There’s a new book about women in aviation in this country and it comes to you from Elizabeth (Liz) Muir. I was happy to write the foreword to Canadian Women in the Sky: 100 Years of Flight, her exploration and celebration of some of the fantastic women involved in flight in Canada. It is an enjoyable read with lots of great photos. Anything we can do to increase knowledge about these feisty pioneers and inspire the next generation of fly-girls is fine by me!
Here’s a taste from my foreword:
I remember reading once that a plane cannot tell if its pilot is a man or a woman. I was profoundly struck by it. Of course, I thought to myself, it’s so obvious. But for most of our history with aviation, women were told their place was not in the cockpit or the flight deck, or anywhere near an airplane – except, perhaps, as a “stewardess”, as flight attendants were called back then.
Elizabeth Muir shows through the stories in this book that though they were discouraged from it, women wanted desperately to work in aviation from its earliest days. Through determination, pluck, and training, women like Katherine Stinson, Elsie MacGill, Vi Milstead Warren, Felicity McKendry, Roberta Bondar, Maryse Carmichael and others that you will meet in the pages of this book, accomplished amazing things and reached their dreams. They flew the first flying contraptions that were just a collection of struts and wires all the way through to bush planes, four-engine military bombers, waterbombers, and helicopters. They designed and built warplanes and trainers. They went into the skies and into space.
And here’s a link to the Q&A I just did with Liz for the Dundurn site. It was great to learn more about what brought Liz to the project, what surprised her the most about women in aviation, and the one myth she keeps hearing from audiences!
This Wednesday at 4:40pm on CBC Radio Active, I chat with Lan Chan-Marples about the Chinese community past and present in Edmonton. I’ll be sure to post the link to the SoundCloud home of the interview as soon as it’s ready.
In the meantime, here are a few links:
- Chinatown & Little Italy Business Association
- Edmonton Maps Heritage – Chinese Community
- Chinese Canadian Heritage Fund: Edmonton Chinatowns 1900-2013
The contributors are (in no particular order):
- Carleigh Baker (Vancouver)
- Joanna Streetly (Tofino)
- Erika Luckert (Edmonton/New York City)
- Donna Kane (Dawson Creek)
- Kamala Todd (Vancouver/Sunshine Coast)
- Zacharias Kunuk (Igloolik)
- Steven Cooper with Twyla Campbell (Sherwood Park, AB)
- Katherin Edwards (Kamloops)
- Carol Shaben (Vancouver)
- Katherine Palmer Gordon (Gabriola Island)
- Rhonda Kronyk (Edmonton)
- Emma LaRocque (Winnipeg)
- Lorri Neilsen Glenn (Halifax)
- Carissa Halton (Edmonton)
- Antoine Mountain (Toronto and NWT)
In an afterword that is essentially a candid converstaion between Chief Justice Murray Sinclair and renowned CBC radio host Shelagh Rogers, Sinclair shares his thoughts just as he wraps up the executive summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He says one of the most common statements the commission heard was: “I didn’t know any of this, and I acknowledge that things are not where they should be, and that we can do better. But what can we do? What should we do?” This collection is a response to what we can do.
The project was inspired in part by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission but also by Edmonton’s Year of Reconciliation and the Idle No More movement. Metcalfe-Chenail is convinced that Canadians want an open dialogue that encourages everyone to begin the important work of reconciliation in Canada, and maintain the conversation long after the buzz of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report has faded.
I was lucky to steal a few moments with Ana Laura Pachulo at her home this weekend to discuss the Latin American community in Edmonton.
You can hear my column – and parts of my chat with her – this Wednesday at 4:40pm on CBC Radio Active. The column will be uploaded to SoundCloud shortly afterward as well. In the meantime, a few links to keep you busy:
- Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton
- Edmonton Hispanic Heritage Society
- Edmonton Latin Festival
- Chilean Canadian Cultural Society
- “Chile 40 Years After the Coup“
- Brief overviews of El Salvador and Argentina
I appreciate how much support and interest there has been in Edmonton and across the province around this research. In the wake of the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Executive Summary, I think many of us are looking in our own backyards for opportunities to bring reconciliation home.
#MyReconciliationIncludes what Justice Murray Sinclair and the other commissioners outline in that report: truth-telling around the complicated, enmeshed histories of our communities and country is critical to our national well-being. And to move forward, we need to understand and reconcile our different experiences of this place we call Canada. We need to comprehend the government laws and policies, as well as systemic racism in Canadian society, that has led to present-day inequities.
Here is a round up of some of the news stories that have appeared online, in print, and on TV, if you’d like to see how both mainstream and Indigenous media are shedding light on the Camsell’s history and legacy. Thank you to everyone who has been contributing to this work or following it. Miigwetch. Mahsi Cho. Qujannamiik. Hiy Hiy.