HANAPEPE — Basil Heath, aka Chief White Eagle, led a long and fascinating life.
The son of a World War I English war hero and a Red Cross nurse from the Mohawk Reserve in Ontario, Canada, his early years were spent on the Reserve learning survival skills from his grandfather and receiving his early education from First Nations’ schools.
As a young man, he took up welding as a trade, which took him places he’d never imagined, including Hollywood. He and his wife eventually retired to Rochester, Indiana, a place they loved and chose to call home.
His military career put him in the middle of strafing attacks by German war planes in England. He met the famous and even the infamous and had stories to share about them all.
These experiences were gathered for his biography, “From Manhattan to Hollywood: the Stories of Chief White Eagle.” Written by Kauai author Susan Campbell, his stories are told as he told them.
“In fact, those who knew him say that the book reads like he was in the room with them and brings back many warm memories,” said a press release.
Recently returned from Indiana, where she spoke about the chief and, with his widow, signed copies of the book, Campbell will be doing a book signing at Talk Story Books in Hanapepe from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday.
She will chat about meeting Chief White Eagle, their times sharing stories and why he chose her to write his official biography.