Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Legends of Chief Mountain

View of Chief Mountain From Jenkins Ranche
 If you have ever been to our place, the far southwest corner of Alberta or Glacier Park in Montana – you have probably viewed Chief Mountain. It is not that there are not other mountains to see there – but Chief seems to kind of stand alone and his unique shape makes everyone who views him take notice.

As a child I awoke each morning to look out the kitchen window and say good morning to “Chief”. I remember well it was something that we always did – though I am not sure why because he never really looked a whole lot different that he did the day before. My aunt also had the same view out of her own kitchen window. I remember her always looking to greet Chief the same way we did at our own house. Seemed to me that good old “Chief” was just part of the family. So much so – that when we moved the house I live in now onto the place we all wandered around deciding where to put it – making sure I could see Chief Mountain out the window. Looking back – we should have paid more attention to which way the wind blows and maybe now I wouldn’t be constantly drifted in all winter !

As I was sorting through my photos the other night – it occurred to me that I take a lot of pictures of Chief. It got me thinking – “how did old Chief get its name ?”. Of course I grew up believing that it was because if you look at him from our place you can see the profile of an old Indian Chiefs face. However --- I have learned that especially in my family – you might want to double check on some of those story’s you grew up believing !

Diagram of Chiefs Profile ... if you can't see the image of an Indian Chiefs head
-- tilt your own head to the right and view him from the side !

Well --- turns out I couldn’t find anything about Chief Mountain being named so because of it’s resemblance to an Indian Chief – but I DID find some other interesting history about it !

- first noted on maps, published in England in 1795 or 1796, upon which it was called "King Mountain."

-Captain Meriwether Lewis is also believed to have seen the mountain on his trip up the Marias in 1806 and called it "Tower Mountain."

-There are two records of the origin of another name for this peak — "Kaiser Peak" — by which it was known for some time. Some say it was so-named by early German geographers, but the most authentic story comes from Eli Guardipee, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, who stated that it was so named for a "Bull-whacker" (oxen freighter) named Lee Kaiser, who accidently shot himself near the present town of Cardston, Alberta, in 1872. For him the creek where this happened was known as "Lee Creek," and the mountain at its headwaters was called "Kaiser Peak."

-There are many historic legends regarding this mountain, the most popular being that of the young Flathead Indian brave who spent several days upon the top of the peak searching for his "medicine vision," and using a bison skull for a pillow. Apparently you will still find a bison skull a top the mountain.

-The present name was taken from the Blackfeet Indian name "Old Chief," or "The Mountain-of-the-Chief," by which it was known to the Blackfeet, probably because of the above-mentioned legend. (Above facts listed on this website

Hmmmm ...... no mention of the mountain actually LOOKING like an Indian Chief .....

Chief Mountain with Spring Wildflowers

 However – I did manage to find this other legend that tells of a warrior husband and war chief who fell in love and married a woman whom he loved so much that he never left to fight again. Until one day he decided that they he had to go to battle one more time --- and when his fellow tribesmen returned with his dead body his wife was so distraught that she climbed Chief Mountain and threw herself and their young child off it’s peak.

“Her people buried the woman and baby there among the rocks. They carried the body of the chief to the place and buried him beside them.

From that time on, the mountain that towers above the graves was known as Minnow Stahkoo, "the Mountain of the Chief", or "Chief Mountain".

If you look closely, even today, you can see on the face of the mountain the figure of a woman with a baby in her arms, the wife and child of the chief.

Chief Mountain at Twilight through the fog
  I think we all have a certain “talisman” that lights the way home – that certain tree, road sign, road, house or mountain that reminds us we are “home”. No matter where I have been – there is still that excitement when Chief Mountain comes into view and I say to myself “there’s Chief”. And while I am likely to never climb to his peak and use a bison skull for a pillow – I am happy to live in his shadow.

AND – I still think that Chief's profile looks like that of an Indian Chief !


Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Flashback - World Hereford Conference

Things have been busy around here – while we were away at Edmonton dad decided that we should build a new shed for our few early calving cows. After seeing the wind blow across our yard the last couple of weeks – we all agreed that the shed was going to be a “must have” if we wanted to keep calves alive here in February !

Now – normally we calve in April/May --- so why are we calving so early this year ? Because .... The World Hereford Conference is coming to Alberta in July 2012 ! We are already getting excited about the show next summer – I thought I would dig up a little info. about the previous World Hereford Conference’s held in Canada -- so here are a few things I found to share with all of you !

(NOTE:  I could not find any info. on other Conferences in Canada beside the 1976 one -- I believe there was another smaller one held -- but no official cattle show took place ? -- my apoligies for the lack of info. -- if anyone can fill in the blanks for us here that would be great !)

“When the 7th World Hereford Conference delegates gathered for the first time in Canada at Banff on June 27th – July 3rd (1976) it was the largest single meeting of seed stock producers held anywhere. Over 800 people from over 20 countries made their way with some difficulty due to air traffic control problems to the five day event held every four years since its founding in 1951”
~ quoted from Alberta Hereford Heritage book

Of course there were a number of “tours” scheduled during the 1976 Conference – including visits to George Templetons (XTC Herefords), McIntyre Ranch, Bar Pipe Farms, Ulrich Herefords, Hansons Bell L, Jones Hereford Ranches, Rusticana, Colpitts Ranches, Pirmez Hereford Ranch, B&H Herefords and of course a tour to the Alberta Hereford Test Centre.

Said the Canadian Hereford Digest in its September 1976 issue: “ The nearly three weeks of activities connected with the World Hereford Conference concluded with the International Hereford Show staged July 8th and 9th (1976). And what a fitting climax this event proved to be ! Held in the spacious Stampede Corral at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Park, the quality and well presented entries from eight provinces and eleven states in the United States provided a tremendous show for the huge crowd present, which represented at least 25 countries” ~ quoted from the Alberta Hereford Heritage Book

Champion Polled Bull
Stanway Lad 41F Champ. H.Herford Bull

“Under the chairmanship of Lloyd Pickard of Olds the show moved along smoothly without a hitch through the two days of judging” The show arena was divided into two sections with the Polled Herefords and Horned Herefords showing separately, but simultaneously. Judging the strong Polled Hereford show was W.W. Donaldson of Louada Farms at Petercorough, Ontario, assisted by Ron Pitchford of Pleasant Valley Farms at Melfort, Saskatchewan. Judging the excellent exhibit of Horned Herefords were George Edgar of Little Red Deer Farms at Innisfail and Joe Rogers of Penticton, B.C. , Manit ~ quoted from the Alberta Hereford Heritage Book

Other statistics:  
Total number of livestock entries received -- 777
People who attended the Conference, Tours and Shows --- approx. 15 000
Attendance at the show --- 1800 for the females --- 2300 for the bulls
People registered for the Conference in Banff -- nearly 1000
Largest attendance on the tour -- B&H Farms -- over 2000 people

 The 2012 World Hereford Conference is now in it's 16th year and is to be held in Canada July 8th – 25th 2012. As it was in 1976 – there will be a number of tours throughout the country beginning in B.C. and moving on to Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. In between these tours is the main Conference to once again be held at the Calgary Exhibition Park, and will allow visitors to take in the World Famous Calgary Stampede & Rodeo. During this time the World Hereford Show is to take place at Olds, AB – along with a Junior Program/Show and “Rancher Day”.

WHC Display at Farmfair 2011
I look forward to creating new memories at the 2012 WHC – and I am sure there will be lot's of "good times" to write about afterwards.  

I extend an open invitation for everyone to drop by our stall there and say hello.