Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit

Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit

Kristin Gleeson


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Whether she was a small town First Nations girl or an international celebrity promoting wilderness conservation, Anahareo always followed her own mind.

Growing up with the name Gertrude, an Algonquin/Mohawk girl in a small Ontario town during the First World War, Anahareo was more at home climbing trees and swimming in the river than playing with dolls or sewing samplers. When she was nineteen, she convinced her father to let her work at Camp Wabikon, a vacation spot for New Yorkers hoping to experience the wilderness. There she met charismatic trail guide, Archie Belaney. With his long hair and buckskin pants, Archie symbolized everything she desired — an adventurous man of the wilderness. Archie wasted no time in inviting Gertrude to see his traplines in the bush. That decision would change her life forever.

This book is illustrated with more than 30 archival and family images.

In this meticulously researched book, we see how Anahareo, a vibrant Iroquois woman, lives her life passionately in the face of the Aboriginal stereotypes of her day and, ‘bucking the wind’ to the end, makes her eloquent pleas for a thoughtful and compassionate interaction with the world around us.
— Jane Billinghurst, Author of Grey Owl: The Many Faces of Archie Belaney

Kristin Gleeson was born to write. …one hell of a story… I know my mother, Anahareo, would love her book as much as I do.
— Katherine Moltke

She has captured the nature of what my mother, Anahareo, was: a woman born a bit before her time in the fact that she was … the first to take on the cause for animal rights in Canada.
— Anne (Bernard) Gaskell


Kristin Gleeson:

Originally from Philadelphia, Kristin Gleeson lives in Ireland, in the West Cork Gaeltacht, where she teaches art classes, plays harp, sings in an Irish choir and runs two book clubs for the village library. She holds a Masters in Library Science and a Ph.D. in history, and for a time was an administrator of a national denominational archives, library and museum in America.

Myths and other folk tales have always fascinated her and she combined her love of these tales with her harp playing and performed as a professional harper/storyteller at events in Britain, America and Ireland.