Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 11, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tutidoy, July 11, 1972 THE LETHBRIDGf HERALD 5 Grey Owl-Canadian conservationist By Barry Penhalc, In Tlie Forest Sceue long recognized only by a meagre number of oul-door-minded invididuals and Canadiana seekers, Canada can proudly claim an historical figure that In truth outclassed Robin Hood, Paul Bunyan, Davey Crockett, and any other notable and romantic figure of eras past. Not a master swordsman, ab- normal physical giant, or event- ually and posthumously a mov- ie star in contrast lo the afore- mentioned trio, our choice as the outstanding adventurer of all time was none of these things. What then made him so spe- cial as lo outrank in worthy achievements the countless more-publicized adventures of outdoor heroes? To begin I he telling of his astounding story, we must go to the town of Hastings in Eng- land, at (he turn of the cen- tury. Imagine, an imaginative English schoolboy, formally trained at both school and home but with an overpowering ob- session to live Indian-fashion in the Canadian bush country. At seventeen years of age, in the spring of 1905, the youth, Archibald Belaney, set sail for the land of his dreams. Arriving in Canada at Halifax, he made his way to Toronto, where after a brief period clerking in a To- ronto drygoods store young Belaney along with individuals from every walk of life, re- sponded excitedly to the cry of "SILVER" that rang out from Ihe settlement of Cobalt, in northern Ontario. Here he commenced his out- door education in the company of back country Indians, trap- pers, prospectors, guides and just plain adventurers. In little time the lanky English lad be- gan to exliibit special skills as a woodsman and guide, as he comfortably supped into the outdoor life that had drawn him with the force of a magnet to North America. At age 22, in the village of Temagami, Belaney met, woo- ed and married a young Ojib- way girl called Angele. The union produced a daughter, but the marriage was short-lived. By 1914, when it is believed lie first arrived in the tiny com- munity of Biscotasing locally called "Bisco" Belaney had become an expert canoeist, trapper and all around woods- man. He could shoot treacher- ous rapids, handle the most dif- ficult of portages and exist oft the land in true Indian fashion. The late M. U. (Mike) Bates, an almost legendary northern Ontario outdoorsman, was Bis- co's most prominent citizen at the time of Belaney's arrival. Bates told this writer, several years ago now, that he had never forgotten his very first glimpse of Archie, by then a striking figure, with buckskins covering a six foot two inch frame and his black hair worn in two braids that dangled down his back. But it was the woodsman's face; weather-beaten, intelli- gent and with features remark- ably Indian, that most impress- ed Bates. Not only had the transplanted Englishman ac- quired the appearance of a North American Indian, and a mastery of woodcraft second lo none, but Bales discovered that he spoke Ojibway fluently. Archie was a better than av- erage rifle shot, but his real talent was In tossing knives, He could throw e. knife at any tar- get, live, moving or otherwise, and lodge the blade into the ex- act spot he had taken aim to hit. Needless to say, it proved more than merely disconcert- ing to train passengers leisurely scanning the countryside from a window scat, to have a wicked-looking knife plunge forcibly into the wooden window trim, scarcely inches away from their noses. By tliis time, Anahereo had entered his life and in memor- able fashion Belaney's future took a momentous turn along the path of destiny. They met at Temagami, though Anahereo herself was from Mattawa, the daughter of Mohawk parents. The adventure-seeking two- some chose to head north by canoe into a district of Quebec reputed to bo heavily populated by furbearing animals. They upon reaching their destination after an arduous trip, that fur signs were few, and suddenly the couple's very existence became critical. While making a check of traps one day, Archie and Ana- hereo came across a pair of beaver kits, too small to have any pelt value. Anahereo's in- fluence resulted in the two fur- ry orphans' being brought into the warmth and frontier-style comfort of their roughly con- structed one-room cabin. But a far greater thing was now well underway, namely Archie's conversion from trap- per to conservationist, an event that would shortly have far reaching, and eventually endur- ing, results. Just as the trap- per and killer in Archie died, so too for all practical purposes did Archibald Belaney in the Englishman's place stood Grey Owl defender of wildlife, pioneer environmentalist and soon to be a world recognized author and lecturer. Grey Owl's new role as con- servationist prompted the search for a new home site close to Ihe New Brunswick- Quebec border, in the hope of finding larger beaver colonies. By this time Grey Owl was deeply aware of the threat of extermination facing fur bear- ing animals, particularly the Canadian beaver, and he was determined to come to their de- fence. Widespread use o[ the name Grey Owl and the general im- pression that Archie was an Indian, seem to have been in- troduced in 19.11. Archie chose, to ignore the inaccuracy con- cerning his ancestry and from then on the more he wrote and lectured on the out-of-doors, the more the public spoke o! the amazingly talented and colorful Indian conservationist, Grey Owl! On wrapping paper on what- ever could be found, Grey Owl in laborious handwriting cap- tured the very essence of northern life. It was Anahcreo who influenced him to mail his articles from the nearest com- munity to the foremost outdoor publicalions of lhat time. Edi- tors immediately hailed the woodsman as another Mark Twain. Heviewers lauded his literary lalenls and many of his wrilings were reprinled in early issues of the Readers Digest. It was during this same period that Grey Owl and Analiereo were married by an old Lac Simon Chief in the In- dian tradition, a simple out- door ceremony taking place at a tribal summer encampment on Simon Lake, some CO miles from Senneterre. In the years that followed, Grey Owl shared his love and knowledge of the beaver with persons everywhere, through his live lecture tours, films, magazine articles and such out- door literature classics as "Sajo and Her Beaver People." "Pilgrims of the and "Tales of an Empty Cabin." His lecture tours took him to England where it was said that no American author since the days of Mark Twain, had made such an impact. He was honor- ed with an invitation from the Royal Family to lecture at Buckingham Palace and there he enchanted the King and Queen and their entourage with his stories of the "Beaver Peo- ple." But while his efforts in the field of wildlife conservation were meeting with remarkable success, Grey Owl's relation- ship with Anahereo had ended and he subsequently remarried. Having spent the greatest amount of his life in the woods. Grey Owl was not suited to city life. After a speaking engage- ment in the city of Peterbor- ough, Ontario, Grey Owl was heard to remark that "much more of this and I'll be dead." It was scant weeks before this statement became a reality, as Grey Owl took sick and quickly succumbed to pneumonia. He died in the Prince Albert Hos- pital, April 13, 1938, in his 50th year. Wilhin a couple of days ot his passing, word raced around the world that Grey Owl, the famous Canadian Indian con- servationist, had actually been Archibald Belaney; an English- man. "fraud" and "cheat" were actually some of the milder abusive missiles hurled graveward from around the globe. It would be a sad silualion if this was indeed the end of Grey Owl's s I. n r y. Happily Grey Owl's story is far from com- pletion. 1372 boms as Grey Owl's most important year. Grey Owl's books are selling better now than at any time oilier than when the man him- self was captivating packed au- diences. All his books, and the biographies writlen about liim, are coming hack in attractive paperback editions. A CBC television show and a 60 minute CBC Radio docu- mentary will be presented this year to nation-wide audiences. But Hie biggest news is Ihe an- nouncement of a forthcoming book titled "Devil in Deer- written by Anahereo and inspired by Grey Owl. It's a book that Grey Owl often discussed but never did get to write and as he had plan- ned, it deals with things about himself that he knew instinct- ively could never have been published while he was alive. What does it matter if Grey Owl was a name created to go along with an invented image, so long as the originator of bolh used both for Ihe attainment of victories in the name of con- servation. To Grey Owl, Canadians owe a debt beyond repayment for the valuable legacy ot conser- vation willed us Ihrough his films, talks End writings. Thanks to his crusade on be- half of the beaver, Canadians can take pride in a national sy- mbol that is alive, well and liv- ing within Canada. Grey Owl described his ef- forts this way: "I only seek in this work lo lay a foundalion on which abler hands and wiser heads may later build." E2 Paul Whitelaiv Bi ingualism a crucia issue in Moncton (First of Two Articles) TVrONCTON. bust- ling New Brunswick city used to be called an example of how French and English- speaking Canadians could live together in peace and harmony. But that was before the city's French-speaking Acadian popu- lation about 35 per cent of the residents and tha largest concentration of franco- phones outside Quebec be- gan campaigning for French- language rights. The issue of bilingualism has raised fears in both the Acadian and English communities, stir- red by the anti-French policy of Monclon Mayor Leonard C. Jones and equally strident pro- tests of students at the French- language University of Moncl- ton. Moreover, It raises the cru- cial question of whether the federal government's policies to promote bilingualism across Ihe country are viable if this community with its large francophone population can't come to grips with Canada's bicultural heritage. In several important ways, Moncton is a microcosm o[ Canada's linguistic divisions, with Hie proportion of French and Eng- lish-speaking residents roughly parallel lo that of New Bruns- wick and Canada as a whole. Until four years ago, the is- sue of linguistic rights was sel- dom raised by this city's Aca- dian residents. They ere 100 per cent bilingual, while Ihe English here arc nearly all uni- lingunl. The language of busi- ness and municipal government was English, and a process of gradual assimilation of the Ac- adians by the English majority was underway. However, il was perhaps in- evitable that demands for French language rights would rise in this French enclave as (he fedcial government began promoting bilingualism in areas of the country with even fewer francophones. The New Brunswick government has al- so passed n language rights bill similar lo the Official Lan- Ruafics Act of Iho federal gov- ernment, and lias mode a con- certed effort lo make bilingual services available throughout the province. The first vocal linguistic de- mands were mndc in 1963 by students Til the University of Monclon. They presented a pell- lion to Mayor .Tmes nnd bis council demanding Hint biling- ual municipal services be mado Tiv.iilahlo for Mom.lon's citizens and ratepayers. Mr.. .lows (Inlly rejected Iho students' demands, mid a dem- onstration followed. Two stu- dents received eight-month sus- pended sentences for leaving a pig's head on the mayor's door- step. Perhaps In part because of the mayor's outright refusal to consider the issue, the studenls received the support of many more moderate Acadians. The city hall confrontation, which was filmed for inclusion In the National Film Board's now- famous 'L'Acadie, L'Acadie', served as a watershed for pent up fruslralions and the bilingu- alism queslion escalated to be- come a permanent fact of pol- itical life in Monclon. In the ensuing four years, the demands of the Acadians grew to include successful campaigns for a separate French-language school board and retention of the city's 'French-language hos- pital. It had been threatened by a plan to centralize medical facilities. Last February, Moncton's language debate entered the headlines once again as more than two-thousand people not all students and some of them English marched on city hall lo demand bilingual services. Fifty students entered Ihe coun- cil chamber, and four were ar- rested. Wilh Mayor Jones casling Lhe deciding ballol, Ihe council de- cided by a vote of 54 to take no action on a number of re- quests about bilingualism. These included a suggestion by the local chamber of commerce that a committee be set up to study Ihe need for bilingual- ism. The rekindling of the issue last winter was caused partly by the showing on the French- language CBC television net- work of 'L'Acadie, L'Acadie.' "When the studenls saw the way in which student delegates were treated by the mayor of Monclon it was said University Roclor Adelard Savoie, adding that their reac- tion did not surprise him. After Ihe film was lolcviscd, a citizens' committee on ualism was formed, Ihe cham- ber of commerce decided In suggest a study commiltee, and university Icnchcrs wrolo to cily council requesting bilingu- al services nt city lull. On March 21, Iho council vot- ed to take the requests "under ndviscment." A commillco of cily councillors was set up lo study the question but it didn't hold Its first meeting unlil last month. Mayor Jones nlso np- pointed himself chairman, even I hough ninny people question his impartiality in view of his doubts about tha constitutional.. Hy of fhe federal and New Brunswick Official Languages Acts. Since the spring, the situa- tion has continued to become increasingly polarized, with Secretary of State Gerard Pel- leller making a veiled Ihreat that Moncton might suffer ec- onomic reprisals in regional aid if Mayor Jones keeps up his anti-bilingualism drive. In other incidents, Mayor Jones has refused to allow a sign with the French transla- tion of 'city hall' to be put up on the sile of a city haU-office-hotel complex under construction in the centre of the city. Ironically, the project is financed by L'Assomption Mu- tuelle, au Acadian insurance company. Furlher angering Ihe Acadian population, the mayor returned a certificate in May from a group in Louisiana making him an honorary Acadian while he accepted honorary citizenship in a small Florida community. "I don't see any need for any bilingualism policy or any bi- lingualism said Mayor Jones when we talked recently in his office. "I don't tlu'nk it's necessary and il's not practical." Mr. Jones, a lawyer who lias been mayor since 1S63, thinks that providing French sen-ices for the 35 per cent of Monc- ton's population which i s French-speaking would be loo expensive. In lhat regard, he is backed up by people who signed a pclilion lasl winter who believe lhat bilingual services would be too costly. Rev. Myron Brinton, a Bap- tist minister, spoke to city council on behalf of lire peli- tioners. He noted that "it seems 99 per cent of the people of Monclon speak English. That would indicate lhat many Aca- dians have no knowledge of their own culture and language. Many Acadians lliemselvcs would not qualify for bilingual employment." The mayor's supporters aro apparently drawn from tho city's working anil lower mid- dle classes, according lo Tin ed- itorial wrilcr wilh Hie Times and Transcript the city's morning nnd afternoon papers. Among the English, there is fear that acceptance ot bilingu- nlism nt cily hall would mean loss of Uicir employment to people wlio nro bilingunl. Lawyer Sulvio Savolc, who heads tho citizens committee, for bllingunlisin, retorts that Moncton's Acadinns nre not de- manding that French becunin Ihe working language at city hall or anywhere eke In the city. "What we want is recogni- tion that the city is 35 per cent French-speaking. We want ser- vices available to people who want to deal with city hall in French, but English will always be the predominant lan- guage here. We don't want to put anyone out of a said Mr. Savoie during an interview. "We feel that because we pay taxes we have a right to French language services." Claude Bourque, editor of L'Evangeline, the only French, language daily newspaper in Canada outside Quebec, goes further man that. Mr. Bourque said bilingu- alism should also mean that a fair proportion of Acadians are employed at all levels in city hall. Additionally, he hopes that French-speaking residents will also play a more import- ant role in other areas of Monc- ton life. "Mayor Jones is correct when he says that there are a proportionate number of Aca- dians working for the city, but if you cheek you will find most of them are manual workers or at lower, level he said. "A young Acadian universily graduate just doesn't think of a career at cily hall it's not our territory." He claims there should also be more Acadians with high level jobs at the CNR. which has ils Allanlic regional head- quarters in the city. Mayor Jones tries (o play down the seriousness of the bi- lingualism issue, and noled dur- ing our conversation that he thinks it's "a tempest in a tea- pot." "I don't think (here are enough people desirous of bi- lingual he added. Indeed, many Acadians havo been upset by Ihe strident de- mands of some pro-French ad- vocates, particularly slurienls. Mr. Bourque believes Ihe ret- icence of some Acadians is Iho rcsull of years of assimilation, nnd Uicir origins as refugees from Hie Acadian expulsion by Ilic British from Nova Scotia in 1755. Moncton was a totally Eng- lish city until Itlifl, when (he first Acadinns began moving here lo take jobs wilh Ihe rail- road and now industries. "Since then, we haven't been given any riphls, we've won according to Mr. quc. As their numbers grew, they gradually won (he right lo their own primary schools, alllmu.uli (hero was no stale supported secondary school until Tim following year, the University of Moncton was founded, amal- gamating a number of small, church-run private colleges. The linguistic debate has tak- en on distinct class overtones, and Mr. Savoie noted that most people in favor of increased bi- lingualism are French and English-speaking people with good educations and middle class jobs. But, he believes most Aca- dians here are in favor of more French "even if they haven't been too active in slat- ing their positions." Despite Mayor Jones' conlen- lion that the news media have exaggerated fhe situation in Moncton, the tensions do exist. A Maritime English-speaking Association has been set up, al- though it's meetings aren't pub- licized and are closed to news- men. The group refuses to di- vulge how many members it has. On the French side, L'Ev- angeline last winter received FLQ-slyle notes threatening vi- olence if Mayor Jones doesn't change his stand. The seriousness of the situa- tion was also pointed up last September by the report of the New Brunswick Task Force on Social Development In Ihe un- dcrtaled tones lypical of most government reports, it stated: ''In reality, there are real tensions between the two major (language) groups. At certain levels, it is true, (here has been groHlh in understanding; yet mistrust is still apparent. For the majority of bolh groups Ihe situation is one of soli- existing side by side, or in somo areas living together in the same community, but with far less understanding of one another than is claimed." "There arc fears of loss of the report added, of change in traditional cultural patterns, of threats to lan- guage, nnd of inequality of job opportunity; Iliis is reflected in a suspicion llial each "way of life' is Ihrcnlcncd This general malaise results in dis- crimination (in both sides.1' Mr. Hourque noted I li a t Monclon used lo bo railed an cxnmplo (if how French .and Kuplisli speaking Canadians could live in harmony bcforo Acadinns started demanding French-language rights. "We won'l away, the prob- lem is something lhat has to bo solved." he added, "it comes down, lo a question of how important Iho Idea of Can- ada is lo Ilic people nf Monclon, ;iiid w'.iclhiT Ilic cast of bilingu- iili.Mii is grciilir Ilian Hie worth of the country." Repudiation of Quebec NDP Quebec Le Soldi fPHE next federal election campaign is not off to a good start for the NDP, at least in Quebec. As soon as the Quebec NDP program was known, the nalional leader of the party rushed to denounce it. The Quebec party was aware ils own program was incompatible with HID nalion- al program. Also it refused lo negotiate with the national parly on (he mailer The national party leader, Mr. Lewis, pinpointed the fundamental incompatibility between the two versions the Quebec NDP dwells on the possibility of Quebec separation, while the national party wanls lo reach a national consensus which wUI divert secession. By its oplion, the national party like other federal parties rejects the right of self-determination for Quebec as for every province and the Quebec NDP insists the contrary on this point. Granting this to Quebec would mean alienating the other provinces. That would be the best way of creating an instrument for permanent blackmail in a nation already subject to centrifugal ten- dencies from the co-existence of two great nationalities, regional differences in a vast country and disparate living standards among the provinces. Not only is the socialism of Quebec NDP professors far from the national NDP posi- tion but it Is still further removed from tha Quebec electorate And not only do the Quebec NDP posi- tions fit badly with those of Uio national party but they engender contradictions within the Quebec wing itself. It affirms lhat Ihe Trudeau government is much too timid about American economic influence. It puts forward the "self-determinalion" of Canada in respect to the United States and rejecls at the same stroke the "centraliz- ing federalism" of the present federal government The tensions, not lo say the savage op- position, between the national NDP and its Quebec wing are intolerable In a party which aspires to a minimum of coherence The Quebec NDP program is the reflec- tion of litlle groups of theoreticians who have no chances of rallying much support in Quebec. The acceptance of such a pro- gram by the national party would arouse strong suspicions in the rest of Canada about a party facing such internal conlra- diclions. Rather lhan losing both Quebec and Can- ada, Mr. Lewis had no other choice but to repudiate the Quebec group's positions. On the use of words Theodore Bernstein Shaft. Up from vulgarity, shaft has achieved sufficient respectability in the field of elang so thai officials of a big city can use it casually and a conserva- tive newspaper can indirectly quote them: "Council end board members traded accu- sations about who had 'shatled' whom." As a verb, ihaft means to victimize or treat unfairly; as a noun it means the act of doing so. Originally the word had something to do with shoving a rod, but, as not Infrequently happens, the low be- ginnings have been all but forgotten and the word is acceptable slang. Word oddities. Two similar words, climax and crescendo, have undergone similar misuse over the years. Crescendo has re- sisted the misuse, but climax has been just about converted to tho misusers' meaning. Climax derives from the Greek klimax. ladder, and in ils original sensa denotes an ascending gradation. But the misusers took it to refer to the topmost ruug of (he ladder, and there it has remained perch- ed. Crescendo is from an Italian word based in the Latin crescerc, to grow or increase, and it is essentially a musical term meaning a gradual swelling or in- crease in loudness. Here again the mis- users have taken it lo mean the topmost point. But the primary meaning still pre- vails. Youth-yak. When we kids (ha) use the term to freak out we usually, but not al- ways, are referring to what happens under the influence of a psychedelic drug y'know, the far-out mental reactions, the, like, y'know hallucinations, the cockeyed ecstasies. Sometimes the term is used to refer to the same kind of experience pro- duced any drugs but rather by y'know a show lhat simulates what the drugs do. Then there is the noun freak- out, which means ao out-of-sight experi- ence, a bad trip. Another pronoun problem. A previous column look up the lack of and need for a unisex pronoun in English one that would get around such awkward sentences as, "Everyone packed his or her bag and Ml." A reader, T. D. Martin of Philadel- phia, points out a similar, Ihough sexless, problem that arose in a headline on ona of these columns (not written by the con- ductor, mind It read: "Nobody Likes to Be Ripped Off Do They is a plural pronoun and tho verb do is plural, too, but the antecedent of the pronoun, the word it refers to, Is nobody, which is singular. That headline construction Is common enough in speech, but it Is gram- matically wrong. The remedy in this In- stance is to make it "Docs which is concededly clumsy. A still clumsier solu- tion is to make it "does he or she" (or "does she or The lack of pronouns having common number, to say nothing of common gender, Is a defect of the lang- uage and there's nothing we can do about it except settle for he, she or it or try to reconstruct the sentence to avoid lie prob- lem. In addition to nobody, the difficulty arises with anyone, anybody, each, every- one, everybody, neither, no one, comeone and somebody. Word oddities. What does from hand (o mouth mean literally? Is the literal mean- ing so obvious that dictionaries feel they don't have to bother explaining It In any event, they don't explain it, so the gap will be filled here. The picture seems to be of person who is so Impoverished that as soon as food gels into his hand It goes directly to his mouth. Thus, a man who lives from hand to mouth Is one who doesn't know where his next meal is com- ing from. It is probably not entirely cor- rect to say, as the Oxford Engh'sh Dic- tionary says and as Eric Partridge says in A Dictionary of Cliches, that such a man Is improvident Is it Improvident to eat when one Is famished? Can n starving man ask for a doggy bag? (New York Times) Those red herrings everyone but me understands but nobody seems lo wanl lo explain This business of how heallliy you have lo be lo buy life insurance. As you all know, if you want an insurance policy for an amount that mil leave some chango after the funeral, the company will insist on a medical examination. If the doctor finds any litllo thing lhat suggests you might cash in your chips a bit sooner than the rest of the people your age, the price of Hie policy goes up. That's reasonable, I suppose, as insurance is really a mailer of working (he odds. But have you ever heard of an insurance company wanting a medical examination for someone wish- ing lo buy an annuity? And while on the subject nf insurance, there's a small point nbout automobile in- surance lhat perplexes me, and which even the most obliging ngcnl.s havo been un- willing or unable to explain satisfactorily. (Nolc the last word: Idling me "But that's tho way nil companies do It" doesn't qualify.) My car is about four years old, and every year ils value has depreciated substantially. I wished lo sell il lodny, I'd get something like one-third of whnt I paid for it. But year nflcr year, notwith- standing regular reduction In Iho vnluo the car, my insurance pivmiinns hnve lieen based on the original purchase price. And if it was smashed beyond i-coiiominil re- pair, do you lupposo Iho company would pay off on the purchase price, Ihe one on which ils premium charges are based? Of course not. The very best I could hope for would be what a car dealer would offer for a similar model, fully depreciated for Ihe four years (or maybe Explanation, anyone? Getting off the poor old insurance man's back, there are a few government notions I've always had trouble comprehending. One such crops up every spring, about tha limo you and I are sweating out our in- come tax. It's tliis business of a firm working out. a chap's income lax for him, finding he has a bit of a refund coming and advanciug funds against that refund, heavily discounted of course. The scheme is obviously a profilable one for (lie firm, bill it seems lo excite tho ire of Ihe gov- ernment. 1 confess I cannot see Banks lend money on prospective income, and very cheerfully ndvance It at a discount of course when an expected payment is delayed. Jl's pcrfeclly legal to 'trade in grain and commodity fulures. People be- come rich (and poor) by selling slocks (hey don't own, or buying others they can't pay for. Loan sharks screw unconscionable interest chnrges out of Uio needy every day of Uio ycnr. Pcrhnps someone cnn tell mo why the government picks this particular vonlura lo fuss about. Or is II just another red hcrrhifi?