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What is a Maverick?

by Christine L Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

PC 1649

New Settlers, Their First House, Western Canada

Postcards from the Past, PC 1649

For Calgary’s first “One Book One Calgary” event we have selected the book Mavericks: an Incorrigible History of Alberta by Aritha Van Herk. We are planning a plethora of programs relating to the themes of the book, among them my own offering, “Maverick Hunters” in which I will try to assist family historians who are tracing their own “maverick”. This exercise has led me to ask myself what exactly do I mean by maverick? What qualities make up “maverick-osity”?

Alberta has long been perceived as a place where the maverick can flourish. Take, for example, this quotation from Irene Parlby:

I do not think I should be very wide of the mark, if I said that the older parts of Canada have for years regarded Alberta as a rather peculiar place, favorable to the breeding of extreme radicals, and peculiar political phenomena, and let it go at that. One wonders if it ever occurs to them that there are always causes and conditions which breed these things.

From the earliest settlement, the place that would become Alberta was a challenging landscape. Winters could be harsh and summer hot and dry. To even contemplate coming here, one had to have a sense of adventure and an ability to look past the hardships and see the possibilities in the future. This is the spirit we still embrace. Albertans still work hard, still ride the booms and busts that are so characteristics of our economy and still look forward to the future and the possibilities it holds. So maybe this is what we need to keep in mind as we populate our family trees with our black sheep, our mavericks, maybe even our heroes. We can look in the places we always look but then we need to look in the places we haven’t thought of yet. That’s what I’m hoping to help you with when I present “Maverick Hunters.” If you’re interested, have a look at our program guide, paper or online at our registration site A hint of what I’ve learned? Once we’ve fought our battles we escape to the milder climes beyond the Rockies Wink


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