Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Annora Brown’s pride of place

Annora Brown
Joyce Sasse - Annora Brown never disputed the request made for her to return home to care for her parents, though she felt inadequate as a nurse, home-maker and financial provider. Stoically, she carried on. A few stolen moments with her sketch pad was her only release.

Her decision to stay on in Fort Macleod after her mother’s death is evidence she’d discovered a reason to do so. The Mounted Police community-connection through her father, and the multiple cultural connections through her mother nurtured her roots. The welcoming of suffragette leaders to their home was as important an influence as was the presence of Blackfoot people on the streets of the village.

Not only had mountain man / conservationist Kootenai Brown been a friend of her father’s, but the women knew his wife (Nichimoose) sought the help of local friends when he became abusive.

Outfitter Bert Riggall, an avid environmentalist, exuded a presence throughout the region. Both he and his protégé Andy Russell chronicled the natural history of the Waterton Region. All of this made for a vibrant climate of conservation that fired Annora’s spirit.

Pincher Creek residents recall the mid 40’s when A.Y. Jackson spent time painting the local landscape. Both here and when they taught at the Banff School of Fine Art there was opportunity for the two instructors to talk art and share tales about Group of Seven members (who taught Annora in ’27 & ’28).

Those who do not understand the richness of culture evident in most rural communities, may mistakenly believe Annora’s choice of residence to be a waste-land. Such was definitely not the case! She knew it, and she had a deep pride in using her talents to record and share what was special in her world.

Is this pride of place a legacy gift for Chinook-belt Albertans? Is there more we can recall about Annora’s world? What, from our world, can we pass on to our benefactors?

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