A Mountain Town
Banff Indian Days
For much of Pearl’s life, the town of Banff was host to a multi-day event called Banff Indian Days in the summer. This event, which is believed to have started in 1894, (the date is contested, some believe 1899) during summer floods that stranded a trainload of tourists at the Banff Springs hotel. It is said that, at the request of the hotel manager, Tom Wilson approached Chief Hector Crawler and asked if he would bring a group of Stoney Nakoda to Banff to entertain the tourists with a parade and dances. A version of the event was held sporadically until 1911 when it became an annual festival that would last until 1978.
Banff Indian Days grew from a one-day event to one that spanned three to five days. Tourists flocked to the event year after year with attendance reaching a peak in 1922 when 71,540 tourists attended. Banff Indian Days consisted of a daily parade where Stoney Nakoda (and other First Nations such as the Tsuu t’ina, Siksika (Blackfoot), Cree and Ktunaxa (Kootenay)) men, women, and children could show off their regalia for prize money, as well as dances, musical performances, horse and foot races, and a rodeo competition. For the Indigenous participants, Banff Indian Days was an opportunity to participate in activities that they were actively discouraged from doing on the reserve. The prizes given out for the best regalia during the parade were also of great economic value to the Indigenous participants. Banff Indian Days was also an opportunity for Indigenous participants to leave their reserves – to visit spaces that had long been sacred to them and see distant relatives – as until the 1940s, a pass had to be obtained from an Indian Agent to leave the reserve.
Pearl was involved in Banff Indian Days throughout her life and was often asked to be a judge for the parade.
Pearl’s relationship with the Stoney Nakoda stemmed from her childhood and the Brewster relationship with several Stoney Nakoda families and individuals, most notably William Twin who accompanied her brothers Bill and Jim on their first guiding excursion. This longstanding relationship resulted in both her and Philip Moore being adopted by the Stoney Nakoda as Princess and Chief in 1948. In a letter to her mother, Catharine Whyte discussed the quiet ceremony, saying “I asked [Pearl] about being taken into the Stoneys but she couldn’t tell us much. They sing a song and say a prayer and sing God Save the King and she and Runt [Philip Moore] each got some present of clothing I think. She is now a princess… and Runt is a chief.”
Banff Winter Carnival & Volunteer Work
While Banff Indian Days was the major event of the summer, the winter played host to Banff Winter Carnival beginning in 1917. The Winter Carnival consisted of events such as skating, swimming at the hot springs, snowshoeing, curling, hockey, downhill ski and ski jumping events at Mount Norquay, tobogganing, barbecues, and the crowning of a Carnival Queen.
Pearl was crowned Carnival Queen in 1920, and her hockey team, the Calgary Regents, often played at the Carnival. She was also a part of the organizing committee, most notably during the Second World War.
During the Second World War, the proceeds of the 1941 Winter Carnival were dedicated to the war effort. The major organizing group for the Banff war effort was the Banff-Jasper Spitfire fund, of which Pearl was Chair. The fundraisers organized by this group included a mile of pennies, the auctioning of paintings by well known artists such as Carl Rungius, Nicholas de Grandmaison, as well as local Peter Whyte. The Banff-Jasper Spitfire Fund Committee also auctioned a 1941 Ford Sedan.
The Characters of Banff
As a prominent family in Banff the Moores had a wide social circle filled with both locals, and visitors who came to climb, ride, paint, and write.
Having grown up in Banff, Pearl was well acquainted with the White family and Peter Whyte. When the Moores were in Boston in 1926 Peter Whyte, then at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, was a frequent visitor at the Moore residence. In 1930, while managing the Canadian Pacific Railway camp at Yoho National Park, Pearl met Catharine Whyte for the first time and they stayed friends throughout their lives.
Through the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, Pearl, Philip, and Edmée met other distinguished residents and visitors to Banff such as George Vaux X, John Murray Gibbon (founding member of the group), and Carl Rungius (President in 1929). The Moores were also friends with Mary J. Vaux, Mary Vaux Walcott, Mary Schäffer Warren, and Georgia Engelhard who was a frequent participant on trail rides and a friend of Edmée’s.