Gertrude Bernard aged 19
June 18, 1906|
Mattawa, Ontario, Canada
|Died||June 17, 1986
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
|Resting place||Ajawaan Lake, Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan|
|Home town||Mattawa, Ontario|
|Spouse(s)||Grey Owl, Count Eric Moltke Huitfeldt|
Shirley Dawn (1932-1984)
|Awards||Order of Canada|
Gertrude Moltke Bernard, CM, also known as Anahareo, (June 18, 1906 – June 17, 1986) was a Mohawk Canadian writer, animal rights activist and conservationist. She is perhaps best known for influencing writer Grey Owl (born Archibald Belaney) to become one of Canada's first public conservationist campaigners.
When Gertrude was 19, she met Grey Owl, then age 37, an English fur trapper who claimed to be a half-blood Apache from America. He invited her to accompany him to his traplines. They married shortly afterward in an Anishinaabeg ceremony, although he was still legally married to his first wife Angele Eguwan, an Ojibwe. (See Marriage 'à la façon du pays'.)
Anahareo encouraged Grey Owl to stop trapping and publish his writings about wilderness life. In Pilgrims of the Wild (1934), Grey Owl recounts how his young Iroquois wife, by saving the lives of two beaver kits and raising them, led him to change his way of life and to work for the protection of wildlife. They had a daughter together, Shirley Dawn (August 23, 1932 - June 3, 1984).
The couple split up in 1936. Grey Owl died in 1938, a best-selling author. After his death, it was revealed that he was not part-Apache as he had claimed, but an Englishman named Archibald Stansfeld Belaney.
In 1940 Gertrude, using the name Anahareo that Grey Owl had given her, wrote a book called My Life With Grey Owl. In 1972 she wrote the best-seller, Devil in Deerskins: My Life With Grey Owl, in which she denied having known Grey Owl's true origins. She said she had been hurt to discover his deception.
After Grey Owl's death, Gertrude married Count Eric Moltke Huitfeldt. They had two daughters together. Over the 50 years following her separation from Grey Owl, she continued to be active in the conservation and animal rights movement.
In 1979 Anahareo was admitted into the "Order of Nature", of the Paris-based International League of Animal Rights. She was elected a Member of the Order of Canada in 1983.
On June 17 1986, just a day behind her 80th Anahareo died in Canada.
Graves of Anahareo, Grey Owl and Shirley Dawn at Ajawaan Lake.
- Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, ed. Gretchen M. Bataille & Laurie Lisa, p. 12)
- "Mattawa woman Grey Owl's inspiration", PastForward, 16 Jun 2000