GABRIEL DUMONT AND JERRY POTTS: CANADIAN PLAINSMEN
Volume 11 Number 4.
Gabriel Dumont and Jerry Potts were both important historical figures in the development of western Canada in the mid to late 1800s. Both are presented as Canadian heroes, men of outstanding bravery and daring. Beyond these attributes, there is little reason to link them together in one volume. Dumont's story is bound up with that of the French/Indian Metis of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Riel Rebellion, and thei% struggle for recognition by the Canadian government. Jerry Potts worked with the Northwest Mounted Police to rid southern Alberta of the whiskey traders.
Gabriel Dumont is portrayed with greater depth and insight. His early life as a member of a Metis band, living with the Indians, prepares the reader for his stand during the Kiel rebellion. His later life as an attraction in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was a natural disappointment to him. He eventually returned to his beloved land of Batoche, Saskatchewan after his involvement in the rebellion and was pardoned.
By comparison Potts' story is flat and one-sided; his skills are accurately demonstrated, but there is no insight into the man.
Many of the incidents of the lives of both men add little to an understanding of them or the times. The text includes sensational war descriptions, in which the savagery of the Indian is overemphasized.
Likewise, certain of the historical photographs that accompany the text have little to do with the development of the stories of either plainsman. For example, there is a photograph of Annie Oakley as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, but nowhere in the text is she even alluded to.
Elaine Atwood, St. Albert, AB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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