by Michael Ross
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978-1-897126-28-8 | 2008 May | 240 Pages
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Peigan Elders Joe and Josephine Crowshoe belonged to a generation still bright with the Traditional Knowledge and deep memories of their grandparents. They lived under a paternalistic government system that denied them their language, culture, and religion. They reclaimed their heritage and shared it with the larger community receiving honours for their work and lifetime commitment as articulate representatives of Peigan stories, spirituality, and ceremonial practices.
Weaving interviews together with archival photographs and documentation, interviewer Michael Ross tracks not only the life history of Joe and Josephine Crowshoe but also records stories of their culture. Weasel Tail opens a window onto a world and people who form a vital part of Alberta's history … and future.
“Crowshoe's stories of history, humanity, and humility offer guidance not just to youth as we Albertans step blithely into the coming years, enjoying unprecedented material wealth, but also disconnecting from each other. The unpretentious record of a ceremonialist's way of life could be an epitaph, pointing out places where we went wrong.... Offered without intrusion from author Michael Ross, Weasel Tail is a true telling of the Old Man's—as Crowshoe was affectionately known—amazing life.”
~ Legacy Magazine
“A a wealth of personal history and Blackfoot cultural knowledge ... a multi-layered approach of telling Indigenous history.”
~ Canadian Literature
Back in the museum yesterday. In the basement.…The Old Man sat cross legged on the floor and had [them] sit next to him as if they were in a tipi. He painted their faces.…They were being recognized and brought back into the fold. He dabbed his palm with five dots of paint from his paint bag. Red ochre spots on an old brown hand (he’s 81). He held his hand open to the Old Lady sitting next to him in her wheelchair, then he showed us. One for the sun, for the moon, for the evening star and for the morning star. He put the middle one on last. The middle is for the world, where we are now. Then he rubbed his hands to make his paint palette. His hands became the colour of his cowboy boots.
—Mike Ross personal journal entry for 13 January 1990
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