I wish to thank Dr. Nanci L. Langford of Athabasca University, with whom I spoke early in my research process, and who loaned me her Master’s Thesis First Generation and Lasting Impressions: The Gendered Identities of Prairie Homestead Women. Her thesis was of valuable assistance in directing me to many excellent archival sources for prairie women’s history.
I also wish to thank all of the hard-working archivists who have helped me in my quest:
Provincial Archives of Alberta: Karen Simonson, Robyn Wallace, Dave Reed, and Caroline Lieffers
Saskatchewan Archives Board, Regina: Paula Ryan, Joe LeClerc, and Tim Novak
I also wish to thank the Eastend Arts Council of Eastend, Saskatchewan, in particular Ethel Wills and Alice Hanlin, and the other residents of Eastend who have shown me kindness and taken the time to make me feel at home. They were all very gracious and welcoming during my stay at the Wallace Stegner House artist’s residence.
Copyright of the images and contents of this blog are Marlena Wyman and the archival institutions from which the photographs and documents are sourced, where copyright is applicable.
The information that I present in my artwork and on my blog is not intended to be a comprehensive view of the pioneer prairie experience. I am focusing on the pioneer prairie women’s narrative because their story has not been told to the same extent as the men’s story, nor are their records and stories as well represented in archives, libraries, museums and art galleries.
Within the pioneer prairie women’s experience, the quotes that I choose are those that inspire me creatively, so a personally resonant view is expressed. All of the quotes are authentic and are from primary source archival records. Several women’s published memoirs were also sourced.
My hope is that, through my artwork and my blog, I can help bring to light the important and worthy contributions that pioneer prairie women made in the settling of the Canadian West. I also wish to honour their hard-fought victories over oppressive laws that prevented them from homesteading as single women, that prevented them from owning rights to the home and land that women worked with their husbands, that prevented them having legal rights to their children, that prevented them from voting, that prevented them from the right to equal wages, that prevented them from being considered persons in the eyes of the law, and more. We have much to be grateful for, and still much to do.