The Journal and Memoir of Father Leon Doucet O.M.I. 1868 to 1890
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the Canadian Prairies experienced dramatic changes brought about by the spread of devastating disease epidemics, the decline of bison populations, the end of the fur trade economy, the establishment of Canadian sovereignty over the region, the signing of treaties, the creation of First Nations reserves, and the transformation of the landscape into an agricultural West.
The journal of Father Leon Doucet presents a rare account of these developments as they occurred in what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan between 1868 and 1890. As a Roman Catholic missionary and member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Doucet travelled frequently between permanent missions, while also conducting la mission ambulant, or itinerant bison-hunting missions, with Indigenous Plains bands. Doucet eventually resided on First Nations reserves in southern Alberta and administered to the religious needs of burgeoning settler communities.
Doucet’s journal offers a very personal description of this period’s western Canadian history He named more than 150 individuals whose stories range from tragic to comedic. A keen observer, Doucet recorded significant ethnographic, geographic, genealogical, faunal, floral, and meteorological details. Ultimately, his journal offers the reader a tantalizing glimpse of life in pre-provincehood Alberta and Saskatchewan.