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Grey Owl
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    (September 18, 1888-April 13, 1938)
    Born in Hastings, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Archibald Belaney
    Emigrated to Canada (1906)
    Spent time with the Ojibwe Indians
    Served as a sniper with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in World War I
    Became a conservationist after adopting a pair of orphaned beaver kits (1926)
    Appeared in the Canadian National Park Service film 'Beaver People' (1928)
    Became 'caretaker of park animals' at Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan (1932)
    Wrote 'Men of the Last Frontier' (1931), 'Pilgrims of the Wild' (1934) and 'Tales of an Empty Cabin' (1936)
    Shortly before leaving for Canada, he was fired from his job as a clerk with a timber company when he nearly burned down the company's office by setting off fireworks in the chimney.
    He married four times without bothering to divorce his first wife.
    Before becoming a conservationist, he was a hunter and trapper.
    He drank heavily, which caused conflicts with Park Service personnel.
    He claimed to be half-Scottish and half-Apache and to have been born in Mexico while his parents were performing there with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
    He also falsely claimed to have been formally adopted into the Ojibwe tribe.
    He dyed his hair black and darkened his skin with henna.
    Some of his 'native' costume had been bought in England, where it was sold as an exotic novelty.
    In his writings, he condemned 'half-breeds' who passed themselves off as white.
    He was abandoned by his parents and raised by his paternal grandmother and two aunts.
    During World War I, he was shot in the foot and developed gangrene.
    The Times Literary Supplement wrote about 'Men of the Last Frontier,' 'It is difficult to recall any record of the great North so brilliantly and lovingly handled.'
    He encouraged Canadians to preserve the northern wilderness.
    During a speaking tour of England, his aunts recognized him, but decided not to blow his cover (1935).
    During another tour, he was invited to the royal court and made a presentation to King King George VI and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret (1937).
    He wrote, 'You belong to nature, it does not belong to you.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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