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I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret…

I Heard the Owl Call My Name (1967)

by Margaret Craven

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A lovely little tale, set among an isolated Indian tribe in the Pacific Northwest. Craven writes lyrically, poetically, and draws beautiful pictures of a wilderness that not many of us will ever see, let alone survive in. I did enjoy the setup of the tale - young idealistic vicar goes to stay among the Indians, presumably to guide and teach them, and ends up learning far more from them - but since I generally take exception to the invasion of Western religions into these ancient First People cultures, I squirmed a bit. There is no doubt that the tribe is helped by modern civilization - a "hospital boat" arrives periodically to administer to the sick or aging, and give vaccinations to the children - but it seems an irony that the "help" is rather forced upon them. There seems an overall acknowledgment by all authorities involved that the tribe's survival is ultimately doomed, and this aid seems designed to draw out the agony while compelling them to see the light of Christianity if they wish to live.

Aside from this underlying note of dissonance, the story, even as short as it is, manages to develop several key characters and their affect on the vicar, as they learn to understand and trust one another. Definitely worth a read. ( )
  terriks | Jan 1, 2016 |
Mark Brian, an Anglican priest, is sent to the Indian village of Kingcome in the wilds of British Columbia. Initially he is tolerated by the natives but after sharing their hunting and fishing expeditions, their festivals and funerals, their joys and sorrows, and showing much compassion and aid when emergencies occur, the they open their homes and lives to him. He got as close to them as a non-native is able.

One cold winter evening he heard the owl call his name. To the Indians this was a warning of death and in Mark's case it proved to be true. As he was preparing to return to the white man's world as his assignment was being terminated because of ill health, he was killed by an avalanche. The natives proved their appreciation of what he meant to them by organizing and conducting his funeral.

Even though a novel, this is a wonderful look at the West Coast native culture and the issues indigenous peoples face as they interact with the world outside. ( )
  lamour | Dec 22, 2015 |
I didn't really get a lot out of this, but I'm sure surprised to see it on the Underrated List. It's famous and widely recommended. It was also, I dunno, spiritual or something, which would not work well for me. (I hope the compilers of this listopia are checking to see if the GR librarians need to combine editions.) ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Once in a while you���ll come across a book that will tug at your heart, and will continue to do so long after you���ve put it down. Margaret Craven���s novel, I Heard the Owl Call My Name, is such a book. Mark Brian is a young Anglican vicar sent to an isolated Native village in British Columbia���s Pacific Northwest. He finds a people struggling to keep their culture alive���the young have alienated themselves from their cultural heritage and are adopting a more modern life in the white society. Broken totems poles and burial grounds where the moss-covered bones of their ancestors are left unattended is all that is left of a once noble nation. The young vicar has unknowingly been diagnosed with a fatal disease���it is his journey through the land of the dying and the departed that he will earn the right to a funeral for a king.
A truly wonderful, heart-wrenching story, which will have a permanent place on my shelf of books to read over and over again.
( )
  BooksUncovered | Feb 17, 2015 |
This is one of my favourite books ( )
  fross | Jan 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
In the 1960s, young, terminally ill priest Mark Brian is sent to a remote Kwakiutl parish in British Columbia. Sensitive and respectful, he shares in the peoples' hardships and sorrows and earns their trust. He learns that the Indians are "…not simple, or emotional, they are not primitive." He learns, too, that "there was no one truth [of the Indian]…." The Kwakiutl are consistently referred to as "the Indians." The characters are somewhat romanticized, but this is as true for the whites as for the Kwakiutl.
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This book is for the Tsawataineuk Tribe at Kingcome Village, B.C., and for Eric Powell.
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The doctor said to the Bishop, 'So you see, my lord, your young ordinand can live no more than three years and doesn't know it.'
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Book description
A young minister is sent by his bishop deep into the seacoast wilds of British Columbia to a parish of Kwakiutl Indians called Kingcome. The Tsawataineuk live in an inlet village and take their sustenance from the sea and from the forest. The bishop has not told him this, but the priest has only two years left to live.
Among the vanishing Indians, Mark Brian learns enough of the meaning of life not to fear death. Through his faith and humanity, he becomes part of the village, of the Indians themselves, and witness to their rituals and beliefs and the gradual disintegration of a culture.
then, on a cold winter evening, when he hears the owl in the forest call his name, he understands what is going to happen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440343690, Mass Market Paperback)

Amid the grandeur of the remote Pacific Northwest stands Kingcome, a village so ancient that, according to Kwakiutl myth, it was founded by the two brothers left on earth after the great flood. The Native Americans who still live there call it Quee, a place of such incredible natural richness that hunting and fishing remain primary food sources.

But the old culture of totems and potlatch is being replaces by a new culture of prefab housing and alcoholism. Kingcome's younger generation is disenchanted and alienated from its heritage. And now, coming upriver is a young vicar, Mark Brian, on a journey of discovery that can teach him—and us—about life, death, and the transforming power of love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A terminally ill Anglican priest and his assignment in a coastal Indian community in British Columbia. The nonfiction story behind this book is told in Again Calls th Owl (1984). Best Books for Young Teen Readers. A young minister who has two years to live learns about the meaning of life when he is sent to an Indian parish in British Columbia.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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