Tuesday, November 27, 2018

This month at Canada's History

The highlight of the January 2019 Canada's History, now reaching subscribers and magazine outlets, is Ernie Bies' memoir/essay on  Benjamin Chee Chee, a prodigiously talented and productive Ojibway artist who ended his own life in 1977 at the age of just 32 after being arrested for a disturbance in Ottawa. It is much the best and most informative thing I have ever seen about Chee Chee, and it is beautifully illustrated.

The issue also features a terrific reproduction and note on Peter Clapham Sheppard, an artist recently rediscovered in Tom Smart's study Peter Clapham Sheppard: His Life and Work and a recent art auction in Toronto.

On the non art-history side, Dean Jobb offers a long essay on Nova Scotia privateers and particularly Captain Joseph Barss of Liverpool, Nova Scotia.  It's titled "Pirates for Hire" -- probably it's hopeless  to insist that calling privateers "pirates" is like calling militias "brigands."

The text makes clear that Jobb knows the difference, but Canada's History gets a dramatic cover which will surely move copies at retail, and who am I to complain about that? Jobb also succumbs to the old notion that Nova Scotia did not really exist before Halifax was founded in 1749, or he might have noted the Mi'kmaq and Ile Royale privateers of earlier wars. But it's a lively and well-researched piece.

My own column seems to be about apples but is really a complaint about the idea that history is important -- but "for kids."

If you subscribed like you oughta, you'd know this. And much else.

Image Credit:  Dancing Goose by Benjamin Chee Chee via Whetung Ojibway Centre

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