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Mrs. Notawey

Billy Magee's 96-year-old sister.

“Mrs. Notawey was one of the greatest women I ever knew in all my life. And when she told you a story, you would see all the things she was talking about vividly. She would make little wigwams and little canoes with her hands as she was talking. You'd see them coming together right there before your eyes”

–Ober

In an oral history interview, conducted by Evan Hart and Lucile Kane in February 1964, Ober described Mrs. Notawey:

“She was the oldest sister of Billy Magee. They were this marvelous old family. She was as talented as Sarah Bernhardt. She had long arms something like Sarah Bernhardt. And when she told you a story, you would see all the things she was taking about vividly. She would make little wigwams and little canoes with her hands as she was talking. You'd see them coming together right there before your eyes. And her voice wold change. It would go way down when she spoke in the voice of some of the men, and up again for the women. A wonderful quality, a rich voice.”

In 1948, Ober traveled to Mine Centre, where Mrs. Notawey lived with her cousin Johnny Whitefish. Ober wanted to interview Johnny about “all that he remembered that Billy had told him about our Hudson Bay trip.” Ober also wanted to record Mrs. Notawey to capture her wonderful, captivating voice on tape, but—never good at operating mechanical things—he failed to attach the microphone and missed his opportunity.


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