Producer: Town of High River

Rt. Hon. Joe Clark

High River native Joe Clark was Canada’s 16th and, at age 39, youngest Prime Minister. His family has deep roots in High River, where his Grandfather Charles Clark Sr. started the High River Times in 1905. His father Charles Clark Jr. then operated the Times from 1949 until he sold it in 1966 when Joe and his brother Peter decided to pursue other careers.

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W.O. (Bill) Mitchell

W.O. (Bill) Mitchell is one of Canada’s best-loved writers. His works include such Canadian classics as Who Has Seen the Wind and Jake and the Kid. Bill, his wife Merna, and their family lived in High River from 1944 to 1968 (except for three years when he was fiction editor at Macleans). Bill taught English, Social Studies and Drama at High River High School. Stories of Bill’s exploits in High River abound and he is fondly remembered by many locals. In later years, he and Merna lived mainly in Calgary, but they chose the High River Cemetery as
their final resting place.

Artist: J.M Compton, 1994

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Fort Spitzee

In the late 1800s, many whiskey traders from south of the border came to southern Alberta and set up trading forts where they exchanged liquor, arms, and ammunition for furs and buffalo hides. There were several forts on the Sheep and Highwood Rivers, but the largest was Fort Spitzee. There were at least two other posts also known as ‘Spitzee’. These posts proved to be disastrous for the
First Nations people. In 1874, the North West Mounted Police were sent west by the Canadian government to put an end to the whiskey trade. Traders heard of their arrival, and abandoned the forts - often burning them to the ground as they left. Kneeling in the foreground is Jerry Potts, who was a guide for the NWMP.

Artist: Terry Winter, 1992

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The Opening of the High River Club

In 1905, the club rooms of the newly-formed High River Club (so named in its official charter) were opened with a formal ball. Local ladies were dressed “to the nines” in the latest formal fashions. Local Natives wore their own finery
for the proceedings. After one more formal reception, and a later visit by the fundraising Sisters of Lacombe Home, women never again graced the premises of what became known as the High River Men’s Club.

Artist: Zhong Ru Huang, 2007

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The Medicine Tree

According to various sources the Blackfoot considered the unique Cottonwood tree to be a sign of prosperity with healing powers from the spirits. They often left offerings of food, tobacco and arrowheads beneath its branches as offerings to the spirits for good medicine and blessings on the land. It has also been said that the tree was believed to have spiritual and healing powers and was a favourite First Nations camping place.

Artist: Brent Laycock, 1990

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