Grey Owl


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Armand Ruffo creates a complex and wonderfully textured portrait of one of Canada's most fascinating public figures in Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney. This unique, accessible collection of narrative poetry examines a dynamic, often contradicory, always fascinating man who reconstructed his character to deliver his message of conservation to the world.

Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney is a compelling study of an intriguing character – a white man who assumed a native "voice" to promote his ideas and ideals to an international audience. In turn, the book raises difficult questions about identity and voice, aboriginal culture, human rights, and the environment.

Ruffo draws on extensive archival research, and family memories – Grey Owl lived for three years with Ruffo's grandmother's family in the small northern Ontario community of Biscotasing – to offer new insights about the man and his mission. With clear, direct, and evocative language, Ruffo writes from Grey Owl's own perspective as well as from the viewpoints of women he loved and men with whom he worked. The poems detail both his professional achievements and his personal failures.

Ruffo brings a deep understanding of aboriginal thought, excellent research skills, and a mature craft to this collection. Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney marks a significant contribution to aboriginal writing and to Canadian literature.