Devil in Deerskins

My Life with Grey Owl

Anahareo (Author), Sophie McCall (Afterword)


Anahareo (1906-1985) was a Mohawk writer, environmentalist, and activist. She was also the wife of Grey Owl, aka Archie Belaney, the internationally celebrated writer and speaker who claimed to be of Scottish and Apache descent, but whose true ancestry as a white Englishman only became known after his death.

Devil in Deerskins is Anahareo’s autobiography up to and including her marriage to Grey Owl. In vivid prose she captures their extensive travels through the bush and their work towards environmental and wildlife protection. Here we see the daily life of an extraordinary Mohawk woman whose independence, intellect and moral conviction had direct influence on Grey Owl’s conversion from trapper to conservationist. Though first published in 1972, Devil in Deerskins’s observations on indigeneity, culture, and land speak directly to contemporary audiences.

Devil in Deerskins is the first book in the First Voices, First Texts series. This new edition includes forewords by Anahareo’s daughters, Katherine Swartile and Anne Gaskell, an afterword by Sophie McCall, and reintroduces readers to a very important but largely forgotten text by one of Canada’s most talented Aboriginal writers.


“Anahareo has long been overshadowed by the influence of–and especially the scandal surrounding–Archie Belaney, and this is a real shame because her book is a wonderful piece of writing, one that deserves to be studied alongside other classics of Aboriginal literature such as Campbell’s Halfbreed and Mosionier’s April Raintree.”

Warren Cariou,, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba

"Devil in Deerskins was first published in 1972, and this new version, which includes forewords by Anahareo's daughters and a lengthy afterword which gives us the historical context for her life, is the first book in a new series called First Voices, First Texts. An auspicious beginning."

Patty Osborne, Geist

“The new edition is indeed impressive: the quality of the production, including everything from paper stock to design is outstanding. It is a book that simply feels good to hold.”

Armand Garnet Ruffo, The Canadian Journal of Native Studies


Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award (2015)

About the Authors

Anahareo (1906-1985) was born Gertrude Bernard in Mattawa, Ontario. For her work in conservation she was admitted into the Order of Nature of the Paris-based International League of Animal Rights in 1979 and received the Order of Canada in 1983.

Sophie McCall is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University.

Table of Contents

List of Photographs
Foreword by Katherine Swartile
Foreword by Anne Gaskell

Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl
by Anahareo

Reframing Anahareo’s Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl
by Sophie McCall

Works Cited

University of Manitoba Press is grateful for the support it receives for its publishing program from the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund; the Canada Council for the Arts; the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, and Tourism; the Manitoba Arts Council; and the Aid to Scholarly Publishing Programme.