Chief Smallboy: In Pursuit of Freedom
Chief Smallboy was from the Ermineskin Reserve near Hobbema, Alberta. Gravely concerned about the corrupting effects of White society on his people, Smallboy spent fifteen years planning and dreaming a solution. Then, in 1968, with Simon Omeasoo and Lazarus Roan, he led 140 members of his band to establish a traditional Native community on sacred Indian land in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Life in the "Smallboy Camp" required vision and courage. Camp members were asked to give up the trappings of modern society, including television, drugs, and alcohol; follow the Indian Way, adopting traditional rituals and traditional Indian medicine; and learn to speak Cree as well as English. To shape the desired traditional lifestyle, Smallboy drew heavily from his memory of living a nomadic existence in Alberta and Montana as a child, and from the oral history provided by several mentors.
By 1978 Smallboy had become an important influence on Native politics, a living oracle with whom Native leaders consulted. In recognition of his unique leadership, Smallboy was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1980.
In writing Chief Smallboy: The Pursuit of Freedom, author Gary Botting followed Smallboy's example of relying on the vibrant and highly accurate Cree oral tradition for story details. Thus, he presents a fascinating account that approximates the way Chief Smallboy viewed himself and his family history, meticulously corroborated by written records and through other sources.
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i remember when we moved to Kootney Plains, we lived in teepee and tents. Reading this book brought back wonderful memories. My matenal grandmother was Maggie Buffalo (nee; Smallboy) Chief's Smallboy's sister. I could just vision the lands that was mentioned and i could smell the fresh mountain air.......
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