In 2002 the Williams Lake Women's Contact Society posted a request for pioneer stories of the women of the Cariboo Chilcotin. What they received was an overwhelming number of tales of hardship, faith, adversity, endurance and accomplishment. These women were mothers, trappers, schoolteachers, outfitters, ranchers and homesteaders. "Gumption & Grit" contains over 35 stories, including the tragic tale of Chiwid, a battered Tsilhqot'in woman who lived off the land as a recluse from society for more than 50 years; Gerrie Bracewell, who ranched in the "soft season" and guided big game hunters through some of the most dangerous and treacherous country of the Chilcotin; and Doreen Armes, who hopped on a steam locomotive in 1929 at the tender age of 18, leaving behind the comforts of the big city to become the first schoolteacher in Dog Creek's one-room schoolhouse. These stories are heartfelt and honest, and will resonate with the experiences of all women of this land.
Sage Birchwater is the author of "Chiwid," "Williams Lake: Gateway to the Cariboo Chilcotin" and "Flyover: British Columbias Cariboo Chilcotin Coast" (Country Light Publishing, 2012). He was a staff writer for the "Williams Lake Tribune" until 2009, and was the editor of "Gumption & Grit: Extraordinary Women of the Cariboo Chilcotin" (Caitlin Press, 2009). He was also a co-writer of "The Legendary Betty Frank" (Caitlin Press, 2011). Sage lives in Williams Lake, BC.