The novel I Heard the Owl Call My Name is an inspiring book by Margaret Craven. It is about a young priest named Mark, which is going to die of an illness, so the bishop decides to send him to an Indian village as his first and last mission. As Mark got to know the Indians longer, he found out that they face many challenges everyday. There are three major problems that the natives face, and they threaten the existence of the natives.
The first problem that they face is the fact that their young, will all slowly, one by one, leave the village and try to fit into the white man's world. The young people of the village of Kingcome are interested in modern technologies, and are willing to leave the home that they grew up to go to a place where they will probably be rejected, or used.
A quote by Mark in the novel stating that the village's tragic future is unavoidable is "the young will follow Gordon. Very soon only the old will be left and a very few others, and when the old die, the others will leave. The tribe is going to trade its simplicity for the shiny gadgetry of our complex world, and it will not be so content, because there is one it does not anticipate. The outside world will not accept it easily."The second problem that the natives face is liquor problems. The white men make thousands of dollars off the natives by selling them alcohol products. The natives have to tolerance over alcohols, so therefore they get drunk easily. Once the natives are drunk, they act, as any drunken alcoholic would do. They run around shouting and yelling, which cases a lot of racket in the village every night. The good thing is that the village people have already took action and set a restriction rule, which states that only when it is August, can the natives drink alcohol. One example of the results of alcohol problem is Sam, the infamous person that beats his wife and daughter. Sam made a lot of money with fishing one time, he spends most of the money he made on alcohol, and he saved the rest to buy his wife a washing machine that she always wanted. When he arrived at the dock, he accidentally tipped it over the river, because he is so drunk. His wife heard it and got very mad; therefore, she starts to beat him up furiously with a cooking pan.
The third major problem that the natives face is the attitude the white men is giving them. As Mark has encountered in the village of Kingcome, the white men does not treat the Indians as people. One example from the book is when someone in the village dies, the RCMP needs to personally come to the village and give them a burial permit, which is not necessary, just because the white men treat the Indians differently. In addition, as we have learned from the novel, the Indians are nice people; they almost never bring anger into their way of living. This example is presented in the book when the natives encountered several rich white people intruding their village and starts to wander around. They were making jokes about stuff meaningful to the natives such as the totem poles and the masks.
The Indian people of Kingcome face great threats to keep the tribe together as a whole. The problems that they face keep the readers thinking about the natives' future even after the book ended.