Yes, get out the pedestals everyone! It’s time we started celebrating our Canadian historical heroes. We just don’t do that enough. When’s the last time you raised a glass and said, “Good ol’ John A. Macdonald, what a go getter”? Or “That Nellie McClung, she never gave up the fight!”? Well, we need more heroes and heroines like that.
The man I want to bring to your attention today is good ol’ Jerry Potts (1840ish-1896).
I liked him so much that I named the survival school in Jolted after him: Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival. Jerry comes to us from a long-ago time called the Wild West. Jerry’s dad was Andrew Potts, a Scot who worked for the American Fur Company, and his mom was Crooked Back, a Blackfoot (Andrew actually had four wives and seven children, so he was a bit of an overachiever).
Alas, Jerry’s father was shot by a Piegan Indian who thought he was shooting someone else (don’t you hate when that happens? You just hope your victim lives long enough for you to apologize). So Jerry had a series of stepfathers, learned to read and write, became a crack shot, and returned to his Blackfoot tribe to learn to track and hunt. He picked up several Native languages and began making money as a horse trader and a tracker. Oh, and he avenged his father’s death, his mother’s death and his stepbrother’s death. Uh, he apparently shot
Remember the Northwest Mounted Police trekking across western Canada to shoo away the whiskey traders and bring law and order to the land? Well, it was Jerry Potts who guided them and helped explain the native customs to the Mounties. If he hadn’t done that, the NWMP might still be wandering around with their Red River carts and draught oxen and big mustaches. See, he saved western civilization (well, western Canadian civilization). He spent 22 years in the employ of the Red Coats. Oh, and he drank and smoked. A lot. On occasion. He was tough. Believe me. Well, not as tough as throat cancer, which got him in 1896. Anyway, I still think his face should be on the loonie or on t-shirts. Perhaps with the logo, “What would Jerry do?”