Bella Coola Man


238 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55017-104-6
DDC 799.292





Reviewed by Anthony G. Gulig

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


We know a good deal about Native experiences in the 17th, 18th, and 19th
centuries but very little about recent Native history. This book
attempts to fill some of that void, using one of the most overlooked and
valuable historical assets on the continent—oral history. Bella Coola
Man is the second work relating the life and experiences of Clayton
Mack, and it represents a valuable model on how to prepare and present
specific oral history. The many photographs, maps, index, and appendix
help the reader follow Mack’s stories. Indeed, the book is neatly
organized and very readable.

However, the reader should be warned not to expect flowing prose and a
standard storyline. As in any oral history, narratives are related in
the first person. The reader must be prepared to become involved in the
story to fully understand its implications. These stories are not always
easy to follow, just as the life experiences they relate were not always
easy either. Mack recounts his complicated life in realistic and
understandable terms.

Bella Coola Man should serve as a sound methodological starting point
for anyone interested in the oral history of 20th-century Native


Mack, Clayton., “Bella Coola Man,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,