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 at the Provincial Archives of Alberta, the City of Edmonton Archives, the Glenbow Archives, the Saskatchewan Archives Board, and Ethel Wills & Alice Hanlin at the Wallace Stegner House artist’s residency and the Eastend Archives.
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 research is mainly white English-speaking settler women. There are very few archival sources for indigenous and early non-white cultures. I encourage the deposit of these important documents and stories, without which our history is not complete.
I wish to acknowledge that the land on which early prairie immigrants settled are the traditional meeting grounds, gathering places, and travelling routes of the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries. My grandparents, who were the first of my family to come and farm on this land in southern Alberta, likely were not aware that they were part of a bad deal for indigenous people. Nonetheless, they were the beneficiaries of what was done before they came here, as am I.