06 February 2012

I found a small book written by my essay's protagonist, Scottish mining engineer Ronald Campbell Campbell-Johnston squashed in the end of a library shelf. It was protected by a cardboard sleeve, but inside the cover had fallen off. There is a nicer copy in special collections; I can't believe they are letting me take out of the library this gem from May of 1923. Ronald has two Campbells in his name because an early relative was a feminist and wanted her Campbell represented. Ronald was a sort of feminist too, traveling into the bush with his wife, whom he credits with collecting the stories he has written. The emphases fall differently from the stories collected by United minister John Christie Goodfellow and published for the Art, Historical, and Scientific Association as a fundraising venture ($50 cents for each forty paged booklet). Sometimes there are new stories, such as those about the mother of raven, and Ronald gets the family significance of the poles right, despite some nostalgic new age spirituality making an appearance. Goodfellow's account was made standard because it became part of an admittedly haphazard ethnography by Marius Barbeau.

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