Her People

A record of the people connected to Anahareo, by blood or by choice.


Where available, this page provides additional details about family members listed on Anahareo's family tree. Some members also have more in depth pages of their own, which can be accessed via links on this page.

François Papineau  • Marie Otickwekijikokwe  • John & Marguerite Nelson  

Catherine Papineau  • John Nelson  • Michael François  • Angelique Ockiping  

Elizabeth Bernard (Decaire)  • Paul & Teresa Bernard  • Catherine Bernard (Salter)  • Matthew Bernard  • Mary Ockiping  

Johanna Bernard (Murphy)  • Eddie Bernard  • Eric Moltke  

Bob Richardson  • Dawn Belaney  • Anne Eagle  • Katherine Moltke

François Kaondinaketch PAPINEAU

ca. 1806—ca. 1854

François Papineau is one of Anahareo’s great-grandfathers on her father’s side. Depending on which version of Anahareo’s ancestry is closest to the truth, he may have been the son of the Mohawk hereditary chief Naharrenou. It should be noted, however, that as Chief of the Nipissing, Anahareo's great-grandfather would arguably be more closely related to the Anishinaabe peoples, which includes the Algonquin, rather than the Iroquois nation, which includes the Mohawk. His date of birth is drawn from the 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where his occupation is noted as Chief, Nipissing and his age as 45. François Papineau was heavily involved in the various land claims and disputes of the time. Available historical information indicates that his ability to speak French gave him greater access to government officials and that he was often called upon as a spokesperson for his people. 


ca. 1814—ca. 1864

Marie Anne Otickwekijikokwe is one of Anahareo’s great-grandmothers on her paternal grandmother’s side. Depending on which version of Anahareo’s ancestry is closest to the truth, she may have been the Scottish settler, Mary Robinson, who was captured by the Iroquois during a raid. Her date of birth is drawn from the 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where her age is noted as 37.

John and Marguerite NELSON

Little additional information is available about Anahareo’s great-grandparents on her paternal grandfather’s side.  John and Marguerite Nelson reportedly disapproved of their son’s marriage to Catherine Papineau (Pimatanokse) as her family was Algonquin and theirs, Mohawk. (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson)


ca. 1830—March 7, 1923

Catherine Bernard, known by the family as “Big Grandma,” was Anahareo’s primary caregiver between the ages of five and eleven. Catherine spoke half a dozen aboriginal dialects and conversed with Anahareo exclusively in their native tongue, languages she learned only after she had left the convent in which she grew up. She was a major influence on Anahareo, passing on her knowledge of healing and herbs, of native crafts and of their heritage. Despite the fact that Anahareo was strong-willed and Catherine strict, as Anahareo put it, “her fine life was an example to me, and I tried to do things that would please her.” According to official and Church records, Catherine was in her 90s when she passed away in Mattawa, in 1923. (Source: My Life with Grey Owl and Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson) 

John Bernard NELSON

ca. 1828 - ca. 1881

Anahareo's paternal grandfather, John Bernard Nelson (aka John Tionatakwente), is said to have dropped the surname "Nelson" following his marriage to Catherine Papineau, given his parents' objections to the match, and moved the family to the vicinity of Harcourt Township, in present-day Haliburton County, Ontario. The area's destruction by the timber industry reportedly forced Anahareo's grandfather to take his family back north, to Mattawa, where he earned a living by any means possible -- hunting, trapping, guiding, and even in the timber industry. Although some sources indicate that the Bernard family moved to Mattawa in the 1870s, they were recorded to be living in Harcourt Township -- without John Bernard -- in the 1881 Census(Source: Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson)

Michael Louis FRANÇOIS

ca. 1839 - unknown

Very little information is available about Anahareo's maternal grandfather, other than the fact that he is listed as a hunter, fisherman, and carpenter who was married to Anahareo's grandmother, Catherine Ockiping, in the 18711881, and 1891 Censuses.

Catherine Angelique OCKIPING

ca. 1846 - Nov 26, 1922

Historical documents suggest that Anahareo's maternal grandmother, Angelique, was the daughter of Michel and Angeline Pesinwatch, as they are listed as part of her household in the 1871 Census. Further historical documents suggest that Michel Pesinwatch may have been a Chief of the Algonquins. Angelique and Michael François, together with Catherine and John Bernard, reportedly arranged the marriages between Anahareo's parents on one hand, and an aunt and uncle on the other. Angelique, a "fun-loving, merry person who eventually outlived four husbands," was given charge of Anahareo's younger brother, Gabriel, when their mother passed away in 1911 (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson). Based on historical documents, it appears that Angelique lived together with the Bernard family towards the end of her life.


Jan 3, 1847 - Jul 28, 1931

Elizabeth Bernard may be the aunt who helped take care of Anahareo when Anahareo's grandmother was no longer capable of doing so, at some point between 1917 and 1921. The aunt in question is only identified as "Bessie" and as having four children. (Source: Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson). Available historical records suggest that Elizabeth Bernard married Louis Decaire and that, together, they had five children, four of whom were still members of her household in 1921.

Paul and Teresa BERNARD

Anahareo's paternal uncle, Paul Bernard, married Anahareo's maternal aunt, Anastasia François, in 1907; the match was reportedly arranged by their parents at the same time as the match between Anahareo's parents. (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson). 


ca. 1879 - unknown

Catherine "Kate" Bernard, later Salter, was charged with the care of Anahareo's two older siblings, Johanna and Eddie, from the time their mother passed away in 1911 until the family was reunited circa 1919. (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson) She and her husband, engineer Alfred Salter, had just married two months earlier, in September 1911.


May 10, 1866 - ca. 1957

Matthew Bernard was Anahareo's father and, other than Grey Owl, one of the people she loved the most in the world. Despite his own traditional views about the role of women and his disappointment at Anahareo's decision to stay with Grey Owl in the bush, unmarried, he told her that she would always be welcome back in his  home. Unable to care for the children after his wife's death in 1911 due to the nature of his work, Matthew gave the elder two into the care of his sister, Catherine, in North Bay and the youngest into the care of his mother-in-law, Angelique, on the Golden Lake Reserve. Anahareo he kept close to home, with his own mother. Later, when it became clear that Anahareo was unhappy in her home life, Matthew managed to secure work closer to home and brought Johanna and Eddie back from North Bay. After she left home in 1926, Anahareo saw her father again only in 1953, when she returned to Mattawa for a brief stay. (Source: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson)


Feb 22, 1877 - Nov 16, 1911

Mary Ockiping was Anahareo's mother, though, as she passed away when Anahareo was just five years old, Anahareo had only a few memories of her: making pinchberry jelly, dancing with her while her father fiddled, and the day of her death from tuberculosis ( (Source: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson).


Mar 24, 1901 - unknown

Anahareo's older sister, Johanna, was her polar opposite. Where Anahareo was spirited and rebellious, Johanna was devout and proper. Raised by her Aunt Kate in North Bay after her mother's death, Johanna had little contact with Anahareo between the ages of ten and seventeen. In 1919, not long after her return from North Bay, Johanna married Harry Murphy, a man sixteen years her senior; Harry would abandon her only a few years later. Johanna discouraged Anahareo's relationship with Grey Owl at first, and was later angry about Anahareo's scandalous decision to lived with Grey Owl, unmarried and unchaperoned. Nonetheless, Anahareo and Johanna had a warm reunion when Anahareo returned to Mattawa in 1953 (Source: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson). Johanna remained in Mattawa until she passed away in the early 2000s, at over 100 years of age.

Walter Michael Edward BERNARD

Jun 12, 1903 - unknown

Anahareo's older brother, Eddie, had much in common with his spirited younger sister. As Eddie was raised by his Aunt Kate in North Bay from the age of seven until he was fifteen, the two had little contact growing up. Eddie reportedly encouraged her relationship with Grey Owl, finding Grey Owl's stories exciting. Eddie remained unmarried and, later in life, lived with his father and his sister Johanna, working as a cook and guide (Source: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson).


Jul 18, 1906 - Jan 6, 1963

Anahareo first met her second husband, Eric Moltke -- a Swedish Count who had moved to Prince Albert in the mid-1920s -- in the winter of 1939 while hitching a ride to Waskesiu. Their daughter, Katherine, was born while Eric was away at war in Europe and North Africa. The family found it difficult to adjust to life together when Eric returned in 1945, due both to the horrors he had experienced in war as well as to fundamental differences in parenting philosophies. Although they cared for each other deeply, they parted ways several times over the years before splitting permanently, on good terms, in 1959. Eric, permanently disabled from a workplace accident in 1956, went back to live with his first wife, Helga, who had agreed to look after him. Anahareo continued to correspond with both Eric and Helga until Eric's death in 1963 (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson).

Robert Nelson RICHARDSON

Mar 23, 1928 - Mar 21, 2007

Bob Richardson first met Anahareo and Grey Owl's daughter, Dawn, at an artisan's studio in Kamloops, British Columbia (BC) in 1973; Dawn was selling books and photographs related to Grey Owl, and Bob, an avid painter, was renting space from which to work. They married on October 15, 1979 at the home they had built together on Knouff Lake in BC. Bob, who thought of Dawn as his best friend and spiritual partner, worked tirelessly to help her promote her conservationist views and fulfill her dream of visiting the places where her father and mother had lived in their early years including Hastings, England -- Grey Owl's birthplace. After Dawn's death, Bob remained at their mountain home until 1999 and relocated to Morse, Saskatchewan in 2003 where he continued to paint until his death. READ MORE(Source: A Face Beside the Fire and Son of an Orphan, B. Richardson)

Shirley Dawn BELANEY

Aug 23, 1932 - Jun 3, 1984

Grey Owl and Anahareo's daughter, Dawn, was born in Prince Albert, Alberta in 1932. Because of the remoteness of their living situation and Anahareo's lack of experience in caring for a baby, Dawn and Anahareo lived with a family in Prince Albert, the Winters, until a cabin for them could be built on Lake Ajawaan. Dawn would ultimately spend a large portion of her childhood years with the Winters family, until Anahareo was able to provide a stable home environment for her in 1942. Dawn was greatly influenced by her parents' conservationism, and devoted her adult life to promoting those beliefs. READ MORE (Source: Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson)


June 1937 -  

Anahareo's daughter Anne was born in Calgary in 1937, shortly after Anahareo's final separation from Grey Owl. Alone, destitute, and unable to find work in a country still reeling from the Great Depression, Anahareo ultimately gave Anne into the care of a Salvation Army residence for unwed mothers. With Anahareo's consent, Anne was adopted by Mary and William Eagle of Calgary. Anahareo did not see her daughter again until 1963, when Anne discovered her origins through papers discussing her adoption and arranged to meet her mother and sisters. Anne married shortly thereafter and became occupied with raising her own family, but has stayed in contact with her birth family over the years (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson).

Katherine MOLTKE

March 1942 -  

Anahareo and Eric's daughter Katherine, born in 1942, was the only one of her children that Anahareo was able to raise full-time. Anahareo taught Katherine to be proud of her Aboriginal heritage and instilled in her an empathy and understanding for animals. Katherine left home in 1959, married, and had a son, Raven. (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson)