Delta Marsh History Initiative, Steering Committee Meeting

9:00 am, 18 April 2006
Home of Shirley Christianson, Portage la Prairie

Present:     Barry Bills, Shirley Christianson, Heidi den Haan, Gordon Goldsborough (sec), Cynthia Jordan, Myrna Mackey, Winnie Pauch, Glen Suggett

1.  Minutes of the last meeting (22 March 2006) were approved by consensus.

2.  Business

a)   Other interviews – den Haan will talk to Brenda Hales regarding an interview with Bob Hales. den Haan will try to contact the Bell family while they are visiting Delta this spring. The interview with Sterling Lyon went well – it provided a few good anecdotes regarding his meeting with Clark Gable during his boyhood, and his regret about the construction of the Portage Diversion. His son Peter and family dropped in during the interview. Peter’s wife Alex mentioned a hanging tree used by aboriginals, a fact which was subsequently corroborated by Pat Baderstecher (who offered to arrange a meeting with provincial heritage staff – Suggett to confirm – regarding aboriginal activities. Suggett noted in passing that the muskrat bones found in the Flee Island entrenchments may have been dropped there by Caucasian trappers in the 1920s or later, rather than during the 1860s. It was noted in passing that the Dominion Land Survey (DLS) maps show the locations of shacks in the Flee Island area in the 1870s.

b)  Raffle – Goldsborough will print and number 1000 tickets.

c)   Progress report – Suggett has transcribed two of the six Ward recordings. There are many other tapes to transcribe and it is laborious work. Is there a service which can do this, or could we hire someone? A couple of local students were identified as possibilities; Christianson will find their phone numbers and pass on to Suggett to determine, if they were available, what they would charge. Meanwhile, Suggett is trying to work out the Bell family tree via den Haan (who may obtain a copy at the Delta Waterfowl Station). He has not yet arranged an interview with Shirley Blanchard. It was noted that agricultural combines were first used in the Delta area circa 1942 but this did not gibe with changes in the landscape that started around 1960. Maybe there are other causes, such as changes in crop varieties or types? Arden Christianson wrote about John Deere and farming history. Suggett will borrow it.

d)  Highway 26 log roadhouse – It was suggested that Marvin Hunt, who is helping with the Poplar Point history book project, may be an informant on its origins. There is no interest in Portage la Prairie for its conservation. There is an older log house in Portage circa 1850s, intact, which warrants conservation. The transaction for the building at Poplar Point is in flux. Barry Christianson may be able to find out more, and will let Goldsborough know at the upcoming Friends of the Field Station meeting on 29 April.

3.  Next meeting: The next meeting will be held at the home of Shirley Christianson (118 Wilkinson Crescent, Portage la Prairie) at 9:00 am on Tuesday, 23 May 2006.

4.  Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 AM.