Archie Belaney Grey Owl

shared from Robert Webb.

Robert Webb… Archibald Stansfeld Belaney (September 18, 1888 – April 13, 1938), commonly known as Grey Owl, (born in 32 St James Road, Hastings and later living at 36 St. Mary’s Terrace), was a popular writer, public speaker and conservationist. Born an Englishman, in the latter years of his life he passed as half-Indian, claiming he was the son of a Scottish man and an Apache woman. With books, articles and public appearances promoting wilderness conservation, he achieved fame in the 1930s. Shortly after his death in 1938, his real identity as the Englishman Archie Belaney was exposed. The film “Grey Owl” is a 1999 biopic directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Pierce Brosnan in the role of real-life British schoolboy turned Native American trapper “Grey Owl”, Archibald Belaney, and Annie Galipeau as his wife Anahareo, with brief appearances by Graham Greene and others. The screenplay was written by William Nicholson. Archibald Belaney (Brosnan) from Britain grows up fascinated with Native American culture—so much so that in the early 1900s he leaves the United Kingdom for Canada, where he reinvents himself as trapper Archie Grey Owl and pretends to be a First Nations native. Eventually, Belaney becomes an environmentalist after renouncing trapping and hunting. The story of how a lonely boy playing Indian in the woods behind his house in Hastings transformed himself, first into an accomplished backcountry woodsman and trapper in the Canadian wilderness, and then into the renowned author and lecturer Grey Owl continues to fascinate and arouse controversy. “You are tired with years of civilisation. I come to offer you— what? A green leaf.” (Grey Owl’s introductory words to the Royal family on the occasion of his Royal Command Performance at Buckingham Palace on December 10, 1937).

Ray Nickson… A dedication in Hastings Country Park – The car park near Fairlight Coastguard cottages.


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