Item 2008. - Mary John [Tape] 9 & 10

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Mary John [Tape] 9 & 10

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  • Sound recording

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  • [1986 or 1987] (Creation)

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Physical description

1 audiocassette (33 min.)

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Name of creator

(1923 - 1999)

Scope and content

Audio recording consists of an interview conducted by Bridget Moran with Mary John.

Audiocassette Summary

Context: Recording is the continuation of earlier sessions by Bridget and Mary John talking about her life – appears to continue on from the other tape sessions numbered to #8 [Accession # 2008.]

Side 1: “Mary John #9”
0’05” Bridget interviews Mary John and asks about Mary John’s grandmother who lived at the reserve at Fort George. Mary notes that her grandmother was sent back to Fort George and then to Stoney Creek after husband died. Her Grandmother remarried; she died in the 1950s. Mary talks about her grandmother’s marriage with Za (Jean) Paul – that was not an arranged marriage; her Grandmother “she had a hard life”

4’00” – 7’30” Mary Johns’ mother married Johnny Paul – not arranged; Mary notes that she was born in Fort George. Mary lived with her Grandmother Ann on reserve in Fort George. Mary then talks about her sister Bella – who married Mike Ketlo (sp?) and their children. She died of tuberculosis in the 1950s.

7’40” Bridget asks about the Mission School in Fort St. James – near the church “that is on Mission land” Which is where the village originally started. They talk about the church’s history briefly.

9’00”-14’00” Bridget asks Mary about her schooling at Lejac – Mary says they had reading, writing, arithmetic, penmanship and history. There was no science taught. Mary then describes the routine at Lejac. Doing chores and then breakfast at about 7:30 and then did cleaning chores in the dormitories. Then they attended their classes; then lunch, then played outside and then came back for sewing or embroidery, knitting and then back in classes until 4:00pm. Mary describes recreation – swimming, playing in the field, chores – pulling roots/stumps etc. Bridget talks about Joanne (Fiske?) thesis on the distinction between native boys and native girls’ activities and education at the residential school and that it enabled them to go to work in the hospitals and offices but that the farming education that was taught to the boys didn’t help them as there was no agriculture on the reserves. Mary notes she was ‘teachers pet’ as she had music lessons for singing. Mary notes she didn’t do anything in the kitchen but took mail to the post office and looking after the office for the Mother Superior. She feels she learned ‘the basics’ [but] then they ‘kicked you out at 16’

15’00” Bridget asks about the differences in disciplining methods of children – she notes that it is not part of Indian culture to spank children. She notes it is part of her husband’s sisters to discipline her children – not her or her husband’s duty

17’00” Mary talks about the residents at Stoney Creek who objected to school at Lejac because of harsh disciplinary methods used with their children

18’00” Mary talks briefly about the food at Lejac and speaks briefly to another unidentified woman [Sabrina?] in the room about food preparation [canning?]

19’50” Bridget asks about the Stoney Creek residents who wanted to have a school at the village in the 1950s and wanted their children to go to school there.

20’00” Mary speaks briefly about Father Coccola and that he did the negotiation about the move of the people from the reserve at Fort George to Shelley and about some compensation acquired by the residents. Bridget notes he ‘did not do a favour to the Indians’ – Mary notes that they were forced to leave ‘very illegal’

22’00” Mary speaks again about Father Coccola who could be ‘a very strict man’ but who took care of the people when they were sick and dying

23’00” Mary talks about another priest (unidentified) that she really liked who gave her a job c.1935 when she and her husband cleared land for Lejac and the priest treated them really well. She thinks he was from the Yukon as he had gold nuggets

25’00” Mary talks about her children going to Lejac in the 1950’s

26’00” Bridget talks about a social worker who came to Stoney Creek in c.1955 and Bridget was asked to come out by the Indian Agent to investigate what was the issue. This social worker was scared of being on the reserve; Mary thinks this woman had marital problems and drank a lot

28’00” Mary talks about the Day school operating c.1951 for a short time and the kids were bussed back and forth; other kids ‘orphans’ went to Lejac (lived there)

Tape is poor after this; noise with squeals and recording is faster

29’00” Mary talks about her children (Helen and the boys) not liking Lejac. She notes that one of the boys didn’t like it ‘but didn’t complain’ about it. She notes that ‘no one would talk about it’ “the whole village would be silent” when they left; and the children would be crying.

30’00”-33’00” Bridget asks Mary to discuss her wedding in more detail – Bridget notes that she already has on tape about the wedding night itself but asks for more information about the wedding day. Mary begins to talk about the wedding; there was a Mass, the guests and there was a band….

Tape is unintelligible after this; recording is broken up with interference and then there is no recording End of side 1

Side 2 “Mary John #10”
This side of the cassette has no recording

Notes area


Language of material

  • English

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Access copy available.

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No restrictions

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Personal or academic use of materials is welcomed under the standard fair use and educational use clauses of Canadian Copyright Law. Commercial use is, however, forbidden without the express permission of the copyright holder. For information on obtaining written permission from the copyright holder, please contact the Northern B.C. Archives and Special Collections.

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Part of the Bridget Moran fonds


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