SMITH, Barbara




Author Tags: Crime

Barbara Smith is the author of more than 25 books, including 16 books on ghost stories. Canadian social history is one of her lifelong interests, and she has also taught writing-related courses in schools from elementary to university level and for private industry. She lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

In 2007, an investigative team of scientific researchers and a film crew were able to gain permission from the mayor of Aklavik, N.W.T., Knute Hansen, and Chief Charles Furlong of the Aklavik Indian Band, to exhume the 75-year-old remains of the fugitive known as the Mad Trapper thanks only to the intervention of Imperial Oil's Al Benson, who approached the remote community, on repeated occasions, on behalf of Myth Merchant Film's Michael Jorgensen, whose initial request had been denied. During this period an Aboriginal filmmaker from Inuvik, Dennis Allen, was also added to the delegation. Barbara Smith accompanied the resultant 'dig' in the Aklavik cemetery and has recorded the scientific process by which the teeth, skull and other vestiges of the so-called Mad Trapper of Rat River were unearthed in The Mad Trapper: Unearthing a Mystery (Heritage $19.95)

When Albert Johnson, the Mad Trapper of Rat River, was gunned down in February 1932, after eluding a well-equipped posse in the Arctic for seven weeks, most people believed the name “Albert Johnson” was an alias. Forensic scientists in 2007 therefore took DNA samples for comparison with potential kin. Smith screened hundreds of queries from people who came forward claiming to be related to the Trapper and seeking to have their DNA tested to prove it. Discovery Channel aired Hunt for the Mad Trapper in May of 2009.

BOOKS:

Mad Trapper of Rat River were unearthed in The Mad Trapper: Unearthing a Mystery (Heritage 2008) $19.95 978-1-894974-53-0

The Valiant Nellie McClung: Selected Writings by Canada's Most Famous Suffragist (Heritage 2016) $19.95 978-1-77203-146-1

[BCBW 2016]