Saturday, February 5, 2011

Brotherly Love and "Canada's Favorite Indian"

We saw a moving piece about the Attenborough brothers - doing their best, as are we all, to age with grace and dignity. Not Monarchy, no, but definitely royalty of the arts and letters.

Richard and David Attenborough, in 2008

All together: Richard as a youngster, right, with brothers David and Johnny
Richard, David, and their brother Johnny as little boys.

There's more about the brothers and their earlier lives here, including an encounter with Grey Owl, later the subject of a film by Richard Attenborough. The brothers recall meeting the conservationist and author while on a lecture tour - in 1936. It was on the same tour that Grey Owl also visited Buckingham Palace:

On 10 December 1937, on his second British lecture tour, Grey Owl gave a command performance at Buckingham Palace. The tall, hawk-faced man, dressed in buckskins, spoke to the royal family about the Canadian north, about its forests and animals, and about the North American Indians. His royal audience loved the lecture and films, and spoke to Grey Owl for nearly half an hour after his performance. 

The tour was a great success for Grey Owl but exhausting. He developed pneumonia and died, prematurely, in 1938. It was shortly after that "Canada's favorite Indian" true identity was discovered - Archibald Belaney, born 1881, in Hastings, England.

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