||May 6, 2011
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
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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