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Grey Owl

Grey Owl

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Grey Owl was the name Archibald Belaney (September 18, 1888 – April 13, 1938) adopted when he took on a First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 identity as an adult. A British native, he was most notable as an author and one of the "most effective apostles of the wilderness".

Revelation of his British origins after his death adversely affected his reputation for some time. Since the 1970s and, with the centennial of his birth, there has been renewed public appreciation for his conservation efforts. Recognition has included biographies, a historic plaque at his birthplace, a 1999 biopic about his life by director Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough , CBE is a British actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. As director and producer he won two Academy Awards for the 1982 film Gandhi...

.

Early life


Archibald Stansfeld Belaney was born in September 1888, near Hastings
Hastings
Hastings is a town and borough in the county of East Sussex on the south coast of England. The town is located east of the county town of Lewes and south east of London, and has an estimated population of 86,900....

, England. Born to George Belaney and his wife Katherine (Kittie) Cox, Archie was mostly of English descent on both sides; his paternal grandfather had come from Scotland and married in England.

Kittie was his father's second wife. Years before Archie's birth, George Belaney had immigrated to the United States with his then-wife Elizabeth Cox and her younger sister Katherine (Kittie). After Elizabeth's early death, George persuaded Kittie, not yet 20, to marry him. Within the year they returned to England in time for the birth of their son Archie. The family lived together near Hastings until Kittie became pregnant for a second time. The father and Kittie left to return to the United States, where he abandoned her. Kittie had left Archie in the care of his father's mother Juliana Belaney and his two younger sisters, Julia Caroline Belaney and Janet Adelaide Belaney, whom the boy would know as Aunt Carry and Aunt Ada. Kittie visited him a few times.

Belaney later told his publisher his father was Scots. The Belaney name does have roots in Scotland. One of his biographers documented that Archie's paternal grandfather had moved from Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 to England, where he became a successful merchant.

The Belaney boy attended Hastings Grammar School, where he excelled in subjects such as English, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and Chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

. While outside school, he spent much time reading, or exploring St Helen's Wood near his home.

As a boy, Belaney was known for pranks, such as using his Grammar School
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

 chemistry to make small bombs. He called them "Belaney Bombs". Fascinated by American Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, Belaney read about them and drew them in the margins of his books. Belaney left Hastings Grammar School and started work as a clerk with a lumber company located behind St. Helen's Wood.

There Belaney and his friend George McCormick perfected the arts of knife throwing and marksmanship. Belaney turned his creativity to pursuits other than work. His last event there was lowering fireworks down the chimney of the lumber company's office. The works exploded and nearly destroyed the building. After the lumberyard fired him, Belaney's aunts let him move to Canada, where he sought adventure. On March 29, 1906 Belaney boarded the SS. Canada and sailed for Halifax.

Immigration to Canada


Belaney emigrated, ostensibly to study agriculture. After a brief time in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, he moved to Temagami (Tema-Augama), Northern Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, where he worked as a fur trapper. Fascinated with the Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe or Anishinabe—or more properly Anishinaabeg or Anishinabek, which is the plural form of the word—is the autonym often used by the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Algonquin peoples. They all speak closely related Anishinaabemowin/Anishinaabe languages, of the Algonquian language family.The meaning...

 Ojibwe, he set about learning their language and lore. On August 23, 1910, he married Angele Egwuna, an Ojjibwa woman from whom he learned much about the people. They started life together in a tent on Bear Island (Lake Temagami)
Bear Island (Lake Temagami)
Bear Island is an island in Lake Temagami of Northeastern Ontario, Canada. With an area of , it is the seconed largest island in Lake Temagami after Temagami Island...

. Soon Angele gave birth to their daughter Agnes. Angele's uncle called Belaney "Little Owl", because he watched everything carefully. Belaney claimed he was adopted by the tribe and given a name meaning "Grey Owl".

Belaney worked as a trapper, wilderness guide, and forest ranger. At first he began to sign his name as "Grey Owl". Then he created a full-blown Native identity, telling people that he was the child of a Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 father and Apache mother. He claimed to have emigrated from the U.S. to join the Ojibwa
Ojibwa
The Ojibwe or Chippewa are among the largest groups of Native Americans–First Nations north of Mexico. They are divided between Canada and the United States. In Canada, they are the third-largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by Cree and Inuit...

 in Canada.

Belaney enlisted with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (CEF) on May 6, 1915 during World War I. His Regimental number with the CEF was 415259. On his attestation papers, he claimed to be born in Montreal on Sept 18, 1888, and listed no next of kin, however when asked about his marital status, it appears some confusion may have taken place as the word 'yes' was written, and then crossed out, then the word 'no' was written, and then crossed out ultimately not clearly answering the question, leaving his marital status unclear to the military at the time of enlistment. He stated his trade was a 'trapper', and that he previously served as a 'Mexican Scout' with the 28th Dragoons, although this is unclear since the U.S. was not in any significant military actions in the region (other than small operations, to which he could not have served, he would have had to serve between 1904 and 1915). Belaney joined the 13th (Montreal) Battalion of the Black Watch
The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
The Black Watch of Canada is a reserve infantry regiment in 34 Brigade Group, Land Force Quebec Area. The regiment is located on rue de Bleury in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and is currently commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bruno Plourde...

. His unit was shipped to France, where he served as a sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

. His comrades accepted his self-presentation as Indian and generally praised his conduct. Belaney was wounded in January 1916, and then more seriously on April 24, 1916, with a shot through the foot. When the wounded limb developed gangrene
Gangrene
Gangrene is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of body tissue dies . This may occur after an injury or infection, or in people suffering from any chronic health problem affecting blood circulation. The primary cause of gangrene is reduced blood...

, Grey Owl was shipped to England for treatment.

While doctors tried to heal his foot, they moved Grey Owl from one British infirmary
Hospital
A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals often, but not always, provide for inpatient care or longer-term patient stays....

 to another for a full year. In England, Grey Owl met again with childhood friend, Constance (Ivy) Holmes, and they married. Their marriage failed in a short time, without his having told Holmes that he was still married to Angele, whom he had abandoned but not divorced.

Grey Owl was shipped back to Canada in September 1917, where he received an honorable discharge on November 30 with a disability pension
Disability pension
A disability pension is a form of pension given to those people who are permanently or temporarily unable to work due to a disability. It is distinct from welfare.- North America :...

.

Career


In 1925, then 37-year-old Grey Owl met 19-year-old Gertrude Bernard (aka Anahareo
Anahareo
Gertrude Moltke Bernard, CM, also known as Anahareo, was a Mohawk woman who was the influential companion of Grey Owl, born Archibald Belaney, a writer and one of Canada's first conservationists.- Biography :...

, or Pony), a Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

 Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 woman who was to be very influential in his life. She encouraged him to stop trapping and to publish his writing about the wilderness. They had a passionate eight-year affair, beginning with their Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe or Anishinabe—or more properly Anishinaabeg or Anishinabek, which is the plural form of the word—is the autonym often used by the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Algonquin peoples. They all speak closely related Anishinaabemowin/Anishinaabe languages, of the Algonquian language family.The meaning...

 wedding ceremony. Through her influence, he began to think more deeply about conservation. Anahareo encouraged his writing and influenced him by saving and raising a pair of beaver kits.

His first piece, "The Falls of Silence", was published under the name A.S. Belaney in Country Life, the famous English sporting and society magazine. He also published articles on animal lore as Grey Owl in Forest & Outdoors, a publication of the Canadian Forestry Association. He became increasingly known in Canada and the United States. In 1928, the National Parks Service made a film, Beaver People, featuring Grey Owl and Anahareo, which showed them with two beavers which they had taken in as kits and raised after their mother was killed. After his work attracted the attention of the Dominion Parks Service, Grey Owl was invited to join them as a naturalist
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

.

In 1931, Grey Owl and Anahareo moved briefly (with their beavers) to a cabin in Riding Mountain National Park
Riding Mountain National Park
Riding Mountain National Park is a national park in Manitoba, Canada. The park sits atop the Manitoba Escarpment. Consisting of a protected area , the forested parkland stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding prairie farmland. The park is home to wolves, moose, elk, black bears, hundreds of...

 to find a sanctuary for them. The following year, they resettled at Ajawaan Lake
Ajawaan Lake
Ajawaan Lake is a lake in the northern boreal forest portion of Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, 700 metres from the north end of Kingsmere Lake via a wide portage trail. It is known mainly as the home of Grey Owl, famed naturalist, from 1932 to 1938...

 in a home provided by the government at Prince Albert National Park
Prince Albert National Park
Prince Albert National Park covers in central Saskatchewan, Canada and is located north of Saskatoon. Though declared a national park March 24, 1927, it had its official opening ceremonies on August 10, 1928 performed by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. The park is open all year but...

, where Grey Owl was made Honorary Warden responsible for protecting beaver. They had a daughter together, Shirley Dawn, who was born August 23, 1932.

Belaney told his publisher and future biographer, Lovat Dickson
Lovat Dickson
Lovat Dickson, born Horatio Henry Lovat Dickson was a notable publisher and writer, the first Canadian to have a major publishing role in Britain. He is best known today for his biographies of Grey Owl, Richard Hillary, Radclyffe Hall and H. G. Wells...

, the following story about his origins:
He was the son of a Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 father and Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 mother. He claimed his father was a man named George MacNeil, who had been a scout
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 during the 1870s Indian Wars
Indian Wars
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America before and after the American Revolutionary War. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who...

 in the southwestern United States. Grey Owl said his mother was Katherine Cochise of the Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

, Jicarilla band
Band society
A band society is the simplest form of human society. A band generally consists of a small kin group, no larger than an extended family or clan; it has been defined as consisting of no more than 30 to 50 individuals.Bands have a loose organization...

. He further said that both parents had been part of the Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Bill Hickok
James Butler Hickok , better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a folk hero of the American Old West. His skills as a gunfighter and scout, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his fame, although some of his exploits are fictionalized.Hickok came to the West as a stagecoach...

 Western show that toured England. Grey Owl claimed to have been born in 1888 in Hermosillo, Mexico, while his parents were performing there.
Little of this account was factual.

In his articles, books, and films, Grey Owl promoted the ideas of environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 and nature conservation. In the 1930s, he wrote many articles for the Canadian Forestry Association (CFA) publication Forests and Outdoors, including the following:

His article, "A Description of the Fall Activities of Beaver, with some remarks on Conservation", was collected in Harper Cory's book Grey Owl and the Beaver (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, 1935).

In 1935-36 and 1937–38, Grey Owl toured Canada and England (including Hastings) to promote his books and lecture about conservation. His popularity attracted large, interested audiences, as Pilgrims in the Wild at one point was selling 5,000 copies a month. Grey Owl appeared in traditional Ojibwa
Ojibwa
The Ojibwe or Chippewa are among the largest groups of Native Americans–First Nations north of Mexico. They are divided between Canada and the United States. In Canada, they are the third-largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by Cree and Inuit...

 clothing as part of his First Nations identity. Although his aunts recognized him at his 1935 appearance in Hastings, they did not talk about his British origins until 1937. In his later tour, Grey Owl was invited to the court, where he made a presentation to King George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

 and princesses Elizabeth
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 and Margaret
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II and the younger daughter of King George VI....

.

During a publication tour of Canada, Grey Owl met Yvonne Perrier, a French Canadian
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 woman. In November 1936 they married.

Death


The tours were fatiguing for him and his years of alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 weakened him. In April 1938, he returned to Beaver Lodge, his cabin at Ajawaan Lake. Five days later, he was found unconscious on the floor of the cabin. Although taken to Prince Albert
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Prince Albert is the third-largest city in Saskatchewan, Canada. It is situated in the centre of the province on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The city is known as the "Gateway to the North" because it is the last major centre along the route to the resources of northern Saskatchewan...

 hospital for treatment, he died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 on April 13, 1938. He was buried near his cabin.

His first wife Angele proved her marriage and, although she had not seen him for several years, inherited most of his estate. After their deaths, Anahareo and Shirley Dawn (died June 3, 1984) in turn were buried at Ajawaan Lake.

Marriages and families


Belaney had relationships with at least five women. He deserted his first wife and child, later committing bigamy
Bigamy
In cultures that practice marital monogamy, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another. Bigamy is a crime in most western countries, and when it occurs in this context often neither the first nor second spouse is aware of the other...

 by marrying Constance Holmes in England. He had a daughter with his first and third wives, and was known to have fathered a boy as well.

Women in Belaney's life:
  • Angele Egwuna (Anishinaabe), married August 1910. Daughter Agnes Belaney.
  • Métis
    Métis people (Canada)
    The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

     woman, with whom Belaney had a son. She died of tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

     soon after the boy was born and he was raised by her family.
  • Constance (Ivy) Holmes, married in England in 1917. No children.
  • Gertrude Bernard (Anahareo) (Mohawk), eight-year affair beginning with Anishinaabe marriage ceremony in 1925. Daughter Shirley Dawn, b. 1932. Separated 1936.
  • Yvonne Perrier (French Canadian), "married" November 1936. No children.

Exposure


Doubts about Grey Owl's First Nation identity had been circulating and stories were published immediately after his death. The North Bay Nugget
North Bay Nugget
-External links:* *...

 newspaper ran the first exposé the day of his death, a story which they had been holding for three years. This was followed up by international news organisations, such as The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

. His publisher Lovat Dickson tried to prove Belaney's claimed identity, but had to admit that his friend had lied to him. His popularity and support for his causes led The Ottawa Citizen to conclude, "Of course, the value of his work is not jeopardized. His attainments as a writer and naturalist will survive." This opinion was widely shared in the national press.

While his writings showed his deep knowledge and concern about the environment, Belaney's account of his origins as "Grey Owl" was mostly fictional. The consequences of the revelation were dramatic. Publishers immediately ceased producing his books under the name Grey Owl. In some cases his books were withdrawn from publication. This in turn affected the conservation causes with which Belaney had been associated, resulting in a decrease in donations to them.

Posthumous recognition


Numerous books about Grey Owl have been published, including:
  • Half-Breed: The Story of Grey Owl by Lovat Dickson (1939
    1939 in literature
    The year 1939 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*December 25 - A Christmas Carol is read before a radio audience for the first time....

    )
  • My Life with Grey Owl by Anahareo (1940
    1940 in literature
    The year 1940 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*Aldous Huxley is a screenwriter for the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.*Jean-Paul Sartre is taken prisoner by the Germans....

    )
  • Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl by Anahareo (1972
    1972 in literature
    The year 1972 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Fiction:*Richard Adams - Watership Down*Jorge Amado - Teresa Batista Cansada da Guerra *Martin Amis - The Rachel Papers...

    ) published in the UK as Grey Owl and I: A New Autobiography by Anahareo (1972
    1972 in literature
    The year 1972 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Fiction:*Richard Adams - Watership Down*Jorge Amado - Teresa Batista Cansada da Guerra *Martin Amis - The Rachel Papers...

    )
  • Wilderness Man: The Strange Story of Grey Owl by Lovat Dickson (1974
    1974 in literature
    The year 1974 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics is founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman.-New books:*Richard Adams - Shardik*Kingsley Amis - Ending Up...

    )
  • From the Land of Shadows: the Making of Grey Owl by Donald B. Smith (1990
    1990 in literature
    The year 1990 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*J. K. Rowling gets the idea for Harry Potter while on a train ride from Manchester to London. She says "I was staring out the window, and the idea for Harry just came. He appeared in my mind's eye, very fully formed...

    )

  • In 1972 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) produced a documentary special on him. It was directed by Nancy Riley.
  • In 1999
    1999 in film
    The year 1999 in film involved several noteworthy events and has been called "The Year That Changed Movies". Several significant feature films, including Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut, Pedro Almodóvar's first Oscar-winning film All About My Mother, science fiction The Matrix, Deep...

    , the film Grey Owl
    Grey Owl (film)
    Grey Owl is a 1998 biopic directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Pierce Brosnan in the role of real life British schoolboy turned Indian trapper "Grey Owl," Archibald Belaney , and Annie Galipeau as his wife Anahareo. With brief appearances by Graham Greene and others. The screenplay was...

     was released. It was directed by Richard Attenborough
    Richard Attenborough
    Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough , CBE is a British actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. As director and producer he won two Academy Awards for the 1982 film Gandhi...

     and starred Pierce Brosnan
    Pierce Brosnan
    Pierce Brendan Brosnan, OBE is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist. After leaving school at 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, but trained at the Drama Centre in London for three years...

    . The film received mixed reviews and received no theatrical release in the United States. As teenagers, Attenborough and his brother David
    David Attenborough
    Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...

     had seen Grey Owl speak at the London Palladium
    London Palladium
    The London Palladium is a 2,286 seat West End theatre located off Oxford Street in the City of Westminster. From the roster of stars who have played there and many televised performances, it is arguably the most famous theatre in London and the United Kingdom, especially for musical variety...

     theatre. David Attenborough later became a naturalist. In a 1999 interview, Richard Attenborough mentioned that they were both very affected by seeing Grey Owl, perhaps to the point of influencing their future career paths.

  • On the 100th anniversary of Grey Owl's birth, the Grey Owl Society of Hastings arranged planting of a Canadian red maple
    Red Maple
    Acer rubrum , is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern North America. It ranges from the Lake of the Woods on the border between Ontario and Minnesota, east to Newfoundland, south to near Miami, Florida, and southwest to east Texas...

     tree in his honor in the grounds of the William Parker School, the successor to the Hastings Grammar School. In June 1997, the mayor of Hastings and the borough's Member of Parliament
    Member of Parliament
    A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

     (Michael Foster
    Michael Jabez Foster
    Michael Jabez Foster is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye from 1997 until 2010...

    ) unveiled a plaque in his honor on the house at 32 St. James Road where he was born.
  • The ranger station at Hastings Country Park
    Hastings Country Park
    Hastings Country Park was formed in 1974 and covers east of Hastings in England. Sandstone cliffs, glens covered with gorse and trees, footpaths, nature trails, picnic areas and ample car parking are some of the features at the country park...

    , 4 miles to the east of Hastings, also has a commemorative plaque
    Commemorative plaque
    A commemorative plaque, or simply plaque, is a plate of metal, ceramic, stone, wood, or other material, typically attached to a wall, stone, or other vertical surface, and bearing text in memory of an important figure or event...

     to Grey Owl. A full-size replica of his Canadian lakeside cabin is in Hastings Museum
    Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
    Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is a museum and art gallery located in, Hastings, East Sussex, England.The museum collection contains drawings by the famous architect James Burton; exhibits relating to John Logie Baird, the inventor of television; paintings by Robert Tressell; exhibits on Native...

     at Summerfields. An exhibition of memorabilia and a commemorative plaque are at the house at 36 St. Mary's Terrace where he lived with his grandmother and aunts.

  • Parks Canada has restored his cabin and established a wildlife sanctuary at Lake Anaabe.

  • In September 2004, hip-hop activist Raoul Juneja (aka Deejay Ra) launched a 'Grey Owl' Birthday Recognition Campaign. He incorporated Grey Owl titles into his 'Hip-Hop Literacy' project and campaigned on Canadian community TV for national recognition of Grey Owl's birthday. He was the first author to teach Native rights at Harvard University
    Harvard University
    Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

    .

  • In 2005, the birthday recognition campaign led to Key Porter Books
    Key Porter Books
    Key Porter Books is a Canadian book publishing company. Founded in 1979 by Canadian publisher Anna Porter and Key Publishers Limited of Toronto, the company specializes in Canadian non-fiction, although it has published some fiction titles as well. A controlling share of the company was purchased...

     re-publishing Grey Owl's classic Tales from an Empty Cabin. It also inspired a segment of a show on BookTelevision
    BookTelevision
    BookTelevision is a Canadian, English-language, Category A specialty channel that broadcasts programming relating to books, literature, and various media...

     featuring DJ Ra and Lord Attenborough discussing Grey Owl's legacy.

Grey Owl's books

  • The Men of the Last Frontier. London: Country Life, 1931.
  • Pilgrims of the Wild. London: Lovat Dickson Ltd., 1934.
  • The Adventures of Sajo and her Beaver People. London: Lovat Dickson Ltd., 1935.
  • Tales of an Empty Cabin. London: Lovat Dickson Ltd., 1936.

A long story from Tales of an Empty Cabin was published separately in 1937 as a small volume:
  • The Tree. London: Lovat Dickson Ltd., 1937.

Collected editions


Grey Owl's first three books, The Men of the Last Frontier, Pilgrims of the Wild and Sajo and her Beaver People, have been collected and reprinted as Grey Owl: Three Complete and Unabridged Canadian Classics (2001: ISBN 1-55209-590-8). Excerpts from all four of his books were collected in The Book of Grey Owl: Selected Wildlife Stories (1938; 1989 reprint: ISBN 0-7715-9293-0).

Translations

  • Ludzie Z Ostatniej Granicy. Translation by Aleksander Dobrot. Warsaw (Poland): Wydawnictwo J. Przeworskiego, 1939.
  • Ambassadeur des bêtes. Translation by Simonne Ratel. Paris : Hatier-Boivin, 1956?. (Called Ambassador of the Beasts", Translation of the second part of: Tales of an Empty Cabin)
  • Récits de la cabane abandonnée. Translation by Jeanne-Roche-Mazon. Paris : Éditions contemporaines, 1951. (Translation of the first part of: Tales of an Empty Cabin.)
  • Sajo et ses castors. Translated from the English by Charlotte and Marie-Louise Pressoir; illustrations by Pierre Le Guen. Paris : Société nouvelle des éditions G.P., 1963. (Translation of: The Adventures of Sajo and Her Beaver People.)
  • Pilgrims of the Wild. Éd. ordinaire. Translation by Jeanne Roche-Mazon. Paris : Éditions contemporaines, 1951.
  • Саджо и её бобры. Перевод с английского Аллы Макаровой. Предисловие Михаила Пришвина. Москва: Детгиз, 1958.
  • Рассказы опустевшей хижины. Перевод и предисловие Аллы Макаровой. Художник Б.Жутовский. Москва: Молодая гвардия, 1974.
  • Cаджо та її бобри. Переклад з англійської Соломії Павличко., Київ: «Веселка», 1986
  • Przygody Sajo i małych bobrów. Warsaw, 2008.
  • Индијанка Саџо и њени дабрићи. Translation by Виктор Финк. Illustrated by Михаило Писањук. Covers Ида Ћирић. Дечији Свет, Младо Поколеље, Београд (Belgrade, Serbia), 1967.

See also

  • For 20th-century examples of an individual's assuming a Native North American identity, establishing notability, and later being revealed as ethnic European, see: Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance
    Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance
    Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance , born Sylvester Clark Long, was an American journalist, writer and actor from Winston-Salem, North Carolina who became internationally prominent as a spokesman for Indian causes...

    , Forrest Carter, Nasdijj
    Nasdijj
    Timothy Patrick Barrus is an American author who, under the pseudonym Nasdijj, wrote three supposed memoirs of his experiences as a Native American, which were published between 2000 and 2004....

     and Ward Churchill
    Ward Churchill
    Ward LeRoy Churchill is an author and political activist. He was a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1990 to 2007. The primary focus of his work is on the historical treatment of political dissenters and Native Americans by the United States government...

    . The circumstances are different in each case. Grey Owl demonstrably learned the Ojibwe language and their way of life, and lived as one of the people, from whom he gained respect.
  • Manitonquat (Medicine Story)
    Manitonquat (Medicine Story)
    Manitonquat, also known as Medicine Story , is a storyteller and keeper of native lore of the Wampanoag Nation of Massachusetts and ceremonial medicine man of the Assonet Band...

     has also a Native North American and European background.

Further reading

  • Anahareo. Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl. Toronto: Paperjacks, 1972.
  • Attenborough, Richard, dir. Grey Owl. Screenplay by William Nicholson. Largo Entertainment, 1999.
  • Atwood, Margaret. "The Grey Owl Syndrome", Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995. 35-61.
  • Ruffo, Armand Garnet, Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney (1996)

External links

  • See the silent films Beaver People (1928) and Beaver Family (1929), National Film Board of Canada
    National Film Board of Canada
    The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's twelve-time Academy Award-winning public film producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary, animation, alternative drama and digital media productions...

  • "Grey Owl", Prince Albert National Park
    Prince Albert National Park
    Prince Albert National Park covers in central Saskatchewan, Canada and is located north of Saskatoon. Though declared a national park March 24, 1927, it had its official opening ceremonies on August 10, 1928 performed by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. The park is open all year but...

  • Canadian Heroes in Fact and Fiction: Grey Owl, Library and Archives Canada
    Library and Archives Canada
    Library and Archives Canada is a national memory institution dedicated to providing the best possible account of Canadian life through acquiring, preserving and making Canada's documentary heritage accessible for use in the 21st century and beyond...

     website
  • Historica Minutes TV Commercial, Canadian Heritage