University Archives & Special Collections, A-6069. (Patrick Hayes)

Chief Robert Bear and Arthur. S. Morton

This photo of Chief Robert Bear and Arthur.S. Morton was taken at the John Smith (Muskoday) Reserve in August 1942.

Dr. Morton, Professor of History, University Librarian and Provincial Archivist, pioneered the study of western Canadian history. An avid explorer of historic sites, Morton discovered the remains of many fur trading posts and battlefields in Saskatchewan.

In 1922, the Dominion of Canada created the Historic Sites and Monuments Board, which frequently consulted Morton regarding sites in Western Canada. In 1937, the University Act was amended to create the Saskatchewan Historic Sites Trust.

The university was given the power to: “Acquire by gift, purchase or in any other manner, and hold in trust for His Majesty, land having a historical interest, or buildings, monuments or other erections having a historical interest and the land on which the same are situated or so much thereof as is deemed advisable, and provide for the care, maintenance and preservation of property so acquired.”

Prof. Morton encouraged the formation of local historical societies to support and assist in the maintenance of this sites.

The trust, in fact, did little more than fund Morton’s summer field work. In 1945, the university’s duties regarding historic sites were transferred to the newly created Saskatchewan Archives Board.

 Morton’s research remains an important source about the historical landscape of Saskatchewan.

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