User:AronBrown/sandbox/Grey Owl Sandbox
Grey Owl (or Wa-sha-quon-asin, from theOjibwe wenjiganoozhiinh, meaning "great horned owl" or "great grey owl") was the name Archibald Belaney (September 18, 1888 – April 13, 1938) adopted when he took on a First Nations identity as an adult. Born in England as Archibald Stansfeld Belaney, and migrating to Canada in the first decade of the 20th century, he rose to prominence as a notable author, lecturer, and one of the "most effective apostles of the wilderness". By immersing himself with the Objibwa Indians, Archibald Belaney was able to learn the Aboriginal harvesting techniques, let alone, meet his future wife. Together with his numerous articles, books, films and lectures, he impacted how not only Canadians but also the world saw humans' adverse relationship with nature. The pivotal moment of departure for Grey Owl’s early conservation work was when he began his relationship with a young Iroquois girl named Gertrude Bernard, who assisted in his transition from trapping and fur-skinning beavers to protecting them. (Pilgrims, 15) In working with the National Parks Branch Grey Owl gained recognition and fame in his early career as a conservationist, becoming the subject of many films, and being established as the “‘caretaker of park animals’ at Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba” in 1931. (Smith, 92). His conservation views largely focused on humans' negative impact on nature through their commodification of nature's resources for profits (Loo, p. 113) and a need for humans to develop a respect for nature.Revelation of his British origins after his death adversely affected his reputation for some time. Since the 1970s and, Recognition has included biographies, a historic plaque at his birthplace, and a 1999 biopic about his life by director Richard Attenborough.
Grey Owl relationship with National Parks Board of Canada
Grey Owl’s relationship with the National Parks branch first began when he published stories through the Canadian Forestry Association. His publications in Canadian Forest and Outdoors brought him into contact with Gordon Dallyn, the then editor of Canadian Forest and Outdoors, who then introduced him to James Harkin, the Parks Branch Commissioner. (Smith, 89) Sharing similar concerns over wilderness conservation as Grey Owl, Parks Board agreed to make a film with Grey Owl and Jelly Roll (his pet beaver) with the goal of “provid[ing] a living argument for conservation.” (Smith 89) W. J. Oliver who at the time was under contract with the Parks Branch was the prominent cameraman of the Grey Owl movies commissioned by Parks Board, along with filming of Grey Owl, Oliver also took many pictures of him looking “consciously Indian.” (Smith, 101)These photographs would be used as illustrations in both Grey Owl’s books such as The Men of the Last Frontier, and as publicity for his lecturing tours. The film received good reception from the Forestry Association. Thinking it would bring increased tourism to the national park which Grey Owl would be working at, along with serving as a platform where Grey Owl could promote his conservation work, James Harkin offered Grey Owl a job at the Riding Mountain National Park in early 1931. (Smith 91)
By the end of 1931 Grey Owl and Anahareo moved from Riding Mountain National Park, to Prince Albert National Park. The reason behind their move was explained as being due to the Prince Albert National Park having a greater sized waterway for the expected increase in the Beaver colony, as well as the lower water level at Riding Mountain National Park, which had the chance of freezing to the bottom. (Smith, 108) Another reason proposed more recently surrounding his move was that his Belaney relatives who lived 100km to the south of his home at Riding Mountain National Park might someday expose his true identity as Archie Belaney. (Smith 107, 108) Grey Owl’s use of alcohol and his drunken behavior at Prince Albert National Park saw him coming near to being fired as a Parks Branch employee; however, a report sent by James Harkin to Assistant Deputy Minister Roy A. Gibson, explaining Grey Owl’s behavior as being due to his “Indian blood” and that the drinking was done on his own time, saving Grey Owl from losing his position. (Smith, 157)
Alcohol Abuse (subheading under death possibly)
Grey Owl’s use of alcohol through the height of his conservation career in the 1930s, impacted his health, relationship with Parks Board, and in one instance with Yousef Karsh, let to the miss of an opportunity to try and influence governmental officials. (Dane Lanken) Following his return from service in World War One, Grey Owl’s use of alcohol increased, as it noted to not be unusual for him to appear drunk and disorderly in public.(Lanken) Alcohol along with his diet when on lecturing tours impacted his health, on the ship back to Canada from his 1935 British tour it was noted that he “drank heavily, ate only onions and was noticeably ill.(Peter Unwin) A publicized example of Grey Owl’s alcoholist tendencies happened when he was to meet with some important government people in Ottawa. This meeting was to take place at the studio of Yousef Karsh, when he had organized a dinner in Grey Owl’s honor; however, as the dinner began Grey Owl was absent. Karsh later found Grey Owl “raising a drunken row in the bar.” (Smith 156) This public display of a Parks Branch employee being drunken in public caused James Harkin to have to defend Grey Owl’s position within Parks Branch to the Assistant Deputy Minister Roy A. Gibson. His indulgence of alcohol at Prince Albert National Park created more friction between himself and Parks Branch as he was seen to “indulge too freely in liquor.” (Lanken)