Launching "Metis Pioneers" at Lougheed House, Calgary

Lougheed House offered the perfect venue to launch Doris MacKinnon‘s newest book, Metis Pioneers as it was the home of one of the two women whose lives are described in the book: Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed.

Both Isabella and the second woman in the study, Marie Rose Delorme Smith, were born in 1861. They experienced the difficult transition out of the fur trade economy in very different ways.

Starting the evening in fine style, Joe Lougheed (great grandson of Lady Isabella) gave a warm welcome to a large audience.

Special guests included Audrey Poitras (Madame President of Metis Nation of Alberta), Marlene Lanz (President, Metis Region 3), Lawrence Gervais (Vice President, Metis Region 3), and Edme Comstock (Metis elder and direct descendant of John Bruce, who was president of the provisional government of the Red River settlement).

Among the highlights of the evening was the attendance of Isabella Lougheed’s great-great niece, Michelle Lennox Hardisty, along with several other members of the Lougheed family.

Kirstin Evenden had a number of excellent questions for Doris. It was fascinating to hear differences and similarities in the two women’s life experiences. While Isabella came from the English-speaking Hudson Bay tradition and Marie Rose came from the French-speaking free trader tradition, both learned from their Metis mothers how to live from the land and both attended schools far from the land where they grew up.

It was absorbing to hear of the challenges around researching these two lives. Marie Rose left personal writings (fortunately saved for posterity) while the status of Isabella’s family led to public records of their activities. Doris did a remarkable job of delving into their lives and was also fortunate enough to gather family stories and recollections from descendants. Doris described how both women had extensive kinship networks and were matriarchs in their communities, and how both faced immense challenges during their lifetimes.

More reminiscences were shared, audience members asked many additional questions, and then the evening concluded with a tour of the home, which is now a National and Provincial Historic Site and museum.

An interview with Doris ran on Wednesday, February 21 at 5:50 PM, the day before the launch.