Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 25, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, November 25, 1972 THE lETHtRIDGE HRAID S Jlook reviews Key events tell Alberta's history "A History ot Alberta" by James G. MacGregor (Hurt- ig Until now no real history of Alberta has ever been written. A book with a similar name was published about fifty years Ego but it was dedicated to the idea that famous men should be praised and fell short of being a history of anything but the story of a few politicians. Dr. MacGregor's work is a mar- vel of synthesis from all sources and spans Alberta his- tory from the latest prehistory as revealed by Dr. R. C. For- bis of the University of Cal- gary to the election of Peter Lougheed ami Ins conservatives in 1971. It was amazing to me how much material the author had crammed into just about three hundred, pages of text. As might be expected the auth- or's extensive knowledge of the fur irade has made his section oil the fur trade one of the best 1 have read. Here the author has a complete grasp of his subject and has thus been able to give modern place names to all the areas covered by the fur traders and explorers so that one may follow the pere- grinations of these men on an easily available highway map of Alberta. In the course of his researches James. MacGregor has obviously visited all these places. The work continues through the studies of the native peo- ples and missionaries with com- plete confidence. I was hard put to find anything he had left out only Father de Smel's trip to Edmonton about 1846 and the travels of Warre and Vavasour were missing to my knowledge. Generally in all local histor- ies the farm settlement period is the poorest section mostly because so little research has been done in that area. Mac- Gregor has made the best try yet and with Mrs. Wonder's fine maps has given a description of settlement patterns that is much better than most. Even when he comes down to the modern age when historical events are so numerous as to be confusing Dr. MacGregor has unerringly picked the key events and developed them so even older Albertan's will agree that they are the ones that should have been included. James MacGregor's style is as lumpy as ever but except for one or too sentences the work reads easily. His tendency to romanticism and flowery language is a bit disconcerting at times as in "the somnolent, breeze-scented Battle and his old trick of interpolat- ing where his source is lacking gives us such expressions as "It may well have been that as he looked around or sporadic warfare must have been He frequently Jumps from formal to colloquial English and back again which is bad historical style but at least interesting reading. Although the proofreading is perfect some editing would have been in order as occasion- al Americanisms such as "trav- elled" and ''gotten" pop up in the text. I. was jolted by "like you on page 23 and chagrined by his misuse of "hopefully" a la mode moderne. His metaphors may not always be mixed but they certainly do not always mesh like "rout- ine had nowhere to roost" or "he ignited the However, these are the quibbles of a man who has spent almost half a century correcting stu- dents' English and should not be considered as top serious a criticism of a book intended for public consumption. We could however argue about a few things such as the spelling of Piegan. Fidler wrote Pekunow, Thompson Peeagan and the tribe calls itself Pekunee; so there is no reason that it should be spelled Peigan and pronounc- ed Paygan except that in Can- ada that is the spelling some semi-literate civil servant wish- ed on us and thus made offi- cial. In Canadian and world events Dr. MacGregor keeps Alberta squarely in the centre but as a southern Albertan I felt that he is better versed in the area from Calgary north than from Calgary south and is much more conversant with the oil business than with coal mining. And, if Aberhart had had to depend on crystal radio sets for his audience he would never have been elected. We had one- lunger regenerative sets that pulled in CFCN just about any- where in the province. Still, this is the book that I and many others have been waiting for for years. I expect that it will be eagerly bought up by schools and all people inter- ested in Alberta's past. There is no work like it and there is not likely to be for many years. W. J. COUSINS, Department of History, The University of Lethbridga Prairie panorama Photo by Elwood Ferguson Berton makes history irresistible "Klondike: Tile Last Great Gold Rush 1890-1899" by Pierre Berton (McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 47Z First published in 1958, and now published in a revised ver- sion and in a format to match the two books on the Canadian Pacific Railway, this book will be a prized addition to any Ca- nadiana library. The republica- tion has given Pierre Berton Just an ordinary guy "The Shrewsdale Exit" hy John Buell (Doubleday; 273 pages, He's just an ordinary guy, Joe Grant, taking his wife and six- year-old daughter on a camp- Ing holiday somewhere in the United States. Like a lot of other motorists they stop for a snack at a Howard Johnson's flanking the highway. In the parking lot, three silver-studded black jackets, gleaming motor- cycles at the ready, watch with Interest as the family emerges from the restaurant, takes to the highway towards the coast. Grinning, the trio follows. Here is the prey. The opportimity lies ahead on a lonelier section of the road. The dreadful climax comes suddenly. Joe senses that he is being followed; one motorcycle roars past, and in the next sec- ond his windshield is covered with black oil. He slews into the ditch, gets out, tries to defend himself against the three, but a heavy chain does its filthy work. When Joe returns to con- sciousness, he crawls from the car into the deep grass at the side, WTenches the car's door open to find the mutilated bod- ies of his wife and daughter. They are dead, having first been crueliy and criminally as- saulted. It all takes place in the first few pages of this tersely writ- ten suspense story, which is mainly concerned with what happens to Joe Grant after- wards. He is scarcely rational, yet he senses that the police are not pursuing the killers with the interest and the energy they should. The temp.') of the investigation is maddeningly slow. Impelled by a force he cannot control, Joe decides to do his own investigating. The result is a tauriy written thriller, short, shocking and to the point, marred only by a mawkish end which does no justice to the original concent or the author's talent. J. II. the opportunity to revise some parts of his book in the light of material that has turned up since the first publication but the book is essentially the same as the popular origin- al. Here Is an absorbing story of a mad surge of men to the Yu- kon in search of riches. Fabu- lous amounts of gold were dis- covered and some people be- came rich but most of those who ventured to that northland amassed sad experiences only. There was some gaiety among the experiences but the over- whelming impression is that it was a thoroughly grim time for the majority of those who made the journey and worked their claims. It seems incredible to me that men would plunge so blind- ly into the rigors of a for- bidding climate and terrain. Even today when the routes to the northland are mapped and there is equipment available to make life more endurable, only the intrepid would undertake to slog the way on foot as most of the men did in the great gold rush. There were men in that gold rush who were as unlikely candidates for the role of a sourdough as I would be. Only madness as a disease can acc- ount for it. There was a perverseness mixed up in it, too. The pro- moters who urged unseasoned men to strike off from Edmon- ton, for instance, in utter dis- regard for the suffering that was certain to be entailed were perverse in the extreme. A man who had been hired by the Ed- monton town council to open a trail from Peace River Cross- ing by way of Fort Nelson to the Felly Banks and who knew that the trail was nothing more than occasional slashes on trees inexcusably urged discour- aged men to continue thcir hopeless trek. Berton says he was being loyal to his backers. In case anyone might miss it in the main text, the author has added a preface in which he specifically points out the dif- ference between the Canadian and American approach to jus- tice on the frontier. The Cana- dians vested the keeping of or- er in the hands of the police the Americans opted for a kind of do-it-yourself version of justice. Dawson and Skag- way illustrated the difference. In Dawson the Mounted Police kept a firm control; in Skagway Soapy Smith anl his gang reigned until a posse took things into its hands. Anyone who might chance to glance at the extensive biblio- graphy and wonder why another book on the Klondike is needed should read the epilogue. Here Pierre Berton indicates that most of what has been written previously is either fragment- ary or untrustworthy. He claims to have written the definitive work and makes a pretty good case for his assertion. Klondike, one learns from the epilogue, has had a consider- able influence. It has stimulated a rather remarkable tourist ac- tivity in the northland which has resulted in some restora- tion work and the mooting of an international gold rush park. The best tribute I can pay this book is that despite my aversion for roughing it I would be sorely tempted by an in- vitation to visit the park and hike over the Chilkoot Pass. Gold would not interest me but the lure of history is strong and made almost irresistible by Mr. Berton's splenlid book. DOUG WALKER Quebec attitude disturbing A glimpse of China "soo.ono.nnn Real China" lioss Tcrrill. (Lil- tlo, Brown and Co., S9, 2M This book, which was the re- sult of Ross Tcnill's China vis- it last year, has been described by John K. Kail-bank, the dean of American Sinologists, as "the Iwst piece of reporting from China since the laic 40s." An Australian, Mr. Tcrrill is on the family of Harvard Uni- versity in the department of government and n research fel- low in Chinese affairs at Har- vard's Hncl Asian centre. He kimur, (he Cliine.se language .ml vi'ilcd China once before n I MI. Mr. Terrill's visil Insl year followed China's "ping pong diplomacy" which culminated in her admission to the United Nations and President Nixon's China visit. He compared his two visits, and found much had changed. Richly illustrated, this book should he found interesting by anyone who wanls lo know: what is Ibe real China? does a quarter of man kind live? What do the BOO million Chinese think of the rest of Iho world? This hook, however, fails to penetrate into the root of things. Mr. Tcrrill said as a visitor, ho was looked upon as some- one "foreign" and mort of his lours were guided. Indeed, he only managed to present a first- hand report of surface observa- tions. JOE MA "Quebec: a chronicle 1968- 1872." edited by Robert Cho- i-fts and Nick Aiif der Maitr (James Lewis and Samuel, IGli pages, paperback, Here is a book, compiled from articles in the "Last Post" magazine. It starts with a quiet revolution and ends hectically, yet without conclusion. The years 1968-72 were turbulent ones in Quebec that touched the whole of Canada. The sixties saw a great number of political radical groups emerge, most of them originating from labor movements which were consid- ered a serious threat to the Quebec political system and therefore suppressed. Reading through the pages, it appears only natural that in n province, where it seems an advantage not to speak French, much animosity should arise. The Quebec income figures showed annually for uui- lingual English speaking em- ployees, against for uni- lingual French speaking em- ployees. It wasn't enough any- more lo appease people with promises. They wanted notion and since their government was reluctant to chmge, they Irierl to change things by vio- lence. Many pages are dedicated to the sensational struggle of the Montreal taxi drivers to union- ize; the unusual circumstances cr the mail truck drivers in- cident are one-sidedly exposed; the "La Press1' debacle is con- sidered as a turning point in the Quebec historical process. The conception of many Ca- nadians, that the FLQ is or- ganized on Mafia lines is re- futed and Trudeau's success of having smashed it denied. The pitiful conditions of the Quebec labor force are delineated too dramatically to provide a fair argument. There is bitter re- sentment expressed towards the federal and provincial govern- ments. One might ask alter reading through all this dismal accusa- tion, that doesn't evoke either empathy nor sympathy, why, if (juohcccrs seem lo have so strikingly similar problems to the rest of Canada, they think of themselves as fighting Iheir own particular haltle. It's an informative book, full of spile and spittle; sorious for thorc who care lo listen, hog- wash for those who don't, fnlal to those who rcslrict their re- action lo banal criticism. 1 feel U wouldn't harm anyone lo fill in on some facts, in however a biased way they may be inter- preted, facts which are in their very nature tragic and only in a most ominous sense interest- ing. The book failed to relate ex- isting problems in Quebec to the rest of Canada, a regret- table omission. Of coiu'se, one hears one side only and there is still much room for speculation. In the end it is probably the result arrived at from this speculation that will make or break Can- ada as a nation. Along with the English speaking Canadians, the Quebecers have a great heritage. Admittedly they could do with fewer fanatics but they could also do with a little bit more compassion and undcr- .Oliindiiig from us instead of the familiar shrug of the shoulder. French Canada's great na- tional historian Abbe Groulx certainly has n point in say- ing: "it's not a question of whether we'll be great or small, whether we are rich or poor, it's a question of whether we'll be." How are the chances? Read HIP book, then judge for your- self. HANS SCHAUFL The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY The Ten Commandments At one time it was assumed that British law rested on the Ten Commandments and that no law was valid if it ran contrary to them. It is a rare person today who knows what they are, so they are not con- sidered basic to our social or legal struc- ture, which is a said misfortune. They have even disappeared from Christian worship. It used to be the fashion to have the Ten Commandments printed or carved on the east wall of the chancel. Queen Elizabeth I issued an order to this effect. The compilers of the Book of Common Prayer instructed godparents that they were to take care that the child learned "the Creed, the Lord's prayer, and the Ten Commandments, in the vulgar tongue, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul's health." The rabbis, of course, taught the Ten Commandments as the source of all piety and goodness. The Roman Catholic church in the cateclu'sm prepared by the Council of Trent declared that the basis for the doctrine of faith was to be found on the four pillars, The Apostles' Creed, the sac- raments, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer. The decalogue means literally "the ten words." In the primitive Hebrew they consisted of ten phrases, none more than two words long. The familiar summary is given in the twentieth chapter of Exo- dus. The laws of Hammurabi are the oldest code known to man, but one has only to read the Law of Moses and the Code of Hammurabi to realize the independence, in- tegrity, and divine origin of the former in contrast. The Ten Commandments are ex- pressed in the form of a covenant, the preface stating God's nature, His relation to Israel, and His deeds on her behalf. Then follows the statement of human duty in the total sphere of religious and moral life. It is imperative to remember also that morality is here brought into indissoluble unity with religion, and for this morality which included duties to God, family, and neighbor, ritual could never be a substi- tute. This is a tendency in all religions and one to which the Israelites were most prone as evidenced in the denunciations of the prophets like Amos and Micah. The Lutherans and Roman Catholics divide the Ten Commandments differently from the Protestant churches, but the substance ifl the same. The Ten Commandments begin where one ought to begin, with God, and demand that God receive primary, sincere, total allegi- ance. In an age when profanity is a way of speech for both men and women, and also when some judges have said that the court room oath is becoming meaningless, commandment forbidding taking God's name in vain may appear to be utterly discarded. But what can one say then of the fourth commandment, "Remember the sabbath day to keep it The day was set apart, as a day of reverence, a day of holiness, a day of rest, a day with the family. But now work is compulsory and the airwaves are full of football games, a day of hjdeous, stupid revelry and de- bauchery. One of the first things the Chris- tian church did was to gain for the working man in the Roman Empire a day of rest. The fight must begin all over again. The fifth commandment, to honor your father and mother, also sounds strange to modern ears. As for the commandment not to kill, no age, no century, has killed more than the twentieth. The command- ment, "Thou shall not commit must bring ribald laughter from this wife- swapping generation. Regarding posses- sions, Jesus taught an attitude of detach- ment end also stewardship toward posses- sions. A man steals when he gives neither God nor his society their porper due. If r-.ir Eccietv obeyed the commandment, "Thou shall not covet anything that is thy the whole business machine would break down. Men have taken the Ten Commandments and turned them re- side down, so that society lives by the oinosi'e. It is ironic that they have been proved true by breaking them, or is it truer to say that one does not break the Ten Commandments, but Is broken by them when they are THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE APERTURE GASTON RENAUD French at the university Professor Gaston Renaud obtained his BA from the University of Ottawa and his MA from the University of Western Ontario. He is now completing dis doctorate in 19th century French literature. He joined the faculty of the University of Lethbridge in 1969. When a student registers in French courses at the university, what sort of in- struction does he have to deal with? Is he faced with approaches, outlooks, and methods of learning which are completely different from high school French pro- grams? Contrary to popular beliefs that universi- ties' departments of languages are exclu- sively geared to teach literature, the high school graduate is not expected to tackle lit- erature right at the start of Ins university French education. The University of Leth- bridge is both practical and concerned with giving its students a greater knowledge about themselves and the world around them. Hence, the first two years of French studies at the U of L are spent continuing the same kind of Instruction the average student is expected to have acquired at the end of grade 12 French. Emphasis is given to further developing a student's skills in listening, speaking, read- ing and writing. In fact, during the first two years of university French, no literary text is studied as an end in itself. The few French literary texts that are gradually introduced at this practical level aim al- most exclusively at developing reading comprehension. And such texts, at first journalistic in nature, but becoming more literary are especially selected to be adapt- ed to the student's actual knowledge of the French language. What happens after these two years of undergraduate French studies which are mainly concerned with the acquisition of the language? The student will endeavor to develop his acquired knowledge. But in what way or direction is this ac- quired knowledge going to be developed or elaborated upon? In order to answer Ibis question adequately, one must he fully aware of what a university education is ultimately all ahoul. II must Iw assumed lhat, if (i student has chosen to study al a university, it is because his primary aim concurs with the "rnison d'etre1' of such an institution. And what is the "rnison d'etre" of an institution such as (his uni- versily of ours, entirely dedicaled as it is to undergraduate students, if not the lib- eral formation of individuals? That is, the development of an ever-increasing aware- ness of reality inside and outside the per- son, and the consequent capacity of that person to adapt lo an ever-changing and shrinking world, in which understanding of one another Incomes n question of survival for the whole human race. If a student takes up the study of a sec- ond language at the university, his should not be primarily pragmatic reasons. If aims such as learning the language in order to travel in French speaking countries or to become bilingual in order to get a better job constitute the ultimate goals of a stu- dent, then perhaps he should not be in a university. There are more expedient wayf of achieving bilingualism in institutes whera languages are taught on a more intensive basis. This should not be interpreted as mean- Ing that it is impossible for students to be- come bilingual through universities' lan- guage instruction. In fact, the University ol Lethbridge's department of modern lan- guages has recently set up a program for third year students to facilitate bilingual- Ism by making it possible for them to go and study in French language universi- ties for a semester. I simply mean that bilingualism for a university student is only a means to an end: the goal of experiencing another way of understanding oneself and the world, another insight into reality. If we accept that a university education is mainly concerned knowledge, we then become conscious that the study of a second language, through its literature, is essential and fundamental. Because it is through language that human thought ard knowledge and experience are made pos- sible. The organization of ideas into state- ments by means of language constitutes the essence of what we call knowledge. And, in the end, reality, whether human, social, political or scientific, might simply be what we say it is. At. the same time, since each individual language sets limits on thr.ucht and since each language organizes reality according to different patterns, it is apparent that each lanaguage will conceive reality in dif- ferent ways and at various degrees. It is then appropriate and commendable to study one or more 'second' languages in order to achieve a greater understanding of reality in its more subtle possibilities, a better chance of exerting some control over reality, a greater control of one's destiny. Tims literature which is the purest form of how people of other languages think Incomes the more adequate prep- aration for the student's adaptability to reality, much more so than if the student is only highly skilled in a single rrca, since we cannot now know skills will be needed in the future. So we sec lilerature and the more subtle forms of expression nrc studied in the third and fourth year Kmich at the university because Ihoy are inlegrat parts of the long r.-.ngo goals of Ill-oral lor- mr.cion of adaptability of the human per- son.