- Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections
- Home Made Visible collection
- Gros-Louis family videos : West-Coast 1969 Molinon Temple, snow storm, 1971 Home, Alex Gros Louis, Village Huron, Quebec
Gros-Louis family videos : West-Coast 1969 Molinon Temple, snow storm, 1971 Home, Alex Gros Louis, Village Huron, Quebec
Item consists of a home movie from a Huron-Wendat family documenting winter in Wendake. Project and donor(s) contributed description follows: "There is a heavy snow storm on Alexander Gros-Louis’ veranda sometime in the 1950s. The Gros-Louis family are Huron Wendat, and the footage is shot on the reserve in Wendake, Quebec, which is twenty-five minutes from Quebec City. Snow storms are quite commonplace in Wendake. Every surface is covered in white, and the shot on Super 8 film looks very dreamy. Seen in the shot is a snowmobile that looks to be from the fifties era. At the time there were no street lights or paved roads, and they weren’t plowed regularly. People in Wendake were quite poor. Although it’s a bit different now, it’s still very working class. Seen briefly in the shot, are Alexander’s son and grandson, both named Paul. Ron Gros-Louis is Alexander’s grandson. He and his wife, Patricia retired to Wendake from Montreal. They don’t see Wendake any differently than any other small town. There are currently 2,134 people of Huron-Wendat ancestry. Most of whom are descended from the 300 ancestors who came from Huronia in what is now part of Northern Ontario's Simcoe and Grey counties. Wendake has been an Indigenous reserve since 1697. On the reserve are some Cree, Inuit, and Montagnais peoples from the northern parts of Quebec, there to attend high school and university as some schools in the north do not go past elementary. There are therefore a lot of Indigenous languages being spoken. Life was very restrictive for Indigenous people at the time that Alexander Gros-Louis grew up. You had to sign in and out of the reserve with an Indian agent, and there was a lot of marginalization, surveillance, and policing by keeping track of who was entering and leaving the reserve. Alexander couldn’t join the army, because he was labelled as a "savage," in official documentation. A childhood lack of Vitamin D caused rickets, which left him with bowed legs throughout his life. He left the reserve at the age of fourteen to work as a lumberjack in Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and eventually as a taxi driver in Montreal. He worked shovelling coal for Canadian National Railways on steam locomotives, and afterward became one of the first Indigenous engineers for the CNR."