||December 24, 2009
Feedback in Perspective
All of my Heritage Perspective articles are online for
reference and I get a lot of interesting letters, emails and phone calls because
of it. I am not able to answer all the requests for a variety of reasons. Some I
do because they catch my interest, or are easily answered and a couple follow
You can access 350 articles going back to the first
Community Voices paper in April 2000. For the index go to
www.pastforward.ca/perspectives For a more direct route Goggle Heritage
Perspectives and add key word(s) and you will usually find if I have written
anything relative to your interest. Photos are included.
Remembrance Day 2009
I wrote about Remembrance Day in Powassan this year this
year. The Nugget wrote about North Bay’s ceremony and made reference to the
Silver Cross Mother of the Year Beatrice Whiteduck. I got an email from
Beartices granddaughter Judi Thorkelson who lives in Powassan who told me more
I had made reference to Lawrence Whiteduck, Beatrices husband in an article
where I mentioned aboriginal soldiers and Joseph Boyden’s remarkable book Three
Day Road which was about native soldiers. Judi sent me material on the Whiteduck
family and included a booklet she wrote on Beatrice , now 97 years old. I met
with Judi and got more details. Judi is an articulate and caring family member.
Judi’s book is called KOKMISS which is Ojibway for grandmother. It tells the
story of Beatrice’s marriage at age 16 to Lawrence Whiteduck, a native trapper
from Golden Lake and how they moved to Lake Talon for a period. They lived in a
log cabin and travelled by dogsled. Once the children began to arrive they moved
to North Bay where eventually 10 children were born. The book is a brief but
touching story of early family life often laced with poverty and prejudice. A
friend Steven Liberty illustrated the book. It was written in 1988 for
Beatrice’s 75th birthday and reproduced in 2009.
Drawing from Judi Thorkelson book Kokmiss about
Judi told me much more about Beatrice and Lawrence.
Lawrence, even though he was getting on in years became a soldier, went overseas
and died in August 1944 in France. Beatrice never remarried . Her sewing and
related work helped keep food on the table.
On November 11 at Memorial Gardens Beatrice accompanied by her daughter Theresa
and her brother Percy Faubert placed a wreath and was recognized as the Silver
Cross Mother for 2009. Beatrice’s picture appeared on the front page of the
Nugget. The whole event was a remarkable recognition of a caring and still
capable native woman. The Nugget noted that't was a poignant and dignified
ceremony led by Beatrice Whiteduck representing Silver Cross Mothers of CFB
North Bay” Lawrence’s name is on the “Wall of Fame” near the North Bay Legion.
Beatrice’s legacy, which she lived for 65 years without Lawrence, includes 9
children, 43 grandchildren, 72 great grandchildren and 17 great great
grandchildren for a total of 141 descendants to date. Congratulations and best
wishes to Beatrice and her family.
Mattawa’s remarkable painter Gordon Dufoe, who I have
written about several times, did some paintings in Muskoka 65 years ago that no
one knew about until I got a phone call from Colorado recently. The caller was
Ann Milton the daughter of Dr. D.L. Whittemore, a Canadian doctor who practised
in New York and had a summer property in Muskoka. Dr. Whittemore’s wife was a
painter and a collector and encouraged Gordon Dufoe to visit on several
occasions during which many Dufoe paintings were purchased. Ann was a teenager
and remembered his work and was alerted to my articles on line and wanted
Some of the recently discovered Gordon Dufoe paintings.
She had a typewritten copy of Gordon Dufoe’s book Canadian
Animals I Have Known that was eventually published and is still available. The
draft was sent to Ann Milton by Leonard Wookey a former Callander Mayor
(1947-1954) who was married to a Whittemore aunt. I sent Ann 3 copies of the
book, plus some other material and she sent me photos of a dozen Dufoe paintings
she has (see photos). Don Dafoe, Gordon’s son, living in North Bay helped with
the exchange and the Dufoe family was pleased.
The Clermont Duval Gallery in Mattawa was interested in the story because they
regularly sell Dufoe paintings and in fact had 4 on hand when I visited
recently. The prices, although reasonable, are many times more than Gordon ever
dreamed of and are still a pleasure to see. None of this would have happened
without the internet
Heritage Perspective Home Page