Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HR6: Maps, Arrggghhhh!

I knew when I started on this journey 
that I would face frustrating obstacles.  
I am almost certain 
I'll be tearing my hair out 
when I try to research parliamentary records 
for the early 1960s.

Ditto for newspaper stories 
across Canada at the same time.  
Or Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  
Or the Indian residential school system.

"Qu'Appelle Indian Industrial School, Saskatchewan ca. 1885 
Parents of Indian children had to camp outside the gates
 of the residential schools in order to visit their children. 
This photograph appeared in the 1895 annual report of the Department of Indian Affairs."

But a map!!!
I have spent hours and hours
on the internet trying to find a detailed map
of the lands to the west of James Bay
that I could post on my blog.

I know it's a trackless maze of 
lake, bog, and rock;
but really, this is 2013!
We have Google Earth for Heaven's sake!

Now, I am a collector of maps!
Check this out!
I have a legal-sized, 
four drawer filing cabinet
stuffed to the gills with maps,
practically every map 
National Geographic has published 
in the last fifty years
in duplicate or triplicate or more!

My National Geographic Map Collection

Do you think that I could find a
detailed map of the wilderness 
to the west of James Bay?

I have better maps 
of the ocean floor,
the top of Mount Everest,
and the surface of the moon!

Maps Galore,
But Not What I'm Looking For!!!

A Boulder!  A Boulder on the Moon, No Less!
Taurus-Littrow Valley
Near Side of the Moon

As a matter of fact,
my best NG map for the area,
The Making of Canada:  Ontario
Washington D.C., June, 1996,
has a big paragraph in purple ink
slapped down on top of
Lansdowne House and Lake Attawapiskat
like they are of no account 
to anyone in the world!

I tell you!
I am reduced to one option:
I am going to have to draw my own map!

Now you have to know ~
I love maps!
I used to entertain myself drawing maps.

My third graders all had to draw, color, and label maps.
I called it CSAP practice!
(The Colorado Student Assessment Program)
If third graders could neatly color in 
blue for the ocean around Iceland,
then, for sure, they could neatly bubble in 
their answers on the CSAPs properly!

So look for my map in the not-too-distant future!

Meanwhile, I leave you with my favorite railroad song!

"Canadian Railroad Trilogy"
by Gordon Lightfoot

24 Hours Later:
Ah Ha!
Call me anything but "Not Persistent!"
I found a map, 
so you are saved from my rendering 
of the landscapes of my heart!
It shows Oba, Nakina, Fort Hope, Lansdowne House,
and Lake Attawapiskat!
It even shows the railway tracks!!

Success in the Wilderness!
National Geographic Society:  Canada
Washington D.C., November, 1985

And I found my misfiled NG 
The Red Planet of MARS map!
Which, sad to say, was published 
twelve years before the above map ~
with every bit as much information ~
and it's another planet!

No wonder the Canadian government
had such a difficult time 
taking care of the James Bay region Indians.
They probably couldn't find them!

To be continued...

Links to other northern posts:


  1. My gawd, woman, you have a lot of maps! I'm glad your internet searching paid off and you found the needle in the haystack! Looking forward to seeing more of your research.

    1. Hi Debra! Thanks for your comment! Yes, I do have a lot of maps ~ a fact my husband likes to point out to me! I went through the file drawers this morning ~ and that's where I actually found the bit of map I posted. Sometimes I just can't let something go! I can't think of anything else until I resolve what is bugging me. I hope that you are having a good day!

  2. Damn you are map happy
    Call you Miss Mappy haha
    That is really sad
    That Mars was mapped at some pad
    Before the poor bay
    Maybe the indians like being out of the way
    Hidden from sight
    Telling the man to go fly a kite

    1. Miss Mappy! Now that's funny!
      Hope your day is sunny!
      Another blizzard on the way.
      Hope Terry makes it home okay!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Oh, what a library!! I know it is not like a regular library, but it's still so cool! You could get lost in there!

  5. Hi Becky! I hope all is well with you! I used to share these maps with my third graders when I was teaching. Maps are really cool! Thanks for your kind comment!

  6. This is a fun read! I think your comment that James Bay is a maze of lake, bogs and rock should read... is a maze of bogs, bogs, bogs, bogs, bogs, bugs, bugs, bugs, bugs, lakes and rocks. Or something like that. I spent a summer years ago on Bathurst Island and was in Frobisher, Resolute with the National Museums of Canada. I will never forget that summer. Wide open country above the tree line most Canadians never know or see. Cheers - ME

  7. Hi Mark! You are absolutely right, Mark! When my family spent a summer at an Indian fish camp on Lac Suel, our Indian friends kept a patch of grass mowed to play croquet on. I could lie down on that grass and look up through a thick cloud of no-seeums!
    The variety of flying misery increased up to huge moose flies! How wonderful that you got to spend a summer in the north. I was supposed to go up to Baker Lake for a summer as a student geologist ~ until the client figured that M. L. MacBeath and M. E. Duncan were female. Rats! I got sent to Toronto instead. Hope all is well with you!

  8. Replies
    1. Hi GT! That's just the maps ~ you should see my Geographics! I have some National Geographics that go as far back as 1928, and a complete set going back at least 50 years. I'm trying to channel Australian warmth right now. It has been very cold here! I hope you are having a lovely day!

  9. Hahaha!
    I had a thing for maps too when I was in school!
    I am glad for you that you found what you were looking for!
    AND... I love you sense of humour!
    I enjoyed reading this!
    Heep well Fundy!

    1. Hi Noushka! It's good to see you back! I hope that you enjoyed your break, and I am certainly looking forward to seeing your birds and other wildlife. Thanks for your kind words about my humor! Most of the time my husband thinks I have no sense of humor at all! I'm glad that somebody gets me!

  10. Wow, you are one map-happy lady! What an incredible collection. I'm glad you found what you're looking for, but I must admit that I was looking forward to a map that you'd drawn!

    1. Hi Martha! I hope you are having a great day! I'm sure at some point I'll be drawing and posting a map or two. Why, oh why, did my family land in one of the few seemingly blank spots of the world!

  11. You have such a talent for pulling so many things together and making it all work! The picture of the parents camped outside the residential school was heart-breaking. I'm glad first nations people are gaining some ground politically.

    However the story of your map collection is just amazing, they are amazing! I was going to phone my brother who lived in Moose Factory for 30 years to get a map for you, but you found what you needed! Looking forward to the next post.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Francie! And how thoughtful of you to think of calling your brother ~ you are a sweetheart for sure! And I agree that picture of the Indian parents outside the residential school was heart-breaking. My hope is that the first nation people will soar! My post later today will be a picture or two I took this morning, but the next one will be on the north. Have an awesome day.

  12. I love doing research into old documents and maps. Granted, I've never done it on quite this scale but it really does seem so fascinating.

  13. Thanks for your kind comment, OE! I am having so much fun! Words like yours keep me going! Have a good one!

  14. Hi Louise,
    That's an amazing map collection... bit jealous!! I so could go through all of those, probably just as well I didn't start collecting maps, thinking about it!! Happy you found 'the' map. The Ottawa government library is stunning, can anyone visit? Will have to go next trip to Ottawa if so!

  15. Hi Ivan! I've never been in the Ottawa government library, but I'm sure that they must have visitors. I've been to the library of congress in Washington D.C. There you can go by the visitors' galleries and see it. To actually get into the main reading room or use the library, you have to be a researcher. When I went there, I got a research ID very quickly. My sister Bertie had her first book coming out, and because it was being published in the US, I just had to pull up the info on the library's computer and print it out! I wouldn't be surprised if they had the same setup in Ottawa. My next trip to Ottawa will definitely include a stop at the gov't library! Have a good one!

  16. And they, the Canadian Government, apparently still have a difficult time 'finding' them (the First Nations peoples)!!
    Louise, you are a RIOT! I so enjoy reading your posts. It is like sitting next to you in the same room and watching you freak out and scurry around doing this and that!! And in the end having a great account put together about your 'journey '.
    I understand your passion for maps, they 'lay things out' for us and give a great focus on the topic at hand. I have a bunch of these NG maps packed away and loved getting them with the NG magazine.
    Hope your weekend is going well and that there is hope of it warming up out there for you!!

    1. Oh man Louise ~~~ I just typed a lengthy response and it got gobbled up by Google....aaargh!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Hi Guys! I can't believe I didn't respond to these ~ I certainly read them. Maybe my comment got wiped out, and I didn't realize it. That happens to me a lot, Ron! Definitely aaargh!!! I basked in the glow of being a RIOT for hours! Usually I get called ADHD or manic. There's no appreciation in my home territory. I hope you both have had a great weekend! Begone flu bugs!

    3. Interesting indeed ~~ I have a moniker as well ADD! Hubster believes I am and as I retrace my LIFE(how heavy is that - not much really). I can list many times when ADD could have been the culprit. Oh well, I'm 63 now so it couldn't have totally crippled me.
      The flu bug still has a grip on me now affecting my dizziness! Not that I'm a Dizzy Blond or anything, but I can't go out in the car to drive anywhere. Oh well, Mr. Garden I have you in my sights now.

      Happy Monday!

    4. So sorry you're still feeling the effects of the effects of the flu, Ron!
      I think a little ADD/ADHD may be a good thing to have!
      Look at the two of us ~ we're great people!
      Good luck with your garden.
      My friend Kathi said to me today, "We're having a good winter this spring!" I came home from the grocery store at 10:40 this morning and unloaded the car in warm sunshine, blue skies, and short sleeves. It was windy and flurrying when I went out about 1:30 p.m. to get a massage from Kathi, and when I left for home again snow was dusting the ground. Now the ground is covered in snow, and it's more than flurries!
      Meanwhile I had no luck spotting the white muley that hangs out in Kathi's neighborhood. Rats!
      Feel better!

  17. Here we go again!

    I loved reading and scouring maps too as a child. My Mom had the Britannica Encyc. set and I used to open up any edition and look for a map. Then DRAW it! Bolivia for some reason was my favourite, I don't know why but it attracted me to it most times. I so loved doing this. Easily entertained I was.

    I just looked at your last photo entry and saw Marathon. Jim and I went through there in 1979 on our trek west. The Marathon Tragedy, presently ~~~ what a strange connection.

    The flu bug is still attacking my brain I guess!


    1. I still like to draw and color maps! The whole Boston Marathon tragedy is sad, sad, sad. You have to wonder what happens to people to make them do something like blow up bombs and kill innocent people.

  18. Hey Aunt Louise, there's quite a lot of mining interest up there. I know a geological map isn't necessarily what your looking for (and I guess you have one now) but did you ever try the Ontario or Canada geological survey web sights?


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.