Book Review: The Lil’wat World of Charlie Mack

The Lil’wat World of Charlie Mack by Dorothy Kennedy and Randy Bouchard is a must read for anyone living in the Pemberton Valley.  For me it’s in the same category as Pemberton:  History of a Settlement by Frances Decker, Margaret Fougberg, and Mary Ronayne.  These books can really fill in your perspective and appreciation for the place we call home.

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In Lil’wat World in particular, we are given unique access to a man who, along with Baptiste Ritchie, is probably most responsible for documenting the world-view of the Lil’wat and paying it forward to today’s generation.  The book itself is a beautiful homage to the late Charlie Mack – a person Kennedy and Bouchard came to know well throughout the 1970’s and 80’s.

The book is an easy combination of classic Lil’wat mythology and conversational storytelling about older times.

I enjoyed this format because I’ve always found mythological stories extremely challenging to understand as I don’t share the cultural references to guide my understanding or provide meaning to the actors and their adventures. Some of the exploits of the Transformers for example are humorous but perplexing!  On the other hand, I tend to like stories of history, politics and people.  For example, I found the stories of glacier travel and the Lil’wat connection to the Sunshine Coast particularly fascinating.  But the beauty of the book is that all of this is interwoven together in a way that feels like your sitting around the campfire with old friends.

Finally, another enjoyable aspect of the book is connecting historical references of individuals and places with the names of Mount Currie families you know today and the places in the Pemberton Valley we visit regularly.

After reading this book, you can’t help but gain an appreciation and reverence for Lil’wat history and stories as they have such deep and profound connection to place.

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