Archie Belaney, alias Grey Owl © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

Archie Belaney, A.K.A. "Grey Owl", would fall into the "benevolent fraud" category of Odd-balls. Archie claimed he was the son of a Scotsman and an Apache woman and that he was born in Mexico. He was actually born in England in the late 1880s, raised by his stern aunts to be a proper gentleman. His childhood reading about North American Indians motivated him to move to Canada at 18 where he joined the rush to hunt for silver in Northern Ontario. Naive young Archie nearly lost his life in the wilderness because his proper English background did not prepare him for living in the wilds of Canada. Luckily he was near a band of Ojibway, who took him under their wing and taught him their ways. He began to trap and work as a guide and gradually took on the persona of "Grey Owl". World War One interrupted his trapping career until he was shot in the foot and inhaled some mustard gas. When he returned to the trapping and guide business he eventually met a Mohawk woman and lived with her in the woods. During one of his trapping seasons he came upon some beaver kits who had been orphaned and he raised them. This experience moved him to give up his trapping career and he began to champion the cause of conservation. He wrote popular articles for the English periodical Country Life and was eventually invited to go on a speaking tour, including a presentation to King George the Sixth. Grey Owl's career as a conservationist, lecturer and writer finally came to an end when he died in 1937 of pneumonia at his cabin on Lake Ajawaan in Saskatchewan.

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