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Grey Owl

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Sep 23, 2019

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Grey Owl
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  • [whinnies]
  • [no audible dialogue]
  • Come in.
  • Excuse me, sir. You won't know me.
  • Cyrus Finney, North Bay Nugget.
  • Um, that's a newspaper.
  • [man over intercom] Three minutes, Mr. Grey Owl.
  • This won't take a moment.
  • I'm trying to trace a fellow by the name of Archie Belaney.
  • Mm-hmm.
  • Do you know him?
  • Yes, I know him.
  • -What took you so long? -I had to be sure.
  • [inhales] What do you want to know?
  • Whatever you want to tell me.
  • Not much to tell.
  • He was just a kid with a dream of livin' in the wilderness.
  • [Finney] And no one suspected,
  • even when you were working as a guide?
  • [bird calling]
  • -[man] See anything? -[Archie] Sh-sh-sh-sh.
  • [twig breaking]
  • [chittering]
  • [bird calling]
  • -Aw, geez-- -[growling]
  • [whimpering]
  • [birds calling]
  • Did I get him?
  • I got him. Didn't I, Archie? [chuckles]
  • [murmurs in native language]
  • Well, Mr. Champlin,
  • -he sure is dead. -[chuckles]
  • You're real good at what you do, Archie.
  • You know what? So am I.
  • I'm sure you are, Mr. Champlin.
  • I own a paper mill and a printing business
  • and a couple of book-publishing firms.
  • I am a rich man, Archie.
  • -Wouldn't you like to be rich? -Why would I want to be rich?
  • What you do is, you write a book:
  • An Indian's Life in the Forest.
  • Same as your magazine pieces, only longer. That would make you famous.
  • Hmm.
  • Being famous doesn't interest me, Mr. Champlin.
  • You know how hungry people are out there
  • for your world?
  • The authentic voice from the wilderness.
  • -[man] Congratulations, Harry. Très bien. -I haven't seen you in a while.
  • Couldn't make it last year. Too busy.
  • Here's to my first bear.
  • -You want bear, you want Archie. -Salute, mon ami.
  • Here's a little something to remember me by.
  • Here you are. Archie Grey Owl.
  • Your guide wrote this?
  • "The still hunt is an art perfected by the Indian,
  • who has learned from childhood to move like a shadow,
  • his actions smooth as oil, his senses set to a hair trigger,
  • for the forest is argus-eyed."
  • This is an Indian, writing in a magazine?
  • You want to know something?
  • I'm not here just to hunt bear.
  • This fellow could be a gold mine.
  • Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Something for the dancers?
  • Thank you very much, sir. Good evening. Something for the dancers?
  • [guests chattering, laughing]
  • -Thank you, sir. -Oh, I never pay till I see the goods, buddy.
  • How do I know if this war dance of yours is authentic?
  • The more you pay, the more authentic it gets.
  • [laughing]
  • [chanting in native language]
  • [drums beating, chanting continues]
  • [chanting, whooping]
  • [drum beats accelerate]
  • -[drumming stops] -[whooping]
  • -Terrific! Well done, boys. -[Archie] Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
  • We call that "The Dance of the Dead Men."
  • When the dance is done, and the drums fall silent,
  • we hurl ourselves upon the hated white man...
  • and we kill.
  • But that costs extra.
  • [all laugh]
  • Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs, I hope you've enjoyed our little show.
  • May I welcome you to dinner?
  • [guests chattering]
  • [woman] I read what you wrote in that magazine.
  • You can write. I'm impressed.
  • You can read. I'm impressed.
  • You booked today?
  • You want to go hunting?
  • No. I want to learn about my people.
  • -Who's your people? -Mohawk-- Iroquois Confederacy.
  • First Mohawk I seen dressed like that.
  • Then you've never been in downtown Val d'Or on a Saturday night.
  • Two bucks for the day.
  • Maybe something at the end to show your appreciation.
  • Oh, I can't pay you.
  • So why should I take you?
  • -Men always do what I want. -Sure.
  • Men jump in the lake for just one of your smiles, right?
  • Right.
  • Be back in an hour.
  • [woman whispering] Jump in the lake and I'll give you 50 cents. Right now!
  • You got it, Pony!
  • [laughing]
  • Hmm.
  • -The world of your ancestors. -My ancestors would never have done that.
  • But that's not where we're going, is it?
  • No. Up ahead.
  • Bear Island-- Ojibwa village. See how our people live.
  • -[woman] Your village? -Could say that.
  • Chief kind of adopted me a long time ago.
  • [woman] Can I meet him?
  • He'll think you're my woman, and I brought you for him to inspect.
  • Then we can inspect each other.
  • [men speaking native language]
  • [speaking native language]
  • He's up here. I'll lead the way.
  • [baby crying]
  • This what you wanted?
  • It's not what I expected.
  • [Archie speaks native phrase] It's a hard life they have here.
  • [native language]
  • Shh. Hey. [native language]
  • [Archie speaks in native language]
  • Hey!
  • You young devil! Where've you been for so long?
  • [laughs] Oh, earning a living. Good to see you.
  • -How you doing, Archie? -Oh, Ned.
  • My young brother.
  • Hello, Ned. Some dancing.
  • -Who is this you bring to see me? -Mmm--
  • My name is Gertrude Bernard.
  • Chief Pete Misabi.
  • -I'm honored, Father. -Lovely... very lovely.
  • She's your wife?
  • No, no, no. J-Just a friend.
  • [Pete] When the time is right, you tell him:
  • he bring you to me, and I make the wedding.
  • Uh, Pete, no one's marrying anybody.
  • -He's kinda old, you think? -Well, he does look kind of old.
  • Well, with the life he leads, what do you expect?
  • He's a great hunter, great trapper. He'll provide well for you.
  • You think he's the kind of man a girl can rely on?
  • [laughs] That I cannot say. He's a wanderer, you know.
  • That's why I gave him his name: Wa-Sha-Quon-Asin-- Grey Owl--
  • he who walks by night.
  • -Can you manage? -Yeah, sure.
  • Are you really called Gertrude?
  • You think I'd make up a name like that?
  • So what do they call you? Gertie?
  • Do I look like a Gertie?
  • -I wouldn't know. -I'm called Pony, my father's pet name for me.
  • -Don't ask me why. -Hmm. I won't.
  • How about a good-bye kiss, to show my appreciation?
  • Sure.
  • -That was it? -Takes two to kiss.
  • Hmm?
  • See you around, Archie Grey Owl.
  • [train whistle blowing]
  • [Archie] Ned, come on. Get a move on.
  • There's a wind comin' up. I want to get back before dark.
  • [man] I can only stay here five minutes.
  • Hey, you! Don't I know you?
  • -Do me a favor. Where am I? -You're in Elk River.
  • What the hell am I doin' in Elk River?
  • -It's as far as the railroad goes. -Oh, end of the line, eh?
  • -Yup, end of the line. -[man] Hurry it up, you guys!
  • -Friend of yours? -Never seen him before in my life.
  • Are you the fella they call "Archie Grey Owl"?
  • That's me.
  • I'm Jim Bernard, Pony's father.
  • -What can I do for you? -Well, sir,
  • Pony's been offered a job in Montreal.
  • She's supposed to start next week.
  • -Sounds good. -But she says she's not going.
  • Got this Indian bug.
  • -Wants to live like her ancestors. -Hmm.
  • It's all moonshine.
  • Can't turn back the clock. That life's over.
  • -Nobody lives in the forest anymore. -I do.
  • How the hell do you survive up there?
  • Oh, I don't need that much.
  • The forest looks after me.
  • Brave talk.
  • -Got my daughter all fired up. -She wouldn't last a week.
  • Then why is she planning on goin' up north with you?
  • Oh, I never said that.
  • What Pony wants, Pony gets.
  • Of course, you could always strike camp and go before she knew it.
  • Then you'd be gone.
  • Yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • [panting]
  • [wolf howls]
  • [howling]
  • [whimpering]
  • [blows landing]
  • Archie!
  • -[swearing in native language] -She told me you said I could bring her.
  • Are you out of your bloody mind? What am I gonna do with her out here?
  • -Hell, Archie, I thought you'd want her here. -Don't think!
  • Just take her back with you in the morning. Get her outta here.
  • -Sure, Archie, if that's what you want. -That's what I want.
  • -You're goin' back with Ned in the morning. -No.
  • I didn't invite you here. I don't want you here. I'm telling you to go.
  • -I'm telling you I won't. -I don't have time to nursemaid you.
  • -Fine. Don't. -Then you'll die.
  • -So I die. -I mean it!
  • You don't know what life's like here.
  • It's hard and it's dangerous. Tell her, Ned.
  • Sure is hard and dangerous.
  • -This is no life for a woman. -[Pony] I'm not going.
  • So either you tie me up and have Ned carry me back,
  • or I stay right here.
  • [cries out]
  • [snarling]
  • What are you doing?
  • Making a torch.
  • What for?
  • Hunting.
  • -Can I come? -No.
  • [door shuts]
  • [speaks in native language]
  • If you don't like it, you don't have to watch.
  • I'm okay.
  • My people were hunters once.
  • -Do you have a Mohawk name? -Yes.
  • I'm named after my great-grandmother, Anahareo.
  • How come you're called Archie?
  • I'm a half-breed.
  • How else do you think I got these blue eyes?
  • My mother was Scottish.
  • I didn't know that.
  • You have a problem with that?
  • -No. No problem. -That's all right then.
  • -You want some? -Huh?
  • Yeah, okay.
  • You ever been married, Archie?
  • [Archie] Twice.
  • -What happened? -Oh, nothing.
  • We spent some time together
  • and moved on.
  • Why get married if you know you're going to leave?
  • Why get married if you know you're gonna stay?
  • That's the old way--
  • marry when the time comes to part,
  • like a warrior going to war,
  • a hunter leaving on a long journey.
  • Just put it down there. Thank you.
  • That way you keep a piece of each other forever.
  • I love it when you tell me about the old ways.
  • [Archie] How do you know I'm not just making it up?
  • I know when you're faking it.
  • Oh?
  • Like when?
  • When you grunt at me like you don't want me around...
  • [scoffs]
  • ...and I know you do.
  • [wind whistling]
  • This used to be a beaver dam.
  • Some stinking white men, call themselves trappers,
  • been using dynamite in my territory.
  • No Indians would do this.
  • We don't take the kittens.
  • We don't destroy the lodges.
  • Soon there'll be no beaver left.
  • -How much further? -A good way yet.
  • I'm getting cold.
  • We'll go across the lake. It'll get us back before dark.
  • Snow's coming.
  • Spread your weight, slide.
  • -Don't get too near now, okay? -Okay.
  • Whatever you do, don't stop. May be some soft spots.
  • You're going too fast.
  • I can't keep up.
  • Will you wait?
  • Archie!
  • I can't go on! I have to rest!
  • [cracking]
  • [whimpers]
  • Archie!
  • -Don't move! -Archie!
  • Don't move! You'll make the hole bigger!
  • [screaming]
  • -[shuddering] -Don't move! Don't move!
  • [sobbing] Help me!
  • -Don't move. Stay still. -Help me.
  • Look at me. Look at me, Pony.
  • Don't struggle. Don't struggle!
  • Stay right here. Stay with me, Pony.
  • -Grab this belt. Grab this belt. -[screams]
  • Pony, hold on. Don't move.
  • Grab it! Come on.
  • -Pony. Pony. -I can't.
  • I can't feel my legs.
  • I can't feel my legs.
  • -[grunting] -Come on. That's it. That's it. You're free.
  • -[sobbing] -Come on. You're gonna be--
  • -Help me! Come on! -Come on.
  • [continues sobbing]
  • Shh. Shh.
  • -Hold this. Come on. -[whimpering]
  • -Come on! Stay with me! -[sobbing]
  • -I can't. I can't get up! -Get up. Get up, Pony!
  • -Get up! Get up. -I can't!
  • Pony, get up. Come on, Pony, please.
  • -[sobbing] -Come on.
  • Walk!
  • Don't stop or you're gonna lock up! Come on, run!
  • Run! Get up!
  • Get up! Get up!
  • Get up! Get up!
  • Get up. Run. Run. Run!
  • Pony, keep moving. Keep moving, Pony.
  • -Get up! Get up! Get up, Pony! -I can't!
  • -You're gonna freeze. Keep moving. -[sobbing]
  • [panting]
  • I'm so sorry. Pony, don't die on me.
  • Don't--
  • Pony.
  • Pony, I'm such a fool.
  • There we go, Pony. There we go.
  • Stay warm.
  • Stay warm.
  • Nenemoosha. Nenemoosha.
  • -Archie? -Right here.
  • I guess I'm not as tough as I thought.
  • You did fine.
  • You're still alive.
  • You were stroking me.
  • Trying to get you warm.
  • I liked that.
  • I liked that too.
  • I swore I wouldn't.
  • Why not?
  • I don't know.
  • You're afraid I'll fall in love with you.
  • Don't worry. I can look after myself.
  • I guess I've always been alone.
  • [sighs]
  • But it's okay, me being here now,
  • -isn't it? -Yes.
  • Better than okay.
  • If we can make each other happy, Archie,
  • let's do it.
  • It's not as if it's so easy to find.
  • Yeah.
  • What was that word you called me?
  • Some Indian word.
  • Nenemoosha.
  • What's that?
  • [scoffs] It's just a word.
  • I like it.
  • [honking]
  • [peeping]
  • What's that?
  • What?
  • That.
  • [Archie] It's called a dream-catcher.
  • [Pony] What's it for?
  • You hang 'em up for babies,
  • newly married couples.
  • Bad dreams get caught in the web,
  • good dreams go through.
  • -Do Mohawks have dream-catchers? -Sure.
  • And all I have is a Mohawk name.
  • I need more.
  • Best of all, beaver.
  • So few left, they fetch good money.
  • But the season's over. You said.
  • What's here won't even pay off my loan.
  • We have to live too, you know?
  • There's no guarantee anyone will buy my book.
  • Why won't you let me read what you're writing?
  • It's not done yet.
  • -Am I in it? -[chuckles]
  • Why would you be in it?
  • If I was writing a book, you'd be in it.
  • Yes.
  • You're in it.
  • Laid a trap here this morning.
  • Bit of luck, got us another beaver pelt.
  • The one up in the dam there.
  • That's it. This side.
  • See what we've got here.
  • -Ah, bitch! -What is it?
  • -Trap and chain broke free. -The beaver got away?
  • No, it'll be down there with the trap.
  • Ten bucks shot to hell. Aw, damn!
  • Come on. Come on.
  • [whimpering]
  • Ahmik. Beaver kittens.
  • [Pony] Where is their mother?
  • She's down there in your trap, isn't she?
  • She's drowned, isn't she?
  • Most likely.
  • -How are they going to live without her? -They're not.
  • They aren't weaned.
  • They'll slowly starve to death.
  • [rifle cocks]
  • -Archie, no. -Don't look.
  • -No! -[gun fires]
  • Never-- Never do that again!
  • -[rifle cocks] -You'll get yourself shot.
  • [kittens whimpering]
  • [whimpering]
  • Shh.
  • Don't worry.
  • Nobody's going to hurt you.
  • [whimpering]
  • Come on. Come on.
  • [clicks tongue]
  • Come on, baby.
  • [sighs]
  • Come on.
  • You don't want it.
  • Why would they?
  • You're not their mother.
  • [kitten whimpers]
  • Can't you even look at them?
  • What for?
  • I'm a trapper.
  • Remember?
  • I'm not trying to get at you, Archie.
  • You said it yourself-- soon there'll be no beaver left.
  • We can't just leave them to die.
  • Everything dies.
  • Flies get eaten by fish,
  • fish get eaten by otters,
  • otters get eaten by wolves.
  • I've seen a bear kill a wolf-- rip out its guts to eat.
  • I've seen men kill bears,
  • and I've seen a man three weeks dead covered in flies.
  • Kill a deer for meat-- I understand that.
  • Kill beaver to make yourself a coat so you don't freeze to death--
  • I understand that.
  • But killing as a trade, to make money--
  • You're better than that, Archie.
  • Forest Indians have always been trappers.
  • -Did they always trap animals for trade? -Sure.
  • Archie, that's not true, and you know it.
  • The old Indian way was you killed only what you needed.
  • It was the white traders who taught us to kill for money.
  • We never even had money before the white man came.
  • You're a woman.
  • You're town-raised.
  • You wouldn't understand.
  • Whatever you say, Archie.
  • [whimpering]
  • [continues whimpering]
  • Go back to sleep.
  • [whimpering continues]
  • [Archie] I don't believe this.
  • He likes you, Archie.
  • [Archie] Well, I don't like him.
  • -Then put him back on the floor. -Mmm.
  • [Pony] I don't think he knows you don't like him. You better make it clearer.
  • [Archie] Get lost, fuzzy face.
  • [Pony chuckles] That's telling him.
  • Archie. Archie!
  • -Yeah? -I can't find one of the micks.
  • -He'll be around somewhere. -It isn't.
  • I've got one, but where is the other?
  • [sighs]
  • Mick, mick.
  • Mick, mick. Mick!
  • [makes kissing sounds] Come on.
  • Mick. Mick.
  • -Mick, mick. Mick. -Pony.
  • -How far could it have got? -Oh, quite a way.
  • -Can't you track it or something? -In snow, maybe.
  • Now it could be anywhere.
  • Might it get as far as the trapline?
  • No. No way.
  • Oh, God.
  • [panting]
  • -[trap snaps shut] -[kitten whimpers]
  • [whimpering continues]
  • No!
  • -[trap snaps] -[kitten squeals]
  • [grunting] No.
  • I'm sorry.
  • Oh, dear Jesus, I'm so sorry.
  • Archie, I found him. He came back.
  • -They're playing in the cabin. -You found him?
  • [whispering] What happened?
  • You thought it was--
  • Oh, yes.
  • Oh, Archie.
  • I've quit.
  • I know.
  • No more trapping.
  • I love you, Archie.
  • [Archie] You all set? Sure you got everything?
  • [Pony] I'm sure.
  • All right.
  • You said they hang them up for babies and newly married couples?
  • That's right.
  • What happens when you aren't a baby anymore or a new-married?
  • I guess you handle your own dreams.
  • [men chattering]
  • Hear you got a girl.
  • [chuckles] News travels.
  • Good winter?
  • [Archie] You tell me, Gus.
  • So where'd you find these? Out Abitibi way?
  • Hey, squaw man, I'm talkin' to ya.
  • -You have a problem? -Yeah, I have a problem.
  • Some thievin' redskin's been trappin' our territory.
  • -Now, where'd you find these pelts? -Seventy-two.
  • Hey, squaw man, don't turn your back on me.
  • Hey, boy, step out.
  • You've been raiding our traplines?
  • No Indian does that to m-- [groans]
  • You boys better leave.
  • Be seein' you around.
  • [door bells ringing]
  • Ignorant savage shake in shoes.
  • So, uh, Archie,
  • by my tally,
  • you tally up 290.
  • You owe me another 20.
  • [sighs] Do me a favor, Gus.
  • -Make it $20 and the postage for my book, okay? -Sure.
  • They're the bastards that've been poaching my traplines,
  • wipin' out the beaver.
  • Poison, dynamite-- it's all the same to them.
  • You take care of yourself up there, okay?
  • [man] That's it, ladies and gentlemen.
  • -[Archie] Pony. -[man] Step right up, please.
  • Pony.
  • [man] Thank you very much. You'll have to hurry now.
  • -You didn't get enough for the pelts. -Couldn't even clear the debt.
  • A whole winter's work.
  • -Still 20 bucks down. Sorry. -[man] There's a pile in there to the right.
  • Stack it right inside there.
  • -I don't know what we do now. -[man] There ya go.
  • Come along now. Step up, please.
  • You like to move up now.
  • I do.
  • -Feathers? -Why not?
  • Most Indians are like my dad-- ashamed of what they are.
  • Put a feather in their hair, you're saying, "I'm Indian and proud of it."
  • I know that what brings you good people to Wabikon Lodge is not only the fine cuisine.
  • -[all laughing] -Or the friendly service.
  • The man who's going to speak to you
  • is an Ojibwa Indian who's lived all his life in these forests.
  • [exhales] I can't do this.
  • -He's paying cash. Just think of the money. -Ladies and gentlemen,
  • mesdames et messieurs, he's also the guide who wrote those terrific articles
  • in Forest and Outdoors.
  • Pretty good, aren't they?
  • -Just talk the way you write. -So, ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs,
  • I give you Grey Owl.
  • Thank you.
  • I've not done too much speakin' in public before.
  • To tell the truth, I feel like the snake that swallowed the icicle.
  • [guests chuckle]
  • -[woman] Oh, look! -[beaver kitten whimpering]
  • [guests chuckling]
  • Hello, you two. You come to help me out?
  • These little fellas live with us.
  • We call them the micks.
  • The Ojibwa name for beaver is ahmik, "little talking brother."
  • And they do talk too.
  • -Can you say "hi" to everyone? -[whimpering]
  • Beavers are family-minded, you know.
  • A beaver pair will stay together for life,
  • just like us... some of us.
  • [guests chuckle]
  • We're not planning on holding on to these kittens too long.
  • As soon as they've grown, we'll let them go back into the wild, have some babies of their own.
  • The fact is...
  • I used to trap beaver.
  • But a few weeks ago I quit.
  • Never thought I would.
  • Now I know it's wrong.
  • They're almost extinct.
  • Too many trappers, not enough beaver.
  • When the beaver have gone from the north--
  • Well, maybe you don't know it, but these little fellas make the north the way it is.
  • They build their dams,
  • make their ponds
  • where the moose feed, the muskrats and waterfowl.
  • Come the spring, they open up their dams, let the meltwater run,
  • and you've got an irrigation system a thousand miles wide.
  • Take away the beaver, and you break the chain.
  • So I'm speakin' up for the beaver now.
  • If we don't watch out,
  • they'll just be another extinct species.
  • I guess I feel it more than most because,
  • well, people like me are pretty much an extinct species too.
  • -[guests chuckling] -I can guess you can get along without me,
  • but these little fellas--
  • the world would be a poorer place without them.
  • -[kittens whimpering] -What do you have to say?
  • [guests applaud]
  • [exhales] Never ask me to do that again.
  • -You were great, Archie. You really got to them. -[sighs]
  • [knocking]
  • How 'bout a curtain call?
  • Thank you.
  • [man] It's wild country, way north of the Saskatchewan River.
  • We build you a cabin just the way you want it,
  • and the National Parks Department pays you a monthly salary.
  • -National Park? -Yeah.
  • All 3,000 square miles of it.
  • Why would I want to go there?
  • You want to save the beaver?
  • You could do just that.
  • Establish a colony-- no danger, trapping's forbidden.
  • [Pony] Jim wants the same as you, Archie--
  • to save the beaver before it's too late.
  • We need to get the public on our side.
  • We need politicians to vote funds for the parks.
  • And you could really help us, Archie.
  • And you'd be free to write.
  • What's the problem?
  • It's made for you.
  • You know why I love the forest?
  • I love the forest because it's the last place men aren't in charge.
  • The last wilderness.
  • Why would I want to be a park keeper?
  • Excuse me.
  • My name is Finney, Cyrus Finney.
  • I was very taken by what Grey Owl had to say this afternoon.
  • You obviously know him quite well. Would you mind if I join you?
  • [classical piano plays]
  • Did you know he played piano?
  • I've heard him play. Gimme that.
  • Where'd he learn that? I mean, what else can he do?
  • Why doesn't he tell me anything?
  • I've known Archie since I was four,
  • when my father adopted him.
  • I'd do anything for him, but I'll never understand him, even after all those years.
  • Watch out.
  • So he'll never tell me anything.
  • Maybe not, but I'll tell you two things:
  • Archie's past belongs to him and only him,
  • and you... well, you've lasted longer than any others.
  • [man] Night, Dave. See ya in the mornin'.
  • [Dave] Take it easy, Charlie.
  • -[man 2] Come on, hurry up. -[train whistle blows]
  • Hey, Archie! It's me, Sim Hancock.
  • -Hey, Archie, it's that drunk again. -Hey, wait a minute!
  • -Hey, it's me! -What's happened to this place? Never used to be full of bums.
  • I know it's you, ya bastard!
  • -Remember me, Archie? -Where's Pony?
  • [man] I'll see ya, Charlie!
  • You may have gone native, but I know you!
  • -I know it's you! -Go find Pony. Find her now, Ned.
  • It's time to get out of this place. Tell her we're leaving.
  • [whistle blowing]
  • [man] Lake Ajawaan.
  • Set the canoe down by the dock, will ya?
  • Well, how does it look?
  • Okay. Who built the cabin?
  • Parks Department.
  • But it's the real thing,
  • every detail copied from a trapper's cabin.
  • The real thing, eh?
  • Just don't try to get me into one of those uniforms.
  • [chuckles]
  • It's got everything.
  • Good for the micks.
  • No hunters, no trappers.
  • [both whimpering]
  • It's your new home now. Come on.
  • Come on. Come on.
  • Archie. Archie!
  • The micks are swimming with me, Archie.
  • They're swimming with me!
  • Come on in!
  • Come on.
  • Come on.
  • [man] There he is.
  • Archie Grey Owl!
  • -This is an honor, sir! -Oh, I have to get a picture of this.
  • But I can't if you're standing so far apart.
  • -Oh, please-- -Hawkins here is all the way from England.
  • Bet you didn't know you had fans in England.
  • I've read your articles in Country Life, all of them.
  • -Country Life? -It's a magazine. You have many admirers where I come from, sir.
  • [woman] Here we go. Everybody look at the camera.
  • Move in, Michael.
  • -Here we go. -[shutter clicks]
  • Perfect.
  • [Pony] Okay. I know. I don't like it either.
  • I can't stay here.
  • They didn't do any harm.
  • I should head north,
  • find some real wilderness again.
  • -I have to go. -You keep saying "I." "I can't stay.
  • -I have to go." -You saw them.
  • Strolling in here as if they owned the place.
  • If you don't want attention, why write a book?
  • If you want to be yourself, why dye your hair?
  • You know?
  • Of course I know.
  • You walk back in the cabin with your hair like that,
  • how can I not know?
  • All right.
  • So I'm a fake.
  • Oh, Archie.
  • I don't care if you're going gray.
  • I don't care if you dye your hair red, white and blue.
  • I love you because of what you are...
  • and because you're proud of what you are.
  • Don't you know that by now?
  • [airplane engine droning]
  • Oh, hell. Now what?
  • Archie! [laughs]
  • -You remember me? -Sure do, Mr. Champlin.
  • This is Walter Perry. He's my promotions manager.
  • [Perry] How do you do?
  • That's Jim there. Of course you know him and Joe Oliver.
  • -Hi there, Archie. -And, uh, this.
  • This is for you.
  • Oh, my gosh.
  • [chuckles]
  • You must be Anahareo.
  • How do you know that?
  • You're in Archie's book. You're the heroine.
  • This is really somethin'. I can't believe I'm here.
  • It's as if I walked into the pages of your book.
  • We sent out 50 advance copies.
  • The reactions are terrific, right off the map,
  • -most of all in England. -No one ever read a book by a real Red Indian before.
  • It just amazes people.
  • -It's like the, uh-- -Like a wild animal talking?
  • Yes, exactly!
  • No, no, no, no.
  • It's not-- I-It's--
  • -It's-- I don't mean to say-- -Forget it.
  • It's great for us, Archie, for the parks.
  • Archie's is the first voice anybody's ever heard coming out of the wilderness.
  • Not just a voice, eh, Bill?
  • You bet.
  • Look like you're talking to each other.
  • Say anything. We can't hear you.
  • [camera whirring]
  • It's a beautiful book, Archie.
  • I love it.
  • I just put down what was happening to me, that's all.
  • You called me your wife.
  • Well, you know how it is.
  • I don't want to go offending people.
  • [Bill] Pony? Pony? Look at me,
  • and smile and wave like you're saying, "Hi there, folks."
  • Get lost, folks.
  • [Perry] I really don't need much.
  • Something to feed the fellows writing the profiles.
  • -What profiles? -[Perry] Oh, just the usual stuff.
  • I hear there's a writer out of North Bay working up a big piece on you.
  • "Workin' up"? How?
  • [Perry] Talking to people who know you. Going to places you've been.
  • Let's do this.
  • Okay. You're Ojibwa. We know that.
  • -And you're 40-- -Forty-one.
  • So where were you born?
  • I was born in Mexico.
  • Hermosillo.
  • What about your parents?
  • My father was a Scotsman, scout in the Indian wars.
  • My mother was an Apache, Jacarilla band.
  • Apache? Wait. So you're not Ojibwa.
  • [Archie] No. I lived with the Bear Island Ojibwa for 13 years.
  • Everything I know I learned from them.
  • [Perry] Hmm.
  • -So your father-- -Parents are both dead.
  • -Leave it at that, shall we? -Sure.
  • Your book is gonna be very big in England, Archie.
  • We want to lay on a major promotional tour. We want you there.
  • -England? -You'll appear in full Indian rig.
  • You'll speak. We'll show Bill's film.
  • They'll be crazy for you.
  • No.
  • You don't mean that.
  • You're an author with something to say.
  • You want people to hear it, don't you?
  • Canada is part of the British Empire.
  • London is where the power is.
  • We'll look after you.
  • No! Forget it.
  • What's the problem?
  • You want me...
  • You want me to stand up there
  • and be stared at like some circus freak?
  • Why would I want to do that?
  • Why did you write the book?
  • To make a difference.
  • So now maybe you have to put feathers in your hair.
  • Remember?
  • You want me to go?
  • No, Archie.
  • But everybody has a moment,
  • and right now there isn't anyone else.
  • [sighs]
  • Okay, I'll go.
  • Archie, you told them your father was Scottish.
  • -So? -You told me before it was your mother who was Scottish.
  • No. My father.
  • At Abitibi, last winter.
  • When you were cutting up the deer. I remember it so clearly.
  • -So what are you saying? I'm lying? -No, but--
  • -I should know who my real father was, shouldn't I? -Yes, of course!
  • What does a guy have to do to be left alone around here?
  • -You want to be alone? -It's not you.
  • It's just how I am.
  • Yeah, I know.
  • You're a loner.
  • You have to live in the wilderness.
  • I hear it every day. Great.
  • -So what am I doing here? -It's up to you.
  • -That's up to me? -You do what you want.
  • -If you want to go, go! -Jesus, Archie. Do I have to do it all?
  • All the loving and all the leaving?
  • I guess I thought I could change you.
  • Stupid.
  • I wanted to believe two people can get to know each other...
  • and not have to be alone.
  • That's it.
  • Your turn.
  • What am I supposed to say?
  • If you don't know, then you're not supposed to say a thing, Archie.
  • Not a damn thing.
  • I don't think I'm good for you, Pony.
  • -Maybe you're better off without me. -Oh, great!
  • -You're thinking of me? -Yes.
  • Do me a favor.
  • Don't tell me about me. Tell me about you.
  • How long is this English tour?
  • Three months.
  • A long time.
  • Maybe I should use that time to think about us.
  • Maybe.
  • There's just one thing I'd like to do before you go.
  • [baby crying]
  • May the Great Spirit bless you.
  • May the Great Spirit protect and guide you always.
  • [native language]
  • [native language]
  • Let your marriage be filled with love,
  • happiness, peace and harmony.
  • May you respect and cherish each other,
  • now and always.
  • [native language]
  • It is done.
  • Eat?
  • Eat.
  • My father says "Eat!" [whoops]
  • [all chattering, laughing]
  • [Pony] Marry when the time comes to part.
  • That way we keep a piece of each other forever.
  • Will I see you again?
  • I don't know, Archie.
  • Like I said, three months is a long time.
  • Who knows?
  • I'll look after the micks, of course.
  • Jim will help me.
  • I'll be looking out for you.
  • You do that.
  • -[thunder rumbles] -[ship's horn blaring]
  • [man #1] There he is!
  • -Mr. Grey Owl! -[man #2] This is the famous Grey Owl!
  • -[man #1] Over here! -[man #3] Can you say something--
  • [reporters clamoring]
  • [man] How does it feel to be in England, Mr. Grey Owl?
  • [Archie] Wet.
  • Fifty venues booked so far.
  • Everyone wants to see you.
  • "The New Hiawatha." How about that?
  • Have you heard any more about these profiles?
  • -What profiles? -Someone working up a story on me.
  • Well, hell, Archie. Everyone's doing that now.
  • They've never read anything like this. You really are a star.
  • All we need to do now is work on what you're going to say.
  • I know what I'm going to say.
  • [crowd chattering]
  • I've been looking forward to this for weeks.
  • [piano plays Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"]
  • [native language]
  • I am Wa-Sha-Quon-Asin, Grey Owl.
  • He who flies by night.
  • I come to bring you...
  • a single green leaf.
  • It comes from a faraway place.
  • -[whispering] -[softly] I don't know.
  • Do you hear that?
  • It's called silence.
  • Sometimes I wake up from this dream...
  • at night--
  • this nightmare that there's no more silence.
  • All the lands full of roads.
  • All the roads are full of motorcars, and everyone's sitting there
  • in all this noise and stink.
  • I call out to them.
  • "Hey," I say. "Where is it you're all in such a hurry to get to?"
  • "Away," they say.
  • "We wanna get far away."
  • [equipment humming]
  • Now look at this.
  • -This is where I come from. -[projector whirring]
  • The land of Keewaydin, the north wind.
  • They call it
  • "the far wilderness".
  • There's nothing there,
  • only green leaves,
  • clear streams,
  • sweet air...
  • and silence.
  • Used to make my living trapping beaver.
  • I don't do that anymore.
  • I guess I learned shame.
  • And I learned it from this lady you're looking at now.
  • Her name's Anahareo.
  • If it wasn't for her,
  • I wouldn't be here now.
  • [whispers] Hey, nenemoosha.
  • [laughing]
  • Here's one reason why I love the beavers.
  • You just watch this fellow.
  • Clumsy, comical, right?
  • But you just wait.
  • There. There, in he goes.
  • There, in he goes into the water.
  • Look at him now.
  • There's nothing clumsy about that.
  • Beavers were made for water.
  • Every creature has its rightful place.
  • And in its rightful place...
  • it becomes beautiful.
  • [birds squawking]
  • [horse approaching]
  • [vendor calling]
  • Hello, Archie.
  • Aunt Carrie.
  • Hello, Archie.
  • Aunt Ada.
  • Won't you come in?
  • We liked your book, didn't we, Carrie?
  • -Oh, yes! -Some very nice turns of phrase, we thought.
  • -[Carrie] Yes. -Did you know?
  • [Ada] Yes, of course. Your picture.
  • So like your grandfather.
  • Will you have some tea?
  • -Oh, thank you. -Carrie?
  • You left three weeks after your 17th birthday.
  • I'll bet you were glad to see the back of me.
  • -You do, don't you? -Yes.
  • We were happy to have you. You were a Belaney. Weren't we, Carrie?
  • -Oh, yes. -Carrie?
  • Thank you.
  • After you were gone, it was very quiet.
  • I suppose the years you were here were the happiest years of our lives.
  • [Carrie] Oh, yes.
  • I didn't know.
  • No.
  • One sees these things so much more clearly after a while.
  • [Carrie] We kept your room for you.
  • Ada said, "Leave it the way it is in case he needs to come home."
  • Good heavens, Carrie. That was years ago.
  • You've kept my room?
  • Well, it's not as if one had any other use for it.
  • May I see it?
  • Yes. Of course.
  • We did throw away the dead snakes, I'm afraid.
  • [piano plays "Moonlight Sonata"]
  • [music stops abruptly]
  • Why did my father go away?
  • George was like that. He was always going away.
  • [Archie] What happened to him?
  • He died in America.
  • He loved you, Archie.
  • He called you "little hat."
  • And my mother?
  • [Ada] You mustn't blame her, dear.
  • -She was very young. -And she had no money-- No money at all.
  • -She never came to see me. -[Ada] But she did!
  • She used to watch you play.
  • But we all agreed it was best that you stayed with us.
  • She watched me play?
  • We did what we thought was best, Archie.
  • But if we were wrong, I hope you can forgive us.
  • Of course.
  • Of course.
  • Little hat.
  • [clock chiming]
  • I must go.
  • The car is waiting.
  • We hear you're to see the king.
  • We're so proud of you. Aren't we, Carrie?
  • Oh, yes! And you do look so handsome
  • in your Red Indian costume.
  • -I never meant it to go this far. -I know, dear.
  • Things have a way of just happening.
  • -Will you tell people? -[Ada] Oh, no.
  • We wouldn't want anyone to misunderstand.
  • And there's your wilderness.
  • Is it really true that we might lose it forever?
  • Yes. It's true.
  • Then you must tell everyone.
  • You mustn't mind,
  • but I promised myself,
  • for all the years you gave me.
  • Thank you.
  • [radio announcer] A crusading redskin from Canada by the name of Grey Owl
  • has taken this country by storm.
  • To crown his triumphant British lecture tour of 50 towns and cities
  • he gave a command performance at Buckingham Palace
  • for Their Majesties and the two princesses,
  • Elizabeth and Margaret Rose.
  • The best-selling author opposes the march of progress,
  • which he says will destroy his native lakes and forests.
  • And now, as he sails homeward,
  • we bid farewell to this outspoken "Pilgrim of the Wild."
  • [reporter] Will you write another book, Mr. Grey Owl?
  • [reporters clamoring]
  • Mr. Grey Owl, what-- what did you say to the king?
  • I asked him to stop cutting down our trees.
  • What'd the king say to you, sir?
  • He's been gone a long time. Give his friends a chance to welcome him home.
  • Are you and your wife still together, sir?
  • [speaking native language]
  • -[native language] -Thought you'd never come home.
  • -Oh, I'm not home yet. -We've got big plans for you, brother.
  • -We're so damn proud of you! -Thanks, Mr. Champlin.
  • -Pony not here? -She's uh--
  • We've booked the biggest hall in Canada for your welcome back,
  • and I tell you we could fill it three times over.
  • Now, our first stop is the big Indian powwow.
  • -You'll get one hell of a reception there. -Uh, Mr. Champlin, sir?
  • Excuse me, Mr. Grey Owl. Your papers are in order, sir.
  • Thank you.
  • I wasn't sure you'd be here.
  • I missed you.
  • Me too.
  • Every day.
  • The big tribal get-together is in its final days. I promised you'd show up.
  • -Why? -All the chiefs! The biggest gathering in years.
  • -What's that got to do with me? -You may not realize this,
  • but right now you are the most famous Red Indian in the world.
  • These are your people. You have to be there.
  • Come on, Harry. Let's go.
  • You're sure? I mean, sure sure.
  • Sure, I'm sure. We come over on the boat from Liverpool together.
  • Aye, it must be 20 years or more.
  • His name is Archie Belaney,
  • and if he's a Red Indian, I'm the king of China.
  • Aye, sure.
  • [Archie] I never dreamt there'd be so many.
  • Where are they all from?
  • Mostly from the plains-- Cree and Sioux.
  • I don't wanna do this, Ned.
  • There's nothing to it.
  • See that big tepee?
  • It's the council of chiefs.
  • Go in there,
  • pay your respects,
  • tell you're a hell of a fella.
  • -It's all over. -You know I can't do that.
  • -Archie, they're expecting you. -I never said I'd go. No one asked me.
  • Okay, okay. Only, see,
  • you're not just Archie anymore.
  • It's like you speak for all of us.
  • Ned, give me a few moments with Pony, alone. Do you mind?
  • Oh, sure. Be back in a couple of minutes.
  • -Okay if we walk? -Sure.
  • Pony, listen.
  • I don't know how much time I have left.
  • This is the worst place I could choose to tell you this.
  • But I have to say it.
  • -You know why I can't go in there? -Why?
  • Because I am a fake.
  • Did you know?
  • What kind of fake?
  • Every kind.
  • Okay.
  • I'm not Apache.
  • I'm not Ojibwa.
  • I'm English.
  • English?
  • Born in Hastings, in England.
  • Look, I'm sorry. I just...
  • made it all up.
  • But why?
  • I used to play this game.
  • Went off into the woods by myself.
  • I knew all the names of the tribes... everything.
  • It was a game. Just a kid's game.
  • I wanted to live like an Indian.
  • I came to Canada. The Ojibwa on Bear Island took me in.
  • I'm sorry.
  • I know I should have told you before.
  • I almost did several times.
  • I guess I just didn't want to lose you.
  • You loved me because I was an Indian,
  • and I wanted you to love me.
  • You wanted me to love you?
  • I know it's not worth much now, but...
  • I do love you.
  • You never said that before.
  • Never.
  • I didn't feel like I had the right.
  • Oh, Archie, I don't care.
  • You don't care?
  • I fell in love with you because you lived a different kind of life.
  • Everything you did was real,
  • even the trapping.
  • And you know how I hated that.
  • It seemed to me that every step you took
  • was simple and necessary...
  • and true.
  • Now you tell me you weren't born to that life.
  • You chose it.
  • I love you even more for that.
  • Oh, nenemoosha.
  • What does that word mean?
  • A story from Hiawatha.
  • It means "my sweetheart."
  • My darling.
  • My love.
  • Nenemoosha.
  • [clears throat] Archie?
  • Sorry to bust in, but, uh, the chiefs are waitin' to see you.
  • Tell them--
  • Tell them he's on his way.
  • [everyone conversing]
  • [man shouts]
  • [speaking native language]
  • [native language]
  • My brother said, "It is an honor to meet the man called Grey Owl,
  • who has brought much respect for our people."
  • I'm honored to be here.
  • [chuckles]
  • [laughing]
  • [scattered laughter]
  • [everyone laughing]
  • [native language]
  • My brother says,
  • "Men become what they dream.
  • -You have dreamed well." -Mmm.
  • Soon we will dance. We would like for you to dance with us.
  • -Hey. -[everyone agreeing]
  • [singing in native language]
  • [everyone joins in]
  • [music continues]
  • Come in.
  • [man] Excuse me, sir. You won't know me.
  • Cyrus Finney, North Bay Nugget.
  • That's a newspaper.
  • [man over intercom] Three minutes, Mr. Grey Owl.
  • This won't take a moment.
  • I'm trying to trace a fellow by the name of Archie Belaney.
  • Mm-hmm.
  • Do you know him?
  • Yes, I know him.
  • What took you so long?
  • I had to be sure.
  • Mmm.
  • What do you wanna know?
  • Whatever you wanna tell me.
  • Not much to tell.
  • He was just a kid with a dream of livin' in the wilderness.
  • And that's a fine dream.
  • And no one suspected,
  • even when you were working as a guide?
  • If you think what I've done is wrong, Mr. Finney,
  • -you must write that in your-- -North Bay Nugget.
  • North Bay Nugget.
  • But before you do,
  • perhaps you'll listen to what I have to say tonight.
  • [audience applauding]
  • -Never had an audience this big before. -[scattered chuckles]
  • Makes me ask myself,
  • "What's the big attraction?"
  • Is it this?
  • Real eagle feathers.
  • Beautiful, isn't it?
  • Or this?
  • Ojibwa beadwork
  • from Bear Islands,
  • Lake Temagami.
  • Or this...
  • a gift from the chief of the Sioux peoples.
  • Or this.
  • I guess that's about as far as I can go.
  • [audience chuckles]
  • Is it me?
  • I don't think so.
  • I'm not entitled to wear this war bonnet.
  • I'm not a hero or a prophet.
  • Like most of us, I've done what I've had to do to get by.
  • The only thing that gives me the courage to stand before you tonight
  • is the knowledge, the certainty,
  • that what I'm saying is crucial to our survival.
  • We're not the lords of this earth.
  • We're its children.
  • We lie in the lap of Creation,
  • in the strong arms of a spirit greater than our own.
  • You know I'm gonna say, "Protect the beaver."
  • You know I'm gonna say, "Stop cutting down the forests."
  • You know I'm gonna say, "The money you get isn't worth the price you pay!"
  • But here's some more.
  • If we can say
  • that there are some things that are not for sale,
  • that there are some things that belong to all of us,
  • and to future generations,
  • then maybe other people will hear us and begin to say it too.
  • And someday there'll be enough of us, and we'll believe that it can be done,
  • that we can change the world.
  • So why don't we start in our own country?
  • In Canada.
  • Here. Tonight.
  • Bravo!
  • Bravo!
  • Bravo!
  • -Bravo! -[everyone cheering]
  • [Finney narrating] He never spoke in public again.
  • That night, when we watched Archie strip away
  • all pretense of being an Indian,
  • I knew that what he was saying
  • was far more important than who he really was.
  • Afterwards, he slipped silently into the night
  • and went back to his remote cabin on Lake Ajawaan.
  • He died there, suddenly, of pneumonia
  • two years later, in April 1938.
  • In recognition of what Archie was trying to achieve,
  • the North Bay Nugget agreed to hold my story while he lived.
  • They ran it the day after he died,
  • and it made front page all over the world.
  • Pony never stopped campaigning against trapping
  • and, slowly, because of what she and Archie did,
  • there were laws passed to protect the beaver,
  • and they returned to the lakes and streams of Canada.
  • But once his true identity was revealed,
  • Archie's early warning about the natural world,
  • about keeping it safe for future generations,
  • was quickly dismissed
  • and then conveniently forgotten.
  • Only many years later,
  • when the truth could no longer be ignored,
  • did he come to be seen...
  • as a man ahead of his time.
  • ♪ ♪

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Description

Archibald Belaney was a British man who grew up fascinated with Native American culture -- so much so that in the early 1900s he left the United Kingdom for Canada, where he reinvented himself as Archie Grey Owl and lived in the wild as a North American Indian trapper. He eventually became an environmental activist after renouncing trapping and hunting. Grey Owl is based on Belaney's true story, starring Pierce Brosnan in the title role. In 1934, Archie was living a largely solitary life when he met a young woman named Anahareo (Annie Galipeau), an Ojibway Indian nicknamed Pony. Pony is fascinated by Archie, largely because she wants to know about her people's heritage. Her father, Jim (Graham Greene), is a businessman who wears a suit to work and has little concern for his history; in Archie, Pony sees a link to her past that she can't find in her family. Archie has little use for Pony at first, but in time the two begin to bond, and it's Pony who convinces Archie to give up trapping and work to protect animals. She also encourages Archie to write a book about wilderness life in Canada. The book becomes a huge success and makes Archie something of a celebrity, but with recognition come nagging questions about Archie's true heritage. (In reality, Archie Grey Owl's true idenity did not become public knowledge until after his death.)

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