US, UK & Canada — How Hard Is the Recession Really Hitting Us?

US, UK, Canada and the RecessionBecause I work for clients throughout the globe, I’m often asked if the recession has hit us hard here in Canada. I’d like to say yes, but as an outsider watching the US economy and the world as a whole, I’m really not so sure. It has certainly affected us, I don’t think anyone is exempt from it entirely, but I certainly don’t think it has crippled us the way it has so many others.

US and the Recession

The US as a whole seems to have been hit really hard. People are going homeless by the droves, homes are sitting empty, and don’t even get me started on the banks and auto industry. Entire states are going broke and there seems to be no end to the fallout. It’s no surprise that low-income families are feeling the brunt of things and children are experiencing a higher level of stress.

Not everything seems to be going horribly wrong there, however. Some industries seem to be doing quite well. Some people who were fortunate enough to play their cards right also seem to be profiting quite nicely.

UK, Ireland, Europe, and the Rough Economic Waters

Across the big pond, you don’t seem to notice the people dumping their Irish credit cards too quickly or going sour on their mortgages. Their systems have undoubtedly tightened up, but it doesn’t seem to be too serious, or at least not to the point that people becoming homeless like they are in the US. Everyone there seems to be making it through relatively unscathed with a few adjustments in the way they’re doing things.

People seem to travel just as much including the Irish, reward credit cards in hand, having a good time. Of course, many are staying a little closer to home, or going less frequently, but overall, it seems unaffected. Shopping seems alive and well, the housing market has slowed down a bit, but all in all, pretty good.

Canada and the Current Economy

Canada has survived in about the same manner as Europe and the UK. We’ve seen a bit of a slump, but not like the US. Yes, some people here have lost their jobs and their homes, but Saskatchewan has also created a record number of jobs to give it the lowest unemployment rate in the country. In my own copywriting business, I’ve experienced exponential growth because everyone seems to be moving to the Internet either for improved marketing or just to start a business and a new income stream.

Our retail industry is slow, but not as bad as you’d think. Everyone seems to be finding a way to make ends meet. People are changing their spending habits, and considering how out of control this seemed to be, it’s certainly for the better. Those who don’t, well, they’ll figure it out eventually.

I’ve seen entire towns continue to spend until the money dried up then attempt to defend themselves when taxpayers started getting angry. Germany has also seemed to discover what happens when you gamble a little too much.

The way I see it, we’ll all learn and rise from the ashes. Some just take a little longer than others.

(This post can also be found on Travel the Prairies at http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/us-uk-canada-recession/)

Fort Walsh and The Cypress Hills Masacre the Focus of a Movie

For those of you who found the story of Fort Walsh and the Cypress Hills Masacre, CBC has the perfect thing. A movie entitled “The Englishman’s Boy” tells the tale of the massacre and the history behind it. The fantastic movie stars Bob Hoskins and Nicholas Campbell. The ‘Indians’ in the movie are portrayed by many of the local Aboriginals that live in the area.

(This post can now be found here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/saskatchewan/fort-walsh-cypress-hills-masacre/)

Fort Walsh: Horses, Whiskey, and Murder

James Morrow Walsh

James Morrow Walsh

©2008AngieHaggstrom

South West of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan Canada is a national historic site that not many know exists. Part of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Fort Walsh National Historic Site is a recreation of the Trading Post, town site, cemeteries, and North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Fort that once flourished here. The Trading Post was a major trading point in the west and was an important part of daily life for the Aboriginals, traders, and settlers who lived here. In fact, the events that occurred in this area changed life on the Canadian Prairies forever.

The area had been a hub of activity before the construction of the Fort and even before Farwell’s Trading Post. The local tribes often used this area for winter camps because of the trees and abundant wildlife in the park. The Metis people (those who had Aboriginal and French lineage) also settled into the area. In fact, you can still see the tipi rings and the cellars of the Metis shanties to this day.

Then, in the 1870 a man named Abe Farwell moved out west and built a trading post here to trade furs and supplies for the Hudson Bay Company. The tribes and fur traders (often called wolfers) camped not far from the post and would bring in their pelts and collect their much-needed supplies. This was a huge benefit to the area at the start. European settlers received furs, beads, and other supplies from the west and the people here could get pots, tobacco, lanterns, and other items that were simply not available this far west.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all innocent. Farwell also brought in whiskey, which the natives and wolfers traded for freely. One night in 1873, the wolfers were drinking heavily and chatting away when they noticed their horse missing. Immediately the local Nakota tribe was blamed for stealing it. The drunken wolfers gathered up their buddies, grabbed their guns, and headed towards the village. It is not known who fired the first shot, but what is known is the devastation left behind. By the end of the fight, men, women, children, and even the elderly were murdered where they stood; almost the entire tribe was eradicated.

The worst part was yet to come. After the massacre was over, the horse was found a short time later not far from the wolfers camp. The horse’s owner hadn’t tied him off properly and the horse had simply wandered off. The traders were taken to trial, and even with Farewell ‘s testimony, they were found to be innocent of their charges. Today, this event is known as the Cypress Hills Massacre.

Chief Sitting Bull

Chief Sitting Bull

This event did cause two positive changes in the Canadian prairies. First, because the wolfers went to court, the Aboriginals eventually respected and trusted the NWMP. This became vital three years later in 1876 when General Custer was defeated in the ‘Battle of Little Big Horn.’ Chief Sitting Bull and the Sioux would arrive and stay until they signed treaties and return to the United States in 1881. Secondly, the Massacre led to the arrival of the Canadian Mounties (NWMP) and the building of Fort Walsh in 1875. James Morrow Walsh initially ran the Fort. He would become a great friend of Chief Sitting Bull and would eventually arrange talks between the American Government and the Sioux.

After a long and trying fight, the Mounties would eventually bring peace to the area. After there was no more buffalo for the wolfers to trade and the Aboriginals had been settled onto reserves, (the Nikaneet still live on a reserve in the Cypress Hills not too far from the Fort), the need for the Mounties was gone and they left in 1883.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) returned to the Fort in 1942 and used it to train and breed their horses until 1968. This would lead to the creation of the famous RCMP Musical Ride and their signature black horses.

There is so much to see at the Fort Walsh site and the quiet countryside makes it a peaceful and interesting afternoon. You can get a tour of the Fort including the Trading Post, the museum and theatre, the cemeteries, the town site, and even enjoy the picnic or cafeteria. They even have cannon demonstrations, the Musical Ride, and other events throughout the year.

If you would like to take more information about the area or history, here are some sites that might interest you:

A virtual tour of Fort Walsh

Comprehensive information about Abe Farewell and the Fort

Pictures from the Fort

Thank you for taking the tour of the Cypress Hills!

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(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/saskatchewan/fort-walsh-horses-whiskey-murder/)