Grizzlies and White Guys: The Stories of Clayton Mack


239 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55017-089-9
DDC 971.1'004979





Reviewed by Anthony G. Gulig

Anthony G. Gulig teaches history at the University of Saskatchewan.


This is a firsthand account of a Native man who lived in the Bella Coola
region of west-central British Columbia. While the foreword to this book
suggests that the way of life recounted by Clayton Mack has vanished,
closer examination of Mack’s experiences and his storytelling
indicates that, rather than vanish, his way of life changed and adapted
to circumstances both beyond and within his control.

These stories are full of the controversy and conflict that often
characterize Native–white relations. Mack’s point of view is a
refreshing change from that presented in traditional Native-policy
studies. A more detailed introduction or foreword would have filled in
some of the gaps left by Mack’s text, which is essentially the printed
version of a recorded monologue. It is left to the reader to create in
his or her imagination a larger picture of Mack’s life.

Grizzlies and White Guys documents not only the value of traditional
storytelling, but the ways in which land use has changed in the Bella
Coola region over the last 80 years. A way of life has not disappeared;
rather, it has been passed on through Mack’s stories. The relationship
he describes between the people and the land still exists.


Mack, Clayton., “Grizzlies and White Guys: The Stories of Clayton Mack,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 13, 2024,