I Heard The Owl Call My Name By Margaret Craven
Mark Brain, a young vicar sent to the Native American village Kingcome, in British Columbia, is suffering from a fatal disease, but doesn't know it. The bishop who sent him to Kingcome knows, but didn't tell him because the bishop wants him to live his life to the fullest and not worry about the future he'll never have. Mark struggles to gain acceptance from the natives in the village but pointing out the unit between their beliefs and his own. As he does, he learns about living in harmony with nature and accepting fate from the villagers. He learns of the economic disadvantages and graft that the villagers face: for example, the government has recently outlawed potluck dinners, a native tradition, because they presume that such events promote larceny. The village owns a giant, colorful mask which they have previously refused to sell for several thousand dollars. A white man gets one of the villagers drunk and manages to 'buy' the mask for fifty dollars, even getting a bill of sale for the item. He begins to date a villager, promising to marry her, and takes her to get a makeover. The other villagers are impressed with her new beauty and the fact that she has a white fiancée. Finally, the con man gets ahold of the mask, and discards the villager on the streets of Vancouver to fend for herself. A Mountie arrives and informs Mark that the villager was taken in at a tavern and forced to work as a prostitute until she died of a heroin overdose. Mark spends much time pondering the "depth of sadness": the poverty in the village, the con man's cruelty and misogyny, and the greed that seems to drive the white men. Mark dies, as everyone knew he would, but not before profoundly impacting the village and allowing the villagers to impact him as well. Ironically, he does not from his lethal disease, but in a landslide that crushes his boat.
The Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia believe that when they hear an owl...
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