beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
The one person that almost everyone remembers from Western Canadian or Métis history - if they remember anyone at all - is Louis Riel. For more information about him, see this awesome Canadian Encyclopedia Online article. For the purposes of this post, all you have to know is that he was a francophone Métis political and religious leader involved in two rebellions in 1869 and 1885. He spent a lot of the time in between those rebellions in exile in the United States.

He also wrote a lot of letters... and a lot of poetry. 

Today, while finishing up a few papers, one of which is on the Métis interpreters and the Numbered Treaties of the 1870s, I ran across a few of his French-language poems in the appendices of a book called The Free People - Li Gens Libres: A History of the Métis Community of Batoche, Saskatchewan by Diane P. Payment. And this poetry is INTENSE. 
 
Caveat: the author stated that this poem is attributed to Riel, but not for sure. Either way, it's intense.
 
Scroll down for a rough English translation by me, without any effort at making it rhyme. It has more rhythm in French.
 
C'est au champ de bataille, 
J'ai fait crier mes douleurs,
Où tant qu'un doute se passe, 
Ça fait frémir les coeurs.
 
Or je r'çois-t-une lettre
De ma chère maman
J'avais ni plum' ni encre
Pour pouvoir lui écrire.

Or je pris mon canif,
Je le trempai dans mon sang
Pour écrir' une lettre
À ma chère maman.
Quand ell' r'creva cett' lettre
Tout écrit' de sang
Ses yeux baignant de larmes,
Son coeur s'allant mourant.

S'y jette à genoux par terre,
En appelant ses enfants:
Priez pour votr' p'tit frère
Qui est au régiment
Mourir, c'est pour mourir,
Chacun meurt à son tour;
J'aim' mieux mourir en brave,
Faut tous mourir un jour.
 
 
Really, REALLY rough English translation. It's kind of dramatically gory. )
 
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
Yeah, so my last post was a bit short (although it had a nifty video!) and I realize that only a handful of my friends list can read it, so I thought that I'd write an English-language update with extra information.

Stuff is slowly getting done. Last night, I all-but finished my thesis. I should feel more jubilant, but it's not done yet. I made edits based on the comments on the final rough draft that I just got back from my research supervisor. A lot of it was "good!", "excellent!" and checkmarks, with the occasional "typo" or "move this here" or "this should be your topic sentence, not this" and so on and so forth. I've also had to redo some formatting. I wasn't consistant with where I put my punctuation, outside or inside of quotation marks. I still have to chase down a few more examples/citations, double-check my formatting, and give my conclusion a bit more "oomph", but I'm essentially done!

Which is good because it's due a week from today. It'll get there. My bigger problem, now, is to finish all of the research papers that are due in the two weeks after I hand it in. I've done most of the research for them, and I have loads of reference books sitting beside my desk, so if I run across a point I need to double-check, I won't have to take the bus all the way down to the university or scour the internet for extra sources... which is good. I've just got to sit down and write the darn things, and you know what? I'm tired. And when I'm tired my brain doesn't like to be creative.

I have next to no readings to do this week (huzzah, professors understand our workloads at this point in the semester?) but now I have nothing to passively absorb: I have to be actively creative. I'm tired. I feel so done with school. But I'm going to have to keep on chugging along until I can finally rest at 4:00pm on April 21st. That's when I finish my last exam. I won't even be able to begin to study for exams until the week before. Luckily, I just have gigantic research papers in lieu of most of the exams, and they're due in the final week of classes.

Anyway, this Saturday is a complete write-off as far as doing homework goes, because I'm going to be presenting at the History of Medicine Conference at the U of A! If you're in Edmonton on Saturday, feel free to pop by. It'll be in Classroom D (room 2F1.04) at the University Hospital. I know a bunch of the presenters, and it looks to be very interesting. It's an interdisciplinary conference with undergrads and graduate students, from the history, English, and medicine departments (and possibly others like art history, dentistry, psychology, etc.). Highlights will include talks on "The Evolution of Kotex advertising and the Introduction of the 'Negro Market'", "Eugenics in Alberta: Lasting Effects".... The guest keynote speaker is Dr. Jackie Duffin who will talk to us about "Medical Miracles: Doctors, Saints and Healing in the Modern World", which will "explore how medical science is used by the Vatican in the canonization process."

My presentation is right after the break in the morning and will begin at 10:20 (so hopefully nobody will be figeting because they have to go to the washroom or something). I'll be essentially presenting a condensed version of my thesis argument, on Civil War medicine and surgery and how it wasn't as bad as you think, really... immediately afterwards we'll have a presenter on prosthetic technologies from the 1850s through the 1880s in America (which works really well, leading off of my talk) and then we'll have a guy talk about cholera epidemics in the mid- to late- nineteenth century, which can also build off of what I say about the miasma theory of disease. The subjects lead nicely into each other!

As a side note, there's free food, too! Breakfast, lunch and snacks. :) A friend of mine on twitter said that as long as I didn't advertise with posters saying "Breakfast, lunch and cholera!"... ;) But they go so well together! Everybody loves cholera, y/y? D:

Anyway, it will prove to be super-interesting, I know it. I'll write about the highlights the next day, possibly including pictures from my powerpoint presentation. :)

Saturday is also the fifth anniversary of my little brother going into remission! This means that he's officially cured of cancer! \o/ He works in the morning, but we're going to go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner to celebrate. :)

Aaand... I was going to end off on a history linkspam note, but it kept growing so it shall be a separate post, soon to follow. (Can you tell I'm procrastinating working on my papers? Bad beboots! D: )
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 I'm not sure if I mentioned it anywhere yet - I'm sure if I did I didn't talk about it in detail - but on Wednesday I got to be a part of the short film they're making at Fort Edmonton. <3 

For some information on the Capitol Theatre project, see here. Long story short: they're building a new theatre on 1920s street at the living history museum, right next to the Hotel Selkirk (which is a functioning hotel, by the way, with gorgeous rooms and delicious food). It's a super-exciting project! They'll be able to use it as a theatre space for dramatic productions, if they want, but during regular hours they'll be able to show 1920s silent films... plus some 1930s Talkies. :) (I put my vote in for "Freaks" and Bela Lugosi's "Dracula".)

They're also making an original film, entitled "Northern Light" or something like that, the plot of which essentially boils down to "10,000 years of Edmonton's history in 10 minutes". Cut for long-winded explanation of awesomeness, plus photographs. )


(Note: those things in the foreground aren't tombstones covered in snow. They are in fact ice walls built for the snowball fight competition being held there pretty soon. Can you think of a cooler setting for a snowball fight? :D )


Some of the beaded belts laid out on the table in Clerk's Quarters, ready to be chosen. Adele, the costumer, brought out our bag of "bling", as we call it: belts and chokers and so on so we could deck ourselves out. We laid them out quite nicely and several of us spent time photographing them. For more photographs of these belts (as well as more shots of the Fort in wintertime), see this album here

Aaand... that's all she wrote!
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 Okay guys, so some of you may be aware that I have a fascination with medical history, especially that of the nineteenth century, right? That's what I'm writing my honour's thesis on?

Well, a friend of mine just linked me to what looks like a fascinating website run by the British National Archives. Take a look!

In short, they're: "journals and diaries compiled by Royal Navy surgeons and assistant surgeons who served on HM ships, hospitals, naval brigades, shore parties and on emigrant and convict ships in the period 1793 to 1880." 

(This may also be of use if you're a fan of the Temeraire series and/or Master & Commander! The heroes do occasionally get injured!)

The photo gallery includes some super neat things, including:

-drawings illustrating the effects of scurvy on the lower limbs
-very nicely detailed coloured sketches of sea snakes, one of which reportedly killed a man on board
-in a different folder, a sexy picture of an actress named Mrs. Langtry from 1885

All available to you for the low, low price of FREE ON THE INTERWEBS. 


Edit: 

!!! In the "highlights" page, it says that some of the documents include: "A surgeon recounts the case of a 12 year old girl who vomited an 87 inch worm and in another journal a surgeon describes what is possibly the first recorded case of a hermaphrodite in the Royal Navy."
beboots: (Default)

Man, reading stuff from the 1830s has really improved my vocabulary. I've been reading things like the 1839 "Report on Indian Affairs" by J.B.Macaulay. (According to our prof., this will make us forty people join a group of about maybe forty other living people in the entire world who have ever actually bothered to read this 89 page document in full).


This man is Friederich Engels. He is one of the fathers of Communist thought. He is also from the 1800s. They knew how to grow glorious beards back then.

Macaulay uses words like "turpitude", which means "Inherent baseness or depravity; corruptness or evilness." Other recent searches of my dictionary.com application are "expostulate" ("to reason earnestly with someone against something that person intends to do or has done"), "solicitude" ("the state of being anxious or concerned; an attitude expressing excessive attentiveness"), "reify" ("to convert into or regard as a concrete thing") and "annus mirabilis" (a latin phrased used in English meaning "year of wonders; wonderful year").

Have you guys run across any neat-o words recently?

On another note, I've finally started to watch Due South recently. I know it's a classic television show... and is pretty much the only Canadian TV show that's famous in Europe and the rest of the world. And come on, who can blame them? Mounties are adorable and stalwart and all of those good things. 

beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 
Let me tell you of medicine in the American Civil War... and interesting things hiding about at the University of Alberta.

History is full of serious-looking men.

Follow this serious-looking soldier into the abyss... )

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