Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 25, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, November 23, 1972 _ THE LFTHBRIDGE HERALD S Jlook revieivs Key events tell Alberta's history "A History of Albcrla" by James G. MacGrcgor (Hurt- ig Unlil noiv no real history of Alberta has ever teen written. A book with a similar name was published about fifty years Ego but it was dedicated to tie idea that famous men should be praised and fell short of being a history of anything but the story of a few pph'Ucians. Dr. MacGrcgor's work is a mar- vel of synthesis irom nil sources and spans Alberta his- tory from the latest prehistory as revealed by Dr. R. C. For- bis of Lhe University of Cal- gary to the election of Peter Lougheed and liis conservatives in 1971. It was amazing to ma 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 on Hie fur trade one of the best I have read. Here the author has a complete grasp of his subject and has thus teen able to give modern place names to all the areas covered by t h e 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 Smet'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 two sentences tha 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 and "I" 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 too 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 It 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 rat likely to be for many years. W. J. COUSINS, Department of History, The University of Lelhbridge Prairie panorama Photo by Elwood Ferguson Berton makes history irresistible "Klondike: Tlie Last Great Gold Rush 1S9G-1899" by Pierre Berton (McClelland and Stewart Ltd., SIO, ill First published in 1358, 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- Uon has given Pierre Berton Just an ordinary guy "The fihrewsdale Exit" by John Bnell (Doublcday; 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 opportunity lies ahead on a lonelier section of the road. The dreadful climax conies 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 inlo tlie ditch, gets out, Irics lo defend himself against the three, hut ,1 heavy chain does its filthy work. When Joe returns to con- sciousness, he crawls from the car into the deep grass at the side, wrenches the car's door open to find the mutilated bod- ies of his wife and daughter. They are dead, having first been cruelly 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 killc'-s with the interest and the energy they should. The lemp.i of the investigation is maddeningly slow. Impelled by a force he cannot control, Joe decides to do his own investigating The result is a Uuiiy written thriller, short, shocking and to the pr-int, marred only by a mawkish end which docs no justice lo Ihc original concent or Ihc author's talent. J. II. the opportunity to revise some parts of his book in the light of material that has turned up since tlie first publication but the book is essentially the same as the popular origin- al. Here Is an absorbing story ot 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 tlie routes to the northland are mapped and there is equipment available to make life more endurable, only the intrepid would undertake to slog tlie 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, loo. 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 lo 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 lhan occasional slashes on trees inexcusably urged discour- aged men to continue their hopeless trek. Berton says he was being loyal to his backers. In case anyone might miss it in the main text, tlie author has added a preface in which he specifically poinls out Ihe dif- ference between the Canadian and American approach to jus- tice on Ihe frontier. The Cana- dians vested the keeping of or- er in the hands of the police wliilc tlie Americans opted for a kind of do-it-yourself version of jusfice. 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 lo glance at Ihe exlensive biblio- graphy and wonder why anolher 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 tlie 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 Ihe Chilkoot Pass. Gold would nol interest me but the lure of history is strong and made almost Irresistible by Mr. Berton's splcnlid book. DOUG WALKER Quebec attitude disturbing A glimpse of China "soo.ooo.nnn Thp Heal China" by Itoss Trrrill. (Lit- tle, Hrown nnd Co., This book, which was the re- sult of Ross Tcrrill's China vis- it lasl year, has been described by John K. Fairbank. the dean of American Sinologists, ns "Ihc piece of reporting from China since the laic 411s." An Australian, Mr. Tcnill is on Hie faculty of Harvard Uni- versity in the department n[ rnveninicnl and a research fel- low in Chinese affairs al Har- vard's Karl Arian centre, lie. Hie Chinese language .iivl li'iled China once before IMI. Mr. Torrill's visit Insl year followed China's "ping pong diplomacy1' which culniinalcd In her admission to Ihe United Nations and President Nixon's China viril. He compared his two visits, and found much had changed. Richly illuslnilcd, Ihis book should be found interesting by anyone who wauls lo know: what is Ihc real China? How does a qnarler of man kind live? What do the rm million Chinese think of flic rest of the world? This bonk, however, fails lo penetrate into the root of lliings. Mr. Ten-ill said ns n visitor, lie was looked upon as some- one "foreign" and mofl of his lours were guided. Indeed, he only manaped lo present n first- hand report of surface observa- tions. JOE MA "Quebec: n chronicle 19G8- 1S72." edited by Robert Cbo- tlfts and Auf der Maiir (James Lewis and Samuel, Ifili pages, paperback, Here is a book, compiled from articles in the "Last. Post" magazine. It starts with a quiet revolution and ends hectically, ycl wilhout conclusion. The years 1068-72 were turbulent ones in Quclicc that touched tho whole of Canada. The sixlics saw a greal number of political radical groups emerge, most of (hem originating from labor movements which were consid- ered a serious Ihreal lo Ihe Quebec political system and therefore suppressed. Reading through Ihe. pages, II. appears only nalural that in n province, where il seems an advanlage nol lo spenk French, much animosity should arise. The Quebec income figures showed annually (or uni- 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 action and since Iheir goveriunenl was rcludnnl lo ehr.nge. Ihey Irietl lo change things by vio- lence. Many pages are dedicated to the sensational struggle of Ihe Montreal taxi drivers lo union- ize; Ihe unusual circumstances cr the mail truck drivers in- cident, are one-sidedly exposed; "La Tress1' debacle is con- sidered as a turning point in the Quebec historical process. The conception of many Ca- nadians, that Ihe FLQ is or- ganized on Mafia lines is re- filled and Trudeaii's success of having smashed il denied. The piliful conditions of Ihc Quebec labor force are delineated loo dramatically lo provide a fair argument. There is bitter re- sentment expressed towards the federal and provincial govern- ments. One might a.sk after reading through nil this dismal accusa- tion, that doesn't evoke cither empathy nor sympathy, why, if IJiic-'iccers .seem lo have so .strikingly similar problems lo the rest of Canada, lliey Ihink of Ihemselves as righting their own particular battle. It's an informative book, full of spile nnd spilllc; serious for thore who care lo lislen, ling- wash for those whn dnn'l, fatal 10 Ihose who rcMrid Inch' re- action lo banal criticism. 1 feel 11 wouldn't harm anyone lo (ill in on some facls, in however a hissed way they may be inter- preted, facts which are in their very nature tragic and only in a most ominous sense interest- in.-. The book failed to relale ex- isting problems in Quebec to the rest of Canada, a regret- table omission. Of coiu'se, one hears one side only and there Ls still much room for speculation. In the end il is probably the result arrived at from Ihis speculation Ihat will make or break Can- ada as a nation. Along with the English speaking Canadians, the Qucbccers have a greal heritage. Admilledly they could do with fewer fanatics but they rould also do with a little bit more compassion and under- handing from UK instead of Ihe familiar shrug of the shoulder. French Canada's greal na- tional historian Abbe Groulx certainly has a point in say- ing: "it's nol n question of whelhcr we'll be great or small, whether we are rich or poor, it's a question of whether we'll be." How nre the chances? Read Ilio book, Ihen judge for your- self. HANS ECIIAL'FL The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY The Ten Commandments At one time it was assumed (hat 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 slruc- lure, 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 Elisabeth 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 catechism 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 most prone as evidenced in t h e denunciations of the prophets like Amos and Micah. The Lutherans and Roman Catholics divide the Ten Commandments differently from the Protestant churches, hut the substance la 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 wher. profanity is a way o[ speech for both men and women, and also when some judges have said that the court room oath is becoming meaningless, the 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 hideous, 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. Tlie 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 Ged nor his society their porper due. If r-.ir Eccielv 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 It is ironic that they have been proved true by breaking them, or is it truer to say that one does not break tha Ten Commandments, but Is broken by them when they are disobeyed? THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE APERTURE GASTON RENAUD French at the university Professor Gaslon Renaud obtained his BA from the University of Ottawa and his MA from Ihe University of Western Ontario. He Is now completing dis doctorate in 19th century French literature. He joined the faculty of Ihc University of Lethbridge in 1909. 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 lu's 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 F.verage 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 unii'ej'sjiy French, no literary text is studied as an end in itself. The few French literary texts that are gradually introduced at llvs practical level aim al- most exclush ely at developing reading comprehension. And such texts, at first journalistic in nalure, but becoming more literary are especially selected to be adapt- ed to the student's actual knowledge of the French language. What happens after the.sc two years of undergraduate French sludies which are mainly concerned with the acquisition of the language? The student will endeavor to develop his acquired knowledge. But in what wny or direction is this ac- quired knowledge going to be developed or elaborated upon? In order to answer this question adequately, one must be fully aware of what a university education is ultimately all about. II must lie assumed that, if a student ha.s chosen to study at a university, il is Iwcauso his primary aim concurs with Ihe "raison d'etre1' of such an institution. And is the "rnison d'etre" of an institution such as Ihis uni- versity of ours, entirely dedicated as il is to undergraduate students, if not the lib- eral formation of individuals? That is, tlie development of an ever-increasing aware- ness of reality inside and oul-sidc the per- son, and the consequent capacity of thai person to adapt to an evcr-chunpinp and shrinking world, in which understanding of one another becomes a question of survival lor tlw whole human race. If a student takes up the sludy 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 wayi of achieving bilingualism in institutes where 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 with knowledge, we then become conscious that the sludy of a second language, tlirough its literature, is essential and fundamental. Because it Is through language that human thought ard knowledge zuid 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 Ihe end, reality, whether human, social, political or scientific, might simply be what we say it is. At Hie s.imc lime, since each individual language sets limits on Ihr.nthl and since each language organizes reality according to different patterns, il is apparent that each lanaguagc will conceive reality in dif- ferent ways and at. various degrees. It is then appropriate and commendable to study one or more 'second' laniniagcs in order to achieve a greater understanding of reality in its more subUe possibilities, a heller 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 licconics Ihc more adequate prep- aration for (lie student's adaplabilily lo reality, much more so than if the student is only highly skilled in a single rrea, since we cannot now know skills will be needed In Ihe future. So we sec literature and Ihe more subtle forms ot expression are studird in Ihe third and fourlh year French at the university because they are integral parts of the long r.-.uRp goals of Ihc Ill-oral (or- mr.tion of adnplnbilily of the human per- son.