Gumption & Grit

Women of the Cariboo Chilcotin

Edited by Sage Birchwater

Categories: BC History, Feminism
Imprint: Caitlin
Paperback : 9781894759373, October 2009


Gumption & Grit is the first in a brand new series being introduced by Caitlin Press which will showcase women of BC: their lives, their successes, their history. In 2002 the Williams Lake Women's Contact Society posted a request for pioneer stories of the women of the Cariboo Chilcotin. What they received was an overwhelming number of tales of hardship, faith, adversity, endurance and accomplishment. These women were mothers, trappers, schoolteachers, outfitters, ranchers and homesteaders.

Gumption & Grit contains more than 35 stories, including the tragic tale of Chiwid, a battered Tsilhqot'in woman who lived off the land as a recluse from society for more than 50 years; Gerrie Bracewell, who ranched in the "soft season" and guided big game hunters through some of the most dangerous and treacherous country of the Chilcotin; and Doreen Armes, who hopped on a steam locomotive in 1929 at the tender age of 18, leaving behind the comforts of the big city to become the first schoolteacher in Dog Creek's one-room schoolhouse. These stories are heartfelt and honest, and will resonate with the experiences of all women of this land.


"Gumption & Grit, edited by Sage Birchwater, contains the work of 23 authors telling the tales of 39 women in the region stretching from Williams Lake, Horsefly and Big Lake to Dog Creek, Big Creek, Tatlayoko Valley, Anahim Lake and Bella Coola. Nearly a dozen women tell their own stories, but most are told by others. Some accounts stretch back to the late 1800s or early 1900s recalling the perseverance required to brave hardships in a raw, untamed land. Others tell of more modern exploits demanding unusual courage."

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