White Butte Ecomuseum
WELCOME TO THE WHITE BUTTE ECOMUSEUM
The White Butte Ecomuseum and gallery concept is being developed through the Town of White City. It is being considered for potential co-location at the future White City Town Centre. The White Butte Ecomuseum and gallery looks to the whole White Butte ecoregion for its cultural heritage content, including White City, Pilot Butte, Balgonie, Village of Edenwold and the RM of Edenwold.
As part of the Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) 290AB, Ecomuseums: Sense of Place Course, Dr. Mary Vetter, and Dr. Glenn Sutter, Curator of Human Ecology at the Royal
Saskatchewan Museum, met with the White Butte Ecomuseum group in spring and summer 2015,
and the whole class met with the community in September. The discussion in these meetings identified that interviewing long-time residents of the region and producing digital stories focusing on the interviewees’ personal history, community history, memories, and attachment to the region would be of immense help to the ecomuseum effort and would provide excellent learning opportunities for the students.
The community suggested names, and the students presented their work to the community in early December 2015.
This link will take you to the digital stories produced by the students in the form of a story map of the White Butte Region where you can explore the area while listening to the stories.
The following are abstracts from some of the stories presented by the students as per Dr. Mary Vetter (Biology)
The first digital story is from Anita Ring, who lives on a farm a few miles north of Pilot Butte. Anita grew up around Edenwold, the granddaughter of German immigrants who established farms and were expert brick masons. Using bricks from the old Pilot Butte brickyards, her forebears built many buildings around Edenwold and in the city of Regina, including Government House. Anita shares her experiencesteaching school, farming, and volunteering.
The fourth digital story comes from Ernest and Hildegard Schwartz, who were some of the first people living in what is now White City. Ernest was a developer, and both were actively involved in their community. Hildegard is also an alumna of Luther College High School. They speak about the changes and significant events over the years, and the critical importance to prairie communities of volunteering.
Elder Norma Jean Byrd contributed the fifth digital story. She speaks of the critical importance of having children learn about and spend time in nature. She teaches Aboriginal culture throughout the Regina school system, leads field trips, and works with young people to help them understand and value their Aboriginal heritage.
The seventh digital story is from Lill Jardine. She grew up on a farm just east of White City and shares her memories of learning English to go to school, the Depression years, and the farm and all the buildings she and her husband built entirely on their own. Lill attended Pibroch School, which was moved into White City after extensive community fundraising and labour; it served as a community hall and now is a playschool. Lill has a small museum on the farm she and her husband built, and contributed many collections to displays in White City.
The ninth digital story was contributed by Wayne Kiel, a retired teacher and long-time resident of Balgonie. He speaks about the many community activities, all run by volunteers, that enrich life in the town and the joys of living in small-town Saskatchewan.
All of the interviewees have a deep attachment to the region, and each community has its own history and is valued. The interviewees hope that more stories of residents will be collected, preserved, and celebrated. Working together on common causes was a common theme in the interviews, and people were often wistful about times in the past when the community volunteered and played together. Interviewees expressed concern that heritage resources are at risk of neglect or even disappearing. They often referred to the beauty and diversity of the natural environment, and how some of that diversity is disappearing. All raised families here and consider it their long-time home; and they spoke of their deep ties to friends, family, and neighbours.
In May 4, 2016 Councillor Rebecca Otitoju proudly accepted an RCE Saskatchewan’s Education for Sustainable Development Award on behalf of The White Butte Ecomuseum-Luther College at the University of Regina-Royal Saskatchewan Museum as an innovative project that has helped to increase the capacity for sustainable development in Saskatchewan. Visit this link for more information.