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     Giorgio W. and Norma Pocaterra:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Louis (Luigi)

Mike Biollo

Father Giovanni

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Mr. & Mrs. Henry

John Camarta

Domenico Chiarello

Joe Fabbri

Mario Grassi

Victor Losa

Filomena Michetti

Mrs. Mamie Meardi

Tony Nimis

Giorgio W. &
Norma Pocaterra

Mr. & Mrs. John

Romano Tedesco &
Mrs. Irma Giacobbo

Angelo Toppano

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Giorgio W. Pocaterra.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives. NA-695-71.The first part of this oral history record consists of two speeches given by Mr. Giorgio Pocaterra to the Glenbow Historical Society and to the Calgary Kiwanis Club, spanning a period from 1904 to approximately 1940. They were recorded in 1963 and 1965.

Norma Pocaterra (nee Piper) in operatic costume.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives.  NA-695-90.The second part also consists of two sections. In the first, Mrs. Norma Pocaterra describes the life of her husband,†Giorgio, in the period between 1882 and 1950; in the second, the interviewer asks about her own career in opera. The interview was conducted by C. Grelli for the Dante Alighieri Oral History Project in 1973.

Mr. Giorgio W. Pocaterra

Lecture 1

  • came to Alberta via Manitoba
  • SW Alberta - ranching country; foothills, Rockies
  • relationship with Stoney Indians; learned their language; translated from Stoney "this white man is not afraid of anything".
  • describes travels in mountains/foothills/Kananaskis area
  • encounter with a lioness & cubs
  • describes weather conditions, packhorses, ranch, cold winter
  • detailed life of Stoney - spent 6 weeks to several months/year with original nomad hunters of North America; making of pemmican, etc.; family life; became blood-brother of native family; commendable customs eg. Sharing of successful hunt with everyone, no corporal punishment to children

Lecture 2

  • starts with beginning in Italy. Northern Italy to Bern to Frankfurt
  • his studies in Europe were to prepare him for taking a high position in his family's textile business
  • after reading literature re: Canada, he had other ideas
  • desire to be a pioneer & settle where no one had before
  • came to Canada (Winnipeg, Manitoba), a strange country on a cold day with $3.75 in pocket; determined to succeed
  • moved to High River area of Alberta; ranching, roundups
  • colorful, entertaining story about friend, "Arizona Frank"; barroom incident (could make a Western out of these stories)
  • start of "Buffalo Head Ranch"
  • return to Italy (Milan) to settle estate after father's death
  • married Canadian (Calgary) opera singer who was studying in Europe
  • return to Canada to set up new home at Ghost River near Calgary

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