural bent is lo be very wary of the commission approach to solving major problems, and conceding that it is a littla early to be firing off congratulatory mes- sages, nevertheless I am pelased and im- pressed with the first fruits of this one. There are several other task forces still to make initial reports, and one in which I have a particular interest is that which will deal with something called life-long education. In spite of the absurd tills (what other kind of education is that report will have tremendous Implica- tions for this particular institution. I trust It will match the post-secondary report in its enlightenment. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY Precious stream polluted rpHE precious stream of freedom is being polluted, if not entirely destroy- ed and, like other streams, by the very people who are its custodians. This is ultimate tragedy of our time. Freedom has been bought by the life-blood of civiliza- tion's fittest manhood and: womanhood. Yet the tortures and agonies, the countless he- roisms, the wars fought and the privations endured, nave ail been in vain. Few care, and few Canadians care, for freedom's cause today except where it masquerades in such monstrous caricatures as pornog- raphy or the women's liberation move- ment. Freedom's stream found its sources in the hill country of the Hebrews, gained power in the Christian torrents and rapids, flowed through the. Greco-Roman world taking on tributaries, continued through (he lands of Medieval Europe, and then widened into a mighty river in Britain and Holland alone. In France, for example, feudalism would have a radically different development from England and the mon- archy a vastly different meaning. In France "to question" meant "to torture" a prisoner. The opponents of tyranny in France would be Montesquieu, the advo- cate of enlightened aristocracy, Voltaire, beMever in an enlightened monarchy, and the wretched Rousseau, opponent of the rule of the majority in favor a "general a sort of mystical will quite differ- ent from the popular will, which would find its apotheosis in Napolean and Hitler. England and Holland became th" lands of liberty, the only refuge, tor example, for the Jew. In Puritan England, liberty and quality became a religion. England developed parliamentary government and eroded the monarch's executive power to the vanishing point. After the Puritan re- volution, after the Commonwealth, there could be no turning back. The ambassador of Louis XIV would note that Charles II was "at bottom very far from being a monarch." Lord Acton would say of the Whigs of that period who had entered into the inheritance of the Puritan revolution and had been responsible for the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, that they "did more for freedom than any body of men who ever appeared on earth." But it was due to the Puritans that parliamentary govern- ment was established and the English Bill of Rights would spell out the "true, an- cient, and indubitable rights of the people of this realm." Alas, a poll shows that few Canadians even know what the Habeas Corpus Act is though it is the guarantee that a wife may expect her husband home from work to supper and Canadians care less, so littie in fact that they renounced it without a quiver of regret at a federal cabinet's whim. The river of freedom Is suffering tha fate of other rivers in the Western world. In America, where it flowed in sublime majesty, the freedom of privacy, a basic freedom, is destroyed. Without the sanction of the American people the president has committed in Laos the fortunes and lives of Americans. Their right to know the truth has completely gone. For six days under the insulting, specious pretext of hiding the truth from the enemy, Americans were kept uninformed of the movements of arms and forces in Laos. Tbo subter- fuge and lying which have characterized the war in Vietnam are a continued policy. In Canada cabinet secrecy is so complete that no one in his sense would put any faith in the truth of a statement by cabi- net ministers. Surely a cabinet must talk in confidence, but the present secrecy is a deliberate policy to keep Canadians ignor- ant. Canadians cannot know what pactj have been entered into with foreign powers, what treaties have been signed, what negotiations have been entered into, what alliances have been rejected or em- braced, until it is too late to do anything about them. It is a frightening situation, where Ca- nadians have committed their entire des- tiny to me "charisma" of one man who forms his own cabinet and any difficult member, like Hellyer, gets tossed out. Re- cently Canadians let go the most predous elements of their heritage of freedom, cas- ually let slip through their boneless fin- gers those priceless elements of freedom which it took their ancestors such sacri- fices to gain. Under the plea of an emer- gency in Quebec, Canadians with indecent haste renounced their liberties under a war measures act. The necessity was not proved then or by subsequent events. The renunciation may not look important to people unschooled in these traditions. It is tragic. A most deplorable oppression is that of the doctors in Quebec. Their harassment by the Quebec government beggars de- scription. For months they have not re- ceived a cent of money. An Infamous act of parliament has made them subject to unbelievable penalties if the government is dissatisfied with their conduct. It is a nightmare. Yet Quebec, having shown an irrational, amoral attitude in the social medical program, now wishes to have the total social welfare money, paid by the people of Canada, to be at their disposal! Freedom River, farewell! There will not be much more fishing, swimming, or tra- velling in that river for a long, long time I The outcome By Dong Walker "THE only thing Jim Maybie didn't do in his recent campaign to win the hand of his lady-love was attempt a sing- ing valentine. He publicly proposed through a conspicuous ad in The Herald, accompanied by supporting messages out- side two business places in the city. It is well known that women are unpre- dictable. Realizing, then, that the whole community would be anxious to know if Clara responded positively to such a de- monstration of affection, The Herald news department felt constrained on Monday to report lhat she accepted. It. was sheer genius on ihe part of Jim to sense how far he should carry tire as- sault and cut short of that sinsms bill ;