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Preface by Harvey Thommasen

Clayton Mack was born in a Bella Coola salmon cannery on August 7, 1910. He died May 3, 1993, in the Bella Coola Hospital. He was born a Nuxalk Indian, he was raised in Nuxalk culture, he survived in the white man's world, he became a legendary grizzly bear guide, and he died an important and influential Nuxalk Indian elder.

It wasn't until later that I realized the day he died was the same day his book became reality, the same day that Harbour Publishing agreed to publish his manuscript tentatively titled Campfire Tales of a Grizzly Bear Guide. Perhaps it is simply coincidence, but I will always wonder if Clayton didn't somehow hang on until the project was completed. In the last year of his life, Clayton often stated matter-of-factly that he would die soon. Few of us believed him. We fully expected him to be captivating people with his stories for many more years.

This is the second of two books which have come out of all the stories Clayton Mack told me. First he told me hunting stories and grizzly bear stories, and these eventually became the book entitled Grizzlies and White Guys, published in 1993. In the last year of his life, Clayton had an urgency about telling me the names of old Nuxalk villages and other details of the old Nuxalk ways...The more I listened, the more I became interested, and the more interested I became, the more it became clear that Clayton was sharing unique and valuable information.

This book contains stories of the old Nuxalk ways as told by a Nuxalk elder who actually experienced the richness of this way of life. This book also includes stories about how this culture was eroded by European and Asian influences. The two books, Grizzlies and White Guys and Bella Coola Man, provide fascinating insights into the life of a native Indian living on the British Columbia coast during the changing times of the twentieth century. Thank you, Clayton, for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with all of us.