Dawn Richardson was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on August 23, 1932. As the daughter of Grey Owl (Archie Belaney) and Anahareo, she spent her early childhood summers with her parents at Beaver Lodge, on Ajawaan Lake, in the Prince Albert National Park. It was here that she romped and played with Jelly Roll and Rawhide, the two beavers that became world-famous along with their guardians, Grey Owl and Anahareo. After her father's death in 1938, Dawn was raised mainly in the city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Dawn passed away in London, England on June 3, 1984 during her husband Bob Richardson's exhibition of paintings "Images of Grey Owl and Anahareo's Wilderness," without realizing where the final draft of her manuscript Smoke would find its home.