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A chance encounter in 1953 with (II) James Brady (1908-1967?), the grandson of my great grandfather Lawrence Garneau, (1840-1921) began my quest in search of my roots. Brady was an early champion for the Metis cause and spoke of the many injustices. He also spoke of the Indian blood in the Garneau Family. Why had I not been told? I was determined to find out.
The Brady papers are on file in the Glenbow Archives in Calgary, Alberta Canada.
R.D. (Dick) Garneau
Yup! This is me just three years after I started my Quest for my roots. Photo was taken in Edmonton, Alberta
The Garneau District of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is named after my great grandfather, Lawrence Garneau. His farm was located at the south end of the high level bridge on 9th street, near the University of Edmonton. He homesteaded at this location in 1874, and possibly earlier. It was called Strathcona before being incorporated into Edmonton.
In 1904, an unknown Strathcona Clarion Newspaper writer, who was obviously European, recorded his encounter with:
Lawrence Garneau (1840-1921) as follows:
"Few of us ever really understood the complex character of the Half-Breed. The lights and shades of his variable nature were not clearly enough defined to admit of clear comprehension and certainly not of definition to anyone accustomed only to the clear-cut racial distinctions of world-old peoples, for the point of view of the Half-Breed is to be sometimes felt but never described. Once only it was given to me and then by the master hand of one of the race through the magic music of his violin, for few men I have been told, could play the violin as could Lavoy (Larry) Garneau, the finest of the French, Half-Breed it has ever been my fortune to meet.
The long summer day of the Saskatchewan (River) and close had we sat in the coolness of the evening looking out over the river, where, high above the feeble flickering lights of the little settlement on the northern bank, shone the bright, glimmering stars of the universe, and the words of the intellectual man at my side were in harmony with the scene. He talked ethically of the rights of man, the duties of government, personal freedom, etc., and the desultory conversation gradually drifted from wondering at the purpose of creation, the law of the powerful, the injuries of the weak, and the abstract theories as to man's relations with the Infinite, until as the shadows deepened the soft, deep voice of Larry (Lawrence) Garneau spoke directly of the rights and wrongs of his people.
Unconsciously I must have assumed the mental attitude that a legal training and teaching of my race would once beget. With keen intuition my companion understood." Lawrence Garneau responded "Sympathy and feeling, human qualities as necessary in the judgment of worldly things as they are in religion, should be brought to bear on the question of Half-Breed rights and wrongs" "said he quietly, reaching for his violin." "Let me tell you the story of the Half-breed." "And with the stars glimmering down upon us, with no sound to break the quietness of the night but the soft swishing flow of the mighty Saskatchewan, the notes of the violin, now vibrating with the swirl of the buffalo hunt and the mad merriment of the dance, then softening to some old French love song brought over seas and prairies from Brittany now murmuring the quaint, sweet lullabies of childhood, then breaking into the fierce chants of war and revenge at last died away in the wailing sadness of a requiem that told of a dying race. Only the other day I heard a great military band of world-wide repute tell the awful story of Bonaparte's most disastrous campaign, with blare of trumpet, the shriek of shells and the groans of the wounded, and some at least learned something of the horrors of war. From the throbbing notes of the singing, sobbing violin pressed under the strong chin of Larry Garneau, from his deep chested words of rapid explanations uttered now and then during the recital, from his softened or flashing eyes and the mobile features of his expressive face in the clear northern starlight, I learned the tragic Story of the Half-Breed."
Lawrence Garneau was caught up in the Dakota Sioux Resistance Movement (1861-1863) and the Louis Riel Resistance Movement (1869-1870), involved in a Vigilance Committee to stop the illegal squatters- namely Joe Bannerman M.P., the not so Honorable Minister of the Interior (1882-1883), almost hung in Fort Edmonton during the second Riel Resistance Movement (1885) and involved in the defense of St. Paul de Metis from the Roman Catholic Church's infamous (Father Therien) claim jumping of 1908.
RESULTS OF AN INTERVIEW: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 23:18:14 -0600
With: "Brent Johner, Canadian History Guide" email@example.com
48 years. That's how long amateur Canadian historian Dick Garneau has been compiling research for his acclaimed web site, Canadian History: A Distinct Viewpoint.
"I started in the summer of 1953," when he was a teenager", says Dick, "through a chance encounter with James Brady, a champion of the Metis cause and a distant relative who told me there was Indian in the family." It made Dick want to learn more about his family heritage.
In the 48 years since then, including the 35 years he worked for ESSO Resources Canada, Dick faithfully visited libraries, rummaged through used book stores, combed archives and, more recently, surfed the Internet while painstakingly compiling the research behind what is unquestionably the most detailed Canadian history timeline on the Web today.
Originally slated for use in a book, Dick instead chose to publish his research on the Internet in 1999. "A web site has a greater exposure than a book," says Dick. " My research is formatted by date and location to facilitate genealogy research and to gain a better understanding of the evolution of beliefs and values. A book must be formatted into an interesting narrative and filled with fluff for the enjoyment of the reader." Moreover, books cost money while "the Web is basically free".
These days, Dick spends 70 to 160 hours a month managing his site, answering email and adding new research. He continues his once- or twice-weekly visits to libraries, book stores, archives and (whenever he has time) visits historic sites.
The technical challenges of running such a large Canadian history site do not bother this 63-year-old. "I use Netscape Navigator Gold to create my shells and "HTML for Dummies" to modify the shell, using Notepad and WordPad. I attempt to keep the technology at the lowest levels to ensure the folks with low-level computers can still access my sites."
Originally loaded on 22 November 1999, Dick's first TELUS PLAnet site soon proved to have inadequate space. So he set up a second site on Vicinities free service. Problems with the log in process, however, turned him off and within a month, he had relocated his second site to Xoom (now NBCI). Today his site is spread across both service providers. (NBCi stopped providing free web space July 15, 2001). Second site is now GlobalMart.
His viewer mail covers the whole spectrum from people who love Distinct Viewpoint to people who hate it. "What can I say, except WOW!!!" raved one viewer. "Your site is a truly astounding piece of work and has definitely made my decade." "While looking through your pages," said another, "I was wholeheartidly [sic] disgusted at your claim that the Scots introduced racism against the indegenous [sic] peoples of Canada." But whether they love Distinct Viewpoint or hate it, Dick has the courage to post all of their comments.
What has Dick learned from nearly 5 decades of discovering his family heritage? "Having Indian heritage is a value-add to my growth and not a hindrance as I was taught," he explains. "Anti-native-ism is systemic even today in our Churches, Governments, Educational and legal systems. It is part of our culture and most folks are not even aware of the role it plays, including the Natives themselves."
And what has he learned about himself in this process? "Not to trust any first perceptions of anything. First perceptions are the result of culture not assessments based on truth, facts and applied wisdom. I learned to look at and critically question the foundation of our Principles, Beliefs and Values, as our culture is being built and advanced on a house of cards."
Indian: The True Canadian History, 128,000 BC - 2000 AD Timeline. Canadian History: A Distinct Point of View. Native history. Remarkably detailed.
Métis: A Complete History, 1600-1900 Timeline. Canadian History: A Distinct Point of View. Métis history. Remarkably detailed.
Genealogy: Canadian Ancestors Genealogy. Canadian History: A Distinct Point of View.
Organized by surname followed by chronology.
December 12, 1999
The following comments concerning my
website come from my Mother and are the result of second hand information as she
has never been on the World Wide Web.
I am saddened with what you are doing on
the net. We get our life on earth,
as Jesus answered, when asked which were the most important commandments, he
replied, to love God with our whole heart, and our neighbors as ourselves.
That means only doing them good. Certainly
there were and are Popes, Bishops, Priests and all of us, who do things that are
detrimental to others, as we are all sinners, trying to become Saints.
We were taught in Catechism Classes it was just as wrong, to broadcast
the sins of others, even when guilty, as to those that are.
God is to be the judge of all, since he created us, and gave us all
special gifts to be used for the good of all, so that we ourselves would find
eternal happiness in Eternity.
Richard, I had an experience of a small view of what that happiness will be like, when I died in 1940. If you can imagine the most wonderful time of your life and multiply it with an incredible number, it wouldn’t come close; it’s worth fighting for. My doctor said he had never seen anyone be as far-gone as I was and return. I hemorrhaged until my vanes collapsed, and they couldn’t give me blood. God decided it wasn’t my time to go, and here I am fifty-nine years later and in all these years I’ve been trying in many ways, to help people see what they should be working for. Why because in that experience I saw a great group of people, in a pit all journal (joined?) together with their arms up raised, begging and pleading for help. I knew I had to go back and do as much as I could for them, as well as for my own relatives. I’ve prayed more than once a day for all of you, especially my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and it saddens me to see you put so much time and energy on digging up what others have done wrong, in the past, which only makes more people angry and ready to repay, and we certainly see enough of that now. Jesus said whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me. He also said let whoever is without sin, let him throw the first stone and there are none of us but the Blessed Virgin who could say that.
Please use the talents God has given you to do good in the world, and help other people to find their happiness in Eternity. I’ll continue to pray until the day I die for all of you, and it may not be all that long, as the Dr. says if it wasn’t for all the pills I have, I’d have been dead a long time ago. Love and prayers, Mother
March 13, 2000
This is in response to your letter of December 12, 1999.
I have been waiting for Pope John Paul II 's long promised, unprecedented apology for the wrong doings of the Institutional Church before I responded to your letter. If you are still of the old religious camp, his proclamation will not carry much meaning, as some consider him a rank heretic, and the infighting between the old conservatives and the new liberal class has become intense. We need to remember Jesus was a liberal, demanding fundamental change. Some even say he was a radical.
If we do not review our past sins, we are doomed to repeat them; we are doomed to continue to walk in the darkness. This Pope says we have a responsibility to speak out against injustice and falsehoods and that includes historical falsehoods of Churches, Government and business. The Roman Catholic Church silenced F. X. Garneau, the first Canadian historian, and Father Lacombe, the only true saint of Alberta. I will not be silenced. In fact, most feedback to my web site has been very supportive. You continue to speak out against the alleged sins of government; like the position on medical issues, fluoride in the water. What I do is not much different. I speak out against the Medical community, Government and Church- there are no sacred stones. The Pope considers recognition and repentance of sinful acts by the Church as an act of courage and humility. You may not agree with this theology. You are not alone, as many very senior religious priests; bishops and cardinals believe he is in error in matters of faith and morals.
I believe if you are in pursuit of becoming a saint or the salvation of your own immortal soul you are likely walking in the dark. What does it profit a man if he fails to speak out against wrongdoing for a promise of eternal happiness? The Indians in early Canada noted the Jesuits killed, lied and physically fought with those of other faiths, and concluded they would rather go to hell with their fellow Indians than go to heaven with the Roman Catholic Black Robes.
I also believe in helping other people, but there are many differing ways of helping people. The recognition of reality in historical and current is helping people. If you don’t have a well-grounded knowledge of our historical past, how do you know what to change to improve the future? We still have 77 aboriginal cases that the Roman Church refuses to make restitution for and countless other cases in Quebec and the Maritimes that the Church refuses recognition and consideration for repentance. Who speaks for the thousands (no hundreds of thousands) of anguished souls who are crying out to God for Justice.
The credo of the Roman Catholic Church for its followers has been the Recognition of sin, the Repentance of sin and the Restitution for sin, but this was never previously applied to the Institutional Church. Pope John Paul II proclaimed this year as the Jubilee Year of justice and truth. He is fulfilling a long-standing promise to offer a sweeping, unprecedented apology for wrongs committed by Roman Catholics during the past millennium. The apology should be understood as an act of courage and humility in recognizing the wrongs done by those that have borne or bear the name of Christians. The Pope asked for forgiveness of all the sins of commission and omission committed by the Church, especially for use of violence that some have committed in the service of truth and for attitudes of contempt of other cultures and towards followers of other religious traditions. Forgiveness for the treatment of women who have all too often been humiliated and marginalized. Religion has been marked by intolerance, superstition, complicity and unjust powers and the denial of the dignity and freedom of conscience. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger said: ‘Men of the Church in the name of faith and morals have sometimes used methods not in keeping with the Gospels’. John Paul described his actions as an attempt to ‘purify memory’ of a sad history of hate, rivalry, intolerance and omission. Specifically mentioned is the hatred towards the weakest members of society, the Roma (Gypsies). Also mentioned are lapses by Catholics regarding abortion, mistreatment of children and those who abuse the promise of biotechnology.
Some senior officials of the Vatican believe the Pope has lost control. Opus Dei, the hard-line right-wing faction, has seized control of the last three key Vatican departments: the section responsible for making saints; the congregation that appoints bishops; and the powerful press office. Officials paint a bleak picture of life in the Curia as the bureaucracy turns rotten with malevolent gossip, discrimination and contempt. One Jesuit theologian has accused the Pope of ‘rank heresy’ because the Pope said the revelation of Christ was ‘definitive and complete”. The powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, alias the Congregation for the Inquisition, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the guardian of Church orthodoxy, is waging war against the liberal Catholic theologians.
Richard, March 13, 2000
history no way to make a hero”
December 14, 2001 Calgary Herald
Thelma Chalifoux wants May 12 declared Louis Riel Day.
Lakritz says: Great. We’ll need a Thomas Scot Day then, too, in memory of the man Riel executed. After all, if we’re going to honour a traitor, then by all rights, we should honour Scott. Riel demonstrated a nasty penchant for kangaroo courts. He observed none of the normal rules of justice of either English or French non-military law.
History must be respected, not rewritten.
only absolute is that history is neither static nor accurate.
To suggest we shouldn’t rewrite history is naive and shows a poor grasp
of human nature.
The North West was a territory governed by Indian and Metis common law at the time of the Metis resistance movement. Upper Canada, a branch of England- a foreign power, had no territorial rights to the North West by the international standards of the day. The North West had not been conquered. The Europeans were there in small numbers as foreign traders and guests of the First Nations People. To suggest that the Metis who are defending their Nation are treasonous is totally absurd. To suggest the Orange Order and its members rank in the same class as the Metis defenders is ludicrous at the least. The Orange Order was more closely aligned with a terrorist mentality. Upper Canada at that time was basically a front for the invading English culture. Speaking of due process, what was the due process of Canada wanting to annex the free Nation of the North West? The Metis practiced an ancient judicial system based on a mixture of Indian and European tradition. The Orange Party of Upper Canada were the only ones who practiced the traditions of a kangaroo court, even if every dog in Quebec should cry in defense of Riel.
However, we must respect history, even if it is built on lies and misguided individuals. After all, the English wrote it, therefore it must be true.
of an E-mail sent to Naomi Lakritz of the Calgary Herald dated December 14,
2001. Published as a letter to the editors December 16, 2001
December 21, 2001 Calgary Herald Letters to the Editor by George and Terry Goulet
Lakritz's rant against Louis Riel displays ignorance of Canadian history. Major Boulton and Thomas Scott were part of an armed force aiming to overthrow the provisional government of the Red River Settlement. Riel was president of this government, which was determined to maintain law and order prior to it becoming part of Canada. Prime Minister John A. MacDonald acknowledged the provisional government as a de facto one. There was no rebellion against Canada in 1869-70. At the time, the Red River settlement was not part of Canada, which had no authority over it whatsoever.
If a hero is one who forfeits his life for others in a just cause, Riel is a hero. Riel fought for western Canadian democracy, Metis and minority rights and as a result, lost his life. Many in Canada have labeled Riel a hero, including Manitoba historian Jack Bumstead, who called Riel a "mythic hero".
The plaque on the base of Riel's statue on the grounds of the Manitoba legislature recognizes his role as founder of the Province of Manitoba.
As for a kangaroo court, look at the documented judicial, legal and political improprieties that led to Riel's conviction and unjust execution for high treason under provisions of an inapplicable, archaic 14th century English statute.
LEGACY published December 21, 2001 Pemmican Publications (204)586-8474.
This Millennium project took two years and $200,000 to produce 2,500 copies that are to be distributed to schools, libraries and government offices throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northern United States for the benefit of our children.
As my contribution, I gave them the freedom to use what they need from my web site. I was very impressed with this piece of work as it follows the Metis tradition of 'caring and sharing'.
Their notes of contributors included the following:
Dick Garneau is a researcher of both written and oral history of the Metis in general and the Metis Garneau clan in particular. His 48 years of historical research appears on his acclaimed web site 'Canadian History a Distinct Viewpoint'. The material was originally intended as a book but given his goal of supporting the education of young people to a different view of history, he decided to put it on the internet in 1999.
WHY ARE SOME CARING AND SHARING
John Walker never patented his invention - matches. He felt such an important tool should be public property.
Pierre and Marie Curie refused to take out a patent on the process of making Radium. Radium belonged to the world. No one had a right to profit from it.
Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen who discovered X-rays refused to apply for patents or to make financial gain out of it.
Einstein refused to make a profit out of science saying - "My laurel is not for sale".
Earnest Hemingway said, "You don't ever have a thing until you give it away".
Author hard at work
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