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May 6, 2011

Book includes Mattawa’s Gertrude Bernarnd

In a recent article I recognized the important role of native women at the Hudson’s Bay Company’s location on Hudsons Bay as mentioned in a recent novel(April 22). I also wrote about  the remarkable achievement of  Temagami’s Sandra Laronde and her Red Sky production company (April 21). 

I have also written articles in the past about Anahareo ,Grey Owl’s inspiration, from Mattawa where there is a display on her at the Museum and a Street named after her. For the articles about her see them online by Googling Heritage Perspectives & using the index to look at June 15, 2000, June 16, 2006 & June 30th 2006. 

Cover of Recollecting: Lives of Aboriginal Woman of the Canadian Northwest and US Borderlands.

I have had a lot of correspondence and a visit from Dr. Kristin Gleeson and American scholar who lives in Ireland. She is has written  a book on Anahareo which is finished and looking for a publisher. She visited Canada for information  and I travelled with her to Temagami where she researched Anahareo & Grey Owl. Albert Lalonde Grey Owl’s grandson accompanied us on that trip.

Kristin has also written an excellent article on Anahareo in a new book of 12 articles on native women called Recollecting: The Lives of Aboriginal Women (Athabaska University Press 2011). It is also available as an ebook. It is also available online at Aupress.ca/index.php/books/120181 

The Gleeson article called Blazing Her Own Trail: Anhareo’s Rejection of Euro-Canadian Stereotypes is 24 pages long with 5 pages of references. Kristin visited archives, museums, and many people who knew Anahareo & this information is used in the article which provides an excellent profile of Anahareo’s ups & downs and ultimate recognition. 

While in Mattawa Kirstin visited Dolly Bernard, Anahareo’s cousin, and Mitzi Whalen, a family friend along with other research. 

Among the current book’s many insights is the fact that Anahareo’s name Gertrude Bernard was French but she was not a Metis-both her parent were native. It was one of the church’s traditions to drop the native name. Gertrude was known as Gerti or as Pony until the Anahareo name developed under Grey Owl’s direction. 

Anahareo struggled to preserve Grey Owl’s work and tried to get movies made without success. She did eventually write her popular  book Devil in Deerskins in 1972. It was late in her life that she became active in various environmental causes. She received the Order of Canada in 1983 shortly before her death. 

Anahareo’s second marriage was difficult but she was friends with her daughter Dawn with Grey Owl and her other daughters Anne and Katherine. She also returned to visit Mattawa  friends and family . 

The article, as will the pending book with lots of  additional information  and the Mattawa Museum display will preserve Anahareo’s remarkable life as an early independent feminist with a mind of her own .She certainly deserves any recognition she gets.

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