Item 2008. - Mary John

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Mary John

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  • Sound recording

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  • Aug. 1987 (Creation)

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Physical description

1 audiocassette (59 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: Tape recording is an interview between Bridget and Mary John in which Bridget initially asks Mary John about events after the inquest into Coreen Thomas’s death. Bridget notes also that she wants to provide an update on Mary John’s life 10 years after the inquest.

Side 1
00’05” Bridget asks Mary John about her role in the Coreen Thomas inquest. Mary thinks that she discovered Coreen’s death due to the ringing of the church bells [to announce a death]. She tries to recall the series of events leading up to her time being involved in getting an inquest. Recalls Sophie Thomas’ desire to have an inquest into her death

6’00” -10’00” She recalls that the [Indian] Homemakers Association became involved in attempting to get an inquest. She says ‘she was just tagging along with it …I was not a fighter” Bridget notes that Harry Rankin stayed at Helen’s house when he represented the Homemakers Association at the inquest. Bridget recalls the ‘marvellous’ dinner that was put on for them at the time of the inquest by Mary John and Helen. Mary John notes it was at the invitation of the Homemakers Association for the group to come to her house.

10’:00”-14’00” Bridget and Mary talk about follow-up to the inquest and Coreen’s family.

14’50”- 25’00” Mary talks about her involvement as well as others in the creation of the Elders Society after the death of Mary’s son due to drowning in 1978. The Society had workshops in an effort to revive their culture with the hope of having the younger generations take pride in their culture. One of the activities was the building of the Potlatch House in 1980 where they did traditional activities including tanning of hides.Talks about acquiring the land to build the potlatch house and having the Chief take care of getting the land from BCR; the Society cleared the land twice over to set up the house. Mary explains that the Society acquired funding of $93,000.00 from ARDA [?] to clear the land from the logs and build the house.

26’00”-30’00” Mary talks about a new project that the Society has to build 10 rental tourist cabins as a business for the youth to operate. Bridget suggests it could be similar to that at K’san. Mary also explains that there is a cook-house at the Potlatch House as well and that it has been used for community events, weddings, dinners, organizational events also.

Tape stops momentarily and starts again

30’05”- 36’00” Mary talks about the drowning of her son and finding of his body in 1978 as well as other tragedies that happened in the community which led to the creation of the Elders Society to assist the youth

36’30” -39’30” Mary talks about the joys of finally having her own house and the building of the house

39’32” -42’40” Mary talks about the organizations that she is involved in now. She talks about a film made in the community about social workers coming in the community to work with Elders to care for issues related to youth. She notes that ‘that’s when the ice broke’ and it made a difference.

43’00” She talks about a dinner that she holds every year for the police officers to thank them for the service they do for society

43’30” Talks about fishing at Fraser Lake

44’00” -46’00” Mary talks about her work now at her house to teach the youth about their culture: making of baskets, moccasins, tanning of hides

End of side 1

Side 2
46’30”-48’00” Mary continues to talk about the activities that she does with native youth to educate them about their culture

48’50” Bridget asks about whether the youth are involved in tree-planting and asks another woman in the room (Bernice?)

50’00” – 56’00” Bridget asks what her three wishes are for her people: better lives; more education for the young people to have better jobs; they need to get out to the white world and not be so isolated; she refers to when she worked in ‘the white world’ She talks about the isolation of the reserve and yet the protection that it offers to the people as well. Bridget and Mary talk about the reserve offering a way to protect the native culture. Bridget asks why it is important to protect their culture. Mary notes their culture is so important; she notes that other cultures like Japan and China haven’t lost their culture so why should the natives.

56’05” Mary notes that none of the grandchildren speak Carrier and the need to protect their culture and language when being surrounded by a white community. Refers to her grandson Fabian who is in the room

57’00” Bridget recalls a Fort St. James woman who tried to keep native kids out of white schools. She wanted them to be kept on the reserve so that they didn’t lose their culture. She talks about the fight by many to get their native status back – those whose one parent is not native

58’00” Mary talks about her worries for the young native people in the community who fear they have no future and who have no employment or education.

End of tape

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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