8 May 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

Last Friday I gave a talk to Bridlington Library Writers. They were an appreciative group and I hope I left them enthused to study their own writing, and the writing of others, from a slightly different angle.

During the tea break a gentleman quietly pushed a tome towards me. He'd been present at a previous talk I'd given and knew of my interest in Native American historical life-styles. The book was trade paperback size, a good 1.5 inches thick, and sported a beige rough cardboard cover with a rather crude depiction of an “Indian” in a canoe in white-water. Handbook of Indians of Canada. The print, in two columns, is arranged on 57 lines per page, which will give an idea of the print size – it looks like 8pt or 9pt tops. As can be imagined, it hardly seems as if it has been opened. I accepted it with what I hope was good grace.

Yesterday I opened it, magnifying glass in hand. It’s not a handbook, it’s an encyclopaedia. The edition might date back to only 1971, but the information it contains is part of a work started in …1873… and only completed in 1910. The map attached to the back cover mentions Treaties dating from 1850. A random opening of pages shows mention of meetings at Montreal in 1778, mention of the Kiowa, Dakota, Sauk & Fox, which rather blurs the distinction of …Indians of Canada.

Where the gentleman got it from, he didn’t say, but I now need to hunt him down to thank him properly. What can I say? Wow! What a resource.

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