Hailed as a contemporary classic of oral literature, The Days of Augusta is Shuswap elder Augusta Evans’ memories of a lifetime that spanned from 1899 to 1978. Accompanied by Robert Keziere’s intimate photographs, Augusta’s rhythmic prose reads like poetry. She depicts with strength and eloquence her own story—her days at the Mission School, making good baskets and catching salmon, the pain of giving birth and the death of a son—as well as the legends and stories of events told to her—a stagecoach robbery, a woman who was the prisoner of a bear. First printed in 1973, Augusta’s story continues to be a fascinating glimpse into the past, with throughlines to the present.
Mary Augusta Tappage Evans, born in 1899 in BC’s central interior Cariboo country, was the granddaughter of a Shuswap chief. When she was in her eighties she shared her stories with Jean E. Speare, who formed them into this book, first published in 1973. Augusta passed away in 1978 and is survived by her grandchildren. Jean E. Speare was born into a pioneer BC family and was raised on a Cariboo ranch. She spent a large part of her life in Barkerville, and her writing about the Cariboo has appeared in many newspapers in the province. At the time The Days of Augusta was written, Jean and her husband lived in Williams Lake. Now both retired, they live in Quesnel, BC, where their interests centre on promoting hiking trails. Robert Keziere is a Vancouver photographer. He took the magnificent photographs in this book over the better part of two weeks, photographing Augusta in the cabin that each year became her summer home.