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Mary Belcourt Davis fonds
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Belcourt-Davis Oral History

Belcourt-Davis Interview, May 26, 2005 with Vera Miles, daughter of Mary Belcourt Davis, and Cindy Desrosiers, grand-daughter. Mary was the daughter of Betsy Calihoo, daughter of Louis Calihoo and Annie Donald who lived in the Flying Shot Lake Settlement in the early 1900s.

017 Cindy's research into the lives of Louis Calihoo and Annie Donald and the Iroquois-Metis group at Flying Shot Lake.

055 Betsy and Mary born in Lac St. Anne

073 Vera's membories of her grandmother, Betsy Calihoo when she spent summers with her at Sturgeon Lake.

088 Grandmother's home and furniture: log house, sparse furniture, hand-made quilts, oil lamps.

110 Grandmother's clothing: made all her own, dark clothing, black coat, straw hat, black beads and prayer book, mocassins.

144 Part religion played in her life: Sturgeon Lake Church, prayed every day in Cree.

159 Level of education/occupation: couldn't read or write, very little money--lived on relief, made mocassins. Son Frank worked for the mission.

180 Foods she prepared: dried meat, boiled fish and potatoes, porridge and bannock.

200 Lived across from the Hudson's Bay Store at Sturgeon Lake.

202 Sturgeon Lake Community: store, school, bus orders.

223 Dorm at Sturgeon Lake Mission where Vera would sometimes sleep over. Grandmother wanted her to learn the same things as the girls in the dorm; curling hair with sardine can lids, personal hygiene pads made of flannelette.

270 Cindy's stories about Great-grandmother. Grandmother (Mary Belcourt-Davis) didn't talk about her family. When she spoke Cree with a friend told the grand-children she was speaking French. Saved a box of photographs but never showed them to anyone.

290 Grandmother's practices in dealing with sickness: Mustard plasters.

313 Mary Belcourt's childhood--in Grande Prairie, no education, very unhappy but loved her mom.

342 Mary lived with her children till she died, told them it was better that no-one knew they had "indian" blood. Now the children and grandchildren are proud to have native blood.

390 Mary's teenage years: better years as a teenager, friends, boyfriends, dances. Talks about Liz LeClerc, Mac & Jim Ferguson, Jean McPherson.

420 married Tom Davis in 1930, moved to Edmonton in the late 30s where girls were put into the O'Connell Institute and Ira went to St. Mary's Boys Home. Mary was pregnant with Norman at the time, worked at a gas company.

465 Father went to war--gone 6 years. Family lived on the army pay in Edmonton near the downtown core.

495 Mary passed away in 1972.

548 Mary preserved the photos. Originally they were Betsy's, sent to Mary on her death. Kept in the steamer trunk with her moccasin kit. Realized their importance but didn't want to talk about it.

587 End of tape.

Florence Ferguson

Florence Ferguson, daughter of St. Pierre and Philomene Ferguson, was the younger sister of Henry, Jim and Malcolm. She later became Florence Gwin.

Jim Ferguson Family

Photo of Henry and Marion Ferguson family taken at their home in Rycroft before he left to serve in World War II. Back row, Henry and Marion Ferguson; middle, Gordon, Eleanor and Terry; front, Herb.

Joe Gladue

Joe Gladue, son of Betsy Callihoo, died of tuberculosis at about the age of five.

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