Page 13

Staff Pick

CHILCOTIN Gerry Bracewell has been described as the “Annie Oakley” of the Chilcotin.

The Pride of Tatlayoko IN ADDITION TO BEING A RANCH HAND AND SPEND-

ing 50 years guiding visitors through the wilderness, Gerry Bracewell helped create the area’s early school system, she wrote articles for the Williams Lake Tribune, she ran her own ranch and she raised four children. In 2004, she was inducted into the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame as a Pioneer Rancher. The claim has been made that Gerry Bracewell was the first accredited female hunting guide in B.C. Now Gerry Bracewell, age 92 is making her mark with her memoirs, Gerry Get Your Gun: My Life as a Hunting Guide and Other Adventures (Caitlin $24.95).

G

ERRY BRACEWELL WAS BORN ETHEL LOVELL IN

the northern Alberta farm country where she was raised. She came to Vancouver as a 16-year-old in 1938, getting a job as a nanny and housekeeper. One day she and another nanny her age decided to attend a dance in Vancouver’s Moose Hall. While riding in the streetcar, they hatched out a scheme not to give out their real names at the dance. Ethel said she would be Gerry, and Elsa decided on the name Jacquie. The names stuck. She spent the following summer working on a ranch at Big Creek [where she took a “selfie” at the time—see next page]. She told Jacquie about all the fun she had in ranching country. When Bracewell returned to the Chilcotin to work for KB Moore in Tatlayoko, Jacquie followed her lead and checked out Big Creek for herself. Bracewell married KB Moore’s son, Bev, and Jacquie married local cowboy and rancher, Duane Witte. Bracewell’s mentor, KB Moore, trained her tand she became the first female hunting guide in the province. Since then she has had more than her share of hard-core adventures—such as encounters with grizzly bears in the Gerry Bracewell on the porch of her home and high alpine while leading a (left) at a friend’s cabin. half-broke packhorse on a rugged trail. When she was pregnant with her first child, she had to make a January sleigh ride through a foot-and-a-half of snow, from Tatlayoko Valley to Tatla Lake, to meet the doctor who had driven 225 kilometres west from Williams Lake to deliver her breech-birth first child. Her community occupied a broad footprint from Tatla Lake to West Branch, Kleena Kleene, Tatlayoko Valley, Eagle Lake and the Upper Chilko River—landscape so foreign to most British Columbians that it might as well have been the moon. Everyone helped one another, incontinued on page 15

13 BC BOOKWORLD AUTUMN 2015

BC BookWorld (Autumn 2015)  

BC BookWorld is a newspaper about books. We've been around since 1987. We aspire to middle-brow usefulness. Four times per year, we produce...

BC BookWorld (Autumn 2015)  

BC BookWorld is a newspaper about books. We've been around since 1987. We aspire to middle-brow usefulness. Four times per year, we produce...

Advertisement