The following are my editorial comments for the Summer 2017 Issue of Folklore Magazine. To subscribe to the magazine and to become a member of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, go here and complete this form. Also follow SHFS on Facebook. Cover Photo:  Reddy Parsonage & Everett Baker at the NWMP Cottonwood Coulee Detachment 1878 – 1885 marker, 1960. Everett Baker Slides.

This issue of Folklore is a special one. This year marks the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society’s 60th Anniversary. The feature article of this issue celebrates this momentous occasion. In ‘“The Two Therefore Make a Good Team”: The Origin of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society,’ Mike Fedyk describes the origin story of SHFS.
Fedyk’s piece pays particular attention to the way in which the organization united two disparate camps: folklorists and history enthusiasts. This union has been a source of discussion since SHFS was founded in 1957. As Folklore editor for the last three years, I have witnessed the interplay between these two closely-associated fields of cultural study. Uniting Saskatchewan folklore and history within the magazine has played just as important a role as setting boundaries and defining the two fields as separate entities.
In this issue, I tried to choose accompanying articles that illustrate some of the best characteristics of what SHFS does for the province and its culture. As always, academic histories and personal stories both find a home at SHFS and complement one another. In her article, Beverly Muntain synthesizes archival documents about a 1916 murder investigation into a readable synopsis that ties a historical event to conceptions of modern crime scene investigation.
There is Jordan Bolay’s fictionalized account of Grey Owl’s final days. In her article, Jill (Essar) Whitaker turns to personal memory and familial experience to illustrate a particular time in western Canadian history when many immigrants turned to entrepreneurship to survive in their new country of residence. Carmen M. Moore, Lois (Borland) Lee, and Jean F. Fahlman also provide short and charming personal stories that provide a window into life in Saskatchewan in the early-to-mid-twentieth century.
I’m particularly proud of the strength of poetry submissions in this issue. Many issues of Folklore do not revolve around poetry. In this issue, I wanted the poetry to take centre-stage. The poetry submissions within these pages span the emotional spectrum. Peace Akintade provides a heart-wrenching poem that tackles both her personal experience as an immigrant child and the way in which violence, poverty, colonialism, and other forces have a negative affect on children.
I intentially chose three poems about grandmothers that complement one another: Catherine R. Fenwick’s “Blue Rafters,” Danielle Altrogge’s “Grandmother,” and Mackenzie Stewart’s “Death.” All three poems beautifully and compassionately celebrate the strength, femininity, and kindness of grandmothers and, more generally, the women who serve mentorship roles in our lives. Several other poems celebrate the joys of childhood and young adulthood.
SHFS is a community, grassroots organization. Its backbone is its members and supporters. Because this year marks sixty years of SHFS, I am now going to challenge all of you to fill our mailbox and email inboxes with messages about what SHFS means to you. I want the autumn issue of Folklore to contain a hefty section devoted to your letters about SHFS.

-Why are you a member of SHFS?
-When did you become a member of SHFS?
-Were individuals from an earlier generation of your family members of SHFS?
-Do you have a favourite, past Folklore article? Let us know and we’ll feature a passage from it.

Over the past three years, my knowledge of and appreciation for the province of Saskatchewan, its people, and its history have grown tenfold because of the passion and dedication of SHFS members to their heritage. I look forward to hearing from all of you and seeing some of you at the Annual General Meeting in Regina in June.


Published by Jessica M. DeWitt

Dr. Jessica M. DeWitt is an environmental historian of Canada and the United States. She is passionate about the use of digital technologies to bridge the gap between the public and researchers. In addition to her community and professional work, she offers various editing and social media consultancy services.

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