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A Sobering Thought
Mike Grandmaison, March 01, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Clouds had rolled in earlier in the afternoon and I was now driving along the shoreline of Clearwater Lake on my way to vsit friends. The sun would set momentarily and I could see a line of pink color hovering an otherwise darkish blue sky. I'm often attracted to minimalist landscapes like this one so I took the first road leading down to the lake. I quickly jumped out of the van, grabbed the tripod-mounted camera, made a quick compsition and captured the scene above. I felt good about this image from the point of view of the warm and cool color contrast as much as about the minimalist palette. Eventhough it was bitterly cold and windy, I felt rather hopeful after making this image.


As I turned around and started heading up the hill, I noticed a memorial with a handful of flowers laying in the snow. I suddenly realized where I was - at the Pump House where Helen Betty Osborne, a 19 year-old Cree Aboriginal woman from Norway House, was brutally murdered on November 13, 1971 after being kidnapped, sexually assaulted, severely beaten and stabbed. She had come to The Pas to further her education in the hopes of becoming a teacher. It wasn't until some 16 years later that 4 local men were finally implicated in her death but only one man was ever convited of this horrible crime. The town of Norway House honoured her by naming the local school 'The Helen Betty Osborne Ininew Education Resource Centre'. I remember how this singular incident had really bothered me when I first learned about it shortly after moving to Winnipeg in 1985. I have come to this location on a number of occasions to photograph the lake as it is one of only a handful of access points to the lake. How many more people have suffered a similar fate and how many more have yet to suffer the same...

Posted In:Contemplations