Date of this Version
Great Plains Research, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2012, pp. 214-215.
Belonging to the genre of local history, Trailblazers explores the lives of two Canadians in the province of Manitoba spanning the 20th century. They were, as the introduction states, ordinary people, just like us. There is much here to interest the casual reader and the serious historian alike. Readers of Great Plains Research may need to be reminded that while the geographic designation "Great Plains" extends into the western Canadian provinces, the term is purely American. Canadians use the generic term "prairie." Michael Ewanchuk was a teacher, a principal, and finally a school inspector for 23 years; Muriel was a teacher whose professional career effectively ended in 1941 when she married, since married female teachers were not hireable in that era. In their introduction and conclusion, John Lehr and David McDowll effectively place the story of Michael and Muriel within the cultural and social milieu of their times. Issues of environment, colonialism, racism, and feminism are integrated into the narrative without ever being heavy-handed or overly academic.