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Honorary Secretary's Report, Annual Meeting

by Edith Steenson

MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 24, 1967-68 season

MHS Transactions were originally published by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make online versions available as a free, public service. As an historical document, Transactions may contain language that is no longer in common use and which may offend some readers. They should not be construed to represent the views of today’s Manitoba Historical Society.

This online version was prepared using Optical Character Recognition software so that spelling and punctuation errors may have occurred inadvertently. If you find any such errors, please inform us, indicating the document name and error.

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Our annual meeting tonight is the 8th meeting of our 1967-68 year and we have had a very busy active year in our Society. We also held our anniversary dinner meeting in January.

In August, 1967, 75 members of the Society took a very enjoyable Centennial trip to Churchill, and our sincere thanks to Mrs. McGill and Mr. Hall, whose hard work made it so successful.

Our first general meeting in September was our Field Trip, when 125 members enjoyed a paddleboat cruise on our famous Red River. We had as guests 49 members of the Red River Valley Historical Society, who came from North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. Our Red River is the highway our hardy pioneers used when they came here to settle. The Paddlewheel Queen took us from the Redwood dock up to "The Forks," the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, where LaVerendrye ordered Fort Rouge to be built on the north-west bank in 1738. Nearby the Nor'westers built Fort Gibraltar in 1807, but it was destroyed in 1816 by Hudson's Bay men. In 1822 this fort was rebuilt and called Fort Garry. Across the river we could see the "turrets twain" of St. Boniface Cathedral. Turning north again, we passed Point Douglas, St. John's, Kildonan and Middlechurch, and were told the history of these pioneer settlements by our own Anne Henderson, a descendant of the Selkirk Settlers. We disembarked at the lovely old stone church, St. Andrew's-on-the-Red, an Anglican church completed in 1849. We were welcomed by the rector, Rev. Cawley, who told us the history of the church and the need to repair the building, so that future generations may see and worship on this historic spot. In the evening, at our banquet in the Kildonan Park Pavilion, Professor Pentland gave a paper on "Recent Developments in Economic History - Some Implications for Local and Regional History."

In October Mrs. Grace Maclnnis, M.P. Vancouver-Kingsway, spoke to us on her father J. S. Woodsworth, Personal Recollections.

In November, at the University College, we heard Mr. Hartwell Bowsfield, our former Archivist, and a panel discuss American-Canadian Relations.

On January 11th at our Anniversary Dinner our guest speaker was the Hon. Duff Roblin, whose subject was Confederation in Perspective.

In February Mr. Norman Russell showed slides with his talk on "Sliding Backwards - An Illustrated Review of the Architectural Historical Survey 1966-67."

In March Professor Hiram Drache of Moorhead, Minnesota, gave a paper on Bonanza Farming in the Red River Valley.

In April Professor Margaret Stobie gave her Progress Report on a Study of the Bungi Dialect, a mixture of Scottish and Cree, with interesting tapes from Scotland and some of our own Indian people.

Our Council members held three meetings this year, one taking place in Brandon in February, this devoted mainly to the subject of curriculum. It is believed that this was the first Council meeting in the Society's history held outside of Winnipeg. In the evening we had a public meeting and people from this area enjoyed slides of historical buildings in areas around Brandon, presented by Mr. Russell.

The Executive have held twelve meetings, two of which were special meetings dealing with curriculum. The Executive also spent a weekend at Pine Falls discussing future plans for the Society. A new constitution was agreed upon, presented to Council and approved. This will be presented to the members for approval in the near future.

Your Treasurer has prepared a budget for 1968-69 and a deficit is forecast. Council approved this budget and it is presented for your approval.

Council approved the hiring of an Executive Director for our Society and the Executive hopes to make an appointment soon.

Membership in our Society as of today is 537, this includes 55 Contributing members, 12 Life members and 6 Honorary members. Donors number 90, 44 of whom are also members of the Society.

A questionnaire was sent to all members earlier this year and there was an excellent response. With this profile of our membership your Executive feels our Society should make greater efforts to attract (1) younger people; (2) professional people: (3) ethnic groups; (4) more members from rural areas.

Our donations drive also increased this year and the Committee thanks our members for their generous response for financial support to our Society. The capable members of this committee deserve a warm vote of appreciation for their efforts.

Our Government still has not appointed an Historic Sites Board, nor has it released the Lamb Report, though repeatedly requested to do so by your Executive. Our Centennial committee reported progress on their program for our province's Centennial in 1970. We have not been given any information as to our Government's plans for 1970 as yet.

Our Society has taken out an option on Riel House and is exploring suggestions on how to raise the necessary funds to purchase this property, so that it can be turned over to the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board for a museum.

The Society is moving from its present office in the Legislative Building to the temporary quarters of the Museum of Man and Nature, 147 James Avenue. When the new museum is completed, the Society will take up permanent quarters there.

The Library Committee reported that our Society's books in the Legislative Building are being sorted and catalogued.

The Manitoba Pageant has a new editor and a new cover. Mr. Frank Hall took over from Mr. Bowsfield, who has moved to Toronto. The Transactions for 1966-67 have been sent to all members.

Ross House will open June 1st. The Council has raised the adult admission price from 25¢ to 35¢, while leaving student prices as they were.

The Local History Committee sent out questionnaires to weekly newspapers in March and have had some replies. Local History publications in 1967 were submitted by Killarney, Russell, Kelwood and Arden. Two small booklets were received from Neepawa and one from Clarkleigh. Gilbert Plains and Killarney have Local History Societies.

Miss Anne Henderson hopes to turn over a complete copy of Lord Selkirk families by this fall, including in it Mr. Pruden's information on his own and other Hudson's Bay families.

The Architectural-Historical Survey Committee reported more progress in their surveys in Manitoba, and it would appear that Manitoba is a leader in this type of project. The slides have been shown three times in the past year and were very warmly received. Last year 2 students from the Faculty of Architecture covered over 7,500 square miles of our province and there are 1,700 colored slides and 1,700 black and white prints on file. The committee hopes that the increased grants given last year will be made available again this year, so that the 2 students selected can complete the rural survey. Plans to do the Metro area is the project for 1969.

There was an excellent response to our Margaret McWilliams Awards program this year, and the winners will be announced and medals presented at our Annual dinner following this meeting.

On the matter of Curriculum, our President and 1st Vice President submitted a brief to the Advisory Board in October 1967. The Past President had a report published in the Manitoba Teachers' Bulletin in December 196-1 which produced more support for our Society. On January 31st a panel discussion was held between representatives from the Department of Education and our Society. At the Brandon Council meeting the Executive was instructed to prepare a campaign to acquaint the public on the proposed changes in the history courses scheduled to be started in September 1968. On April 16th the Past President spoke on CJOB's John Harvard show and received wide response supporting our stand. Several women's groups have indicated their support as well. Our children need a greater knowledge of our country's history, not a diluted one, and all of you who do support our views are strongly urged to do your part to see that Canadian history is retained in our Junior High Schools.

Our President, Mr. Joe Martin, is leaving us to continue his work in Toronto. We are sorry to lose him, but wish him, his wife Sally and their family every happiness in their new home. We would like to express our deep appreciation to him for all the work he has done for the Society.

Page revised: 22 May 2010

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