“I looked up the meaning of Pioneer,
Just for something to do one day.
I found it was someone who goes ahead,
Or someone who clears the way.
But the Pioneers of these mountain lands
Merit a better definition;
And in these lines I’ll try to give
Their efforts recognition.
Back in 1890 our giant fir
Stood green against the sky.
These pioneer men and women said,
“It’s pleasing to the eye.
Here we will stay, and build our home.
Here we will turn the sod;
But first we’ll kneel on these verdant slopes
And give our thanks to God.”
Oh they weren’t very saintly, they weren’t very good –
Just plain honest simple folk;
But they started in with a good stout heart,
And their shoulder to the yoke.
they turned the sod, and they build a home;
And each one gave a hand
To help his neighbour across the way,
In that little struggling band.
Oh yes, there were smiles and laughter!
Oh yes, there were sorrow and tears!
There was vision too, that bore them on
Through those first hard trying years.
Then other settlers straggled in,
With their wagon, or red river cart.
(Two hands and a good stout heart)
Young men with a stern resolve to win,
And sometimes there came a wife;
Just a slip of a girl, but with hopes built high,
And a zeal for this new-found life.
The days were so full, and they went so fast,
Filled with sorrow, and laughter and joy.
Then came the greatest thrill of all –
The birth of a baby boy!
The years passed on with relentless tread,
Then other children came.
They found they must open up a school,
And their district must have a name.
Thus it happened over all our land,
Little groups – just like I’ve said,
Were working with heart and hand and brain,
Just bent on getting ahead.
Out of this first little struggling group
Came a race of women and men
Who through faith and courage won the day,
They uncertainty of this new found land,
They shadows that lurked, and the fear
Were banished by those who went before,
Whom we know as the Pioneer.
Now they have thrown the torch to us!
Let us try and hold it high,
That stern, strong code of the Pioneer
Must not be allowed to die.
Let us honour them, not with flowers and wreaths,
But in a way more true and real;
With a vision like theirs, a faith in God,
And a shoulder to the wheel.”

Written by Edna A. Elder in 1925

Charlie Slade on Cedar Stump, Nakusp Museum

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