The Boyden affair just got murkier: Salutin

Posted in Articles, Biography, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2017-01-15 22:03Z by Steven

The Boyden affair just got murkier: Salutin

The Toronto Star
2017-01-13

Rick Salutin

Celebrated author agrees to select interviews, insists he never embellished or lied about his heritage, but also offered platitudes versus confronting precise criticisms

I found Joseph Boyden’s interview Wednesday on CBC — in a word rarely called for — unctuous. He surfaced three weeks after saying he wouldn’t deal with questions about his Indigeneity publicly but only in a “speaking circle.” This after filling what he calls “airtime” for 10 years on every form of media.

Now he’s back out there on CBC and in the Globe, though solely with “acceptable” interviewers. APTN, which started all this with a cautious, respectful piece by Jorge Barrera on Boyden’s claims, called it a “PR push.”…

Boyden’s language was strikingly vague for someone who writes literary fiction. He talked about stories told in his family but gave few examples, instead repeatedly calling them “beautiful” and “amazing.” He said Holy Mackerel and Ohmygosh. He denied making things up but host Candy Palmater didn’t push very hard. As she said, they’re friends and “I know it would be a different conversation if we were alone over a glass of wine.” As troublemaker Robert Jago bracingly tweeted: “Candy Palmater. WTF?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Full interview: Joseph Boyden on his heritage

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Biography, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2017-01-15 21:41Z by Steven

Full interview: Joseph Boyden on his heritage

CBC Radio
2017-01-11

Jesse Kinos-Goodin


Author Joseph Boyden addresses the recent controversy surrounding his Indigenous ancestral claims. (Penguin)

“A small part of me is Indigenous, but it’s a big part of who I am.”

Is Joseph Boyden really Indigenous?

It’s a question a lot of people have been asking, and one the author himself addressed in an exclusive interview Wednesday with CBC Radio’s Candy Palmater.

“Absolutely,” Boyden said. “I’m a white kid from Willowdale (Ontario) with native roots — a small part of me is Indigenous, but it’s a big part of who I am.”

It was Boyden’s first interview since the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) released an investigation last month that called into question his Indigenous heritage and sparked a major controversy. The Giller Prize-winning author of Through Black Spruce is known for writing about Indigenous culture and communities in his novels, which also include Three Day Road and The Orenda. Boyden also has become a familiar voice when it comes to speaking on Indigenous issues in Canada

Read the entire article here. Listen to the interview (00:32:32) here.

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The complex issue of indigenous heritage

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2017-01-10 19:09Z by Steven

The complex issue of indigenous heritage

The Toronto Star
2017-01-10

Don Smith, Professor Emeritus of History
University of Calgary


Archie Belaney, famously known as Grey Owl until his dealth in 1938, is an example of the complex issue of indigenous identifcation. (TORONTO STAR ARCHIVES)

Acclaimed novelist Joseph Boyden faces controversy surrounding his heritage but there is a long history in North American of blurred lines.

The question of the indigenous identity of prize-winning novelist Joseph Boyden had raised great media attention. It is a complex issue.

Joseph-Louis Gill (1719-1798), one of the famous 18th century chiefs of the Abenaki First Nations, resident at Odanak, just west of Montreal, was “white.” But only in a biological sense, as both his parents had been captives adopted into Indian families and raised in Indian fashion.

Among the Red River Métis in the 19th century, the Métis patriot, André Nault (1830-1924), was born of French Canadian parents who had become fully integrated into the Red River Métis community in what is now southern Manitoba. The buffalo hunter and captain of the Métis stood by his first cousin Louis Riel in the Red River Resistance of 1869-70, serving in his provisional government. Three of Nault’s sons took part in the events of 1885 in Saskatchewan.

In Joseph Boyden’s case no evidence, to my knowledge, has emerged that he was raised in an indigenous community. He was not a Joseph-Louis Gill or André Nault. Instead, his Aboriginal connection relates to his distant indigenous ancestry on both his mother’s and father’s side. This enters into another realm entirely.

I have studied the life of Archie Belaney (1888-1938), the Canadian writer who presented himself as indigenous, as Grey Owl, the son of a Scot and an Apache woman. He died on April 13, 1938. The day after his death the Globe and Mail termed him, “the most famous of Canadian Indians.” Then, within just one week the story broke. It was revealed that he was actually born and raised in Hastings, England. His “racial” origins were a total fantasy…

Read the entire article here.

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La Negra Blanca

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-01-10 01:45Z by Steven

La Negra Blanca

The Collagist: Online literature from Dzanc Books
Issue Three (October 2009)

Roxanne Gay, Associate Professor of English
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

At the club, Sarah goes by Sierra. The manager gave her the name the day she was hired four years earlier. He asked if she had a preference but she shrugged, took a sip of warm soda, told him to knock himself out. He looked her up and down and up again. “Sierra,” he said. “So you’ll turn your head when your name is called.”

Sometimes, when she’s opening the refrigerator, or reaching into a drawer for a pair of shorts, Sarah will catch herself swiveling her hips and arching her back. Even when she’s not on the pole, she’s dancing around it. She takes a lot of Advil because even at home she’s always hearing the thump thump thump of the bass line.

Candy, her best friend at work, took one look at Sarah on her first day and told Sarah to dance to black girl booty shaking music because guys love to see white girls with juicy asses shake their stuff. Sarah blushed, and pivoted to get a better look at her ass. She said, “My ass is juicy?”

Candy laughed and grabbed a handful of Sarah’s ass, but Sarah already knew she had a juicy ass and where it came from. Her mother is black and her father is white but for years people have assumed she’s a white girl because she has green eyes and straight blonde hair. She’s not ashamed of who she is but in Baltimore it’s easier to be a white girl with a black girl’s ass than to be a black girl who looks white or any other kind of black girl for that matter…

Read the short story here.

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Episode 199 – Michael Tisserand

Posted in Arts, Audio, Biography, Interviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-01-08 20:48Z by Steven

Episode 199 – Michael Tisserand

Virtual Memories: The chief of the Inner Station
2017-01-02

Gil Roth, Host

“I always feel like Herriman’s a a step ahead of me. When I read Krazy Kat I think I know what I’m reading; the next week I read the same strip and I realize I’m reading something different than I thought I was reading.”

For our 199th episode, Michael Tisserand joins the show to talk about his fantastic new book, Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White (Harper). We discuss Krazy Kat, race in America and the phenomenon of racial passing, newsroom culture, conducting research on microfilm in the age of Google, the allure of New Orleans, what it was like to write the biography of an enigma, and a lot more. So don’t be a bald-faced gazooni! Give it a listen! And go buy KRAZY!

“Herriman treated language as something that wasn’t up to shouldering the kind of burdens that we put on it.”

Listen to the episode (01:31:23) here download the episode here.

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Author Joseph Boyden defends indigenous heritage after investigation

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2016-12-31 01:03Z by Steven

Author Joseph Boyden defends indigenous heritage after investigation

The Toronto Star
2016-12-26

Nicole Thompson
The Canadian Press

Author responds after investigation by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network into his background.

A celebrated Canadian author who writes about First Nations heritage and culture is defending himself on Twitter after his ancestry was questioned.

In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Joseph Boyden said he is of “mostly Celtic heritage,” but he also has Nipmuc roots on his father’s side and Ojibway roots on his mother’s.

Boyden has won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and his work was nominated for the Governor General’s award. He is a member of the Order of Canada and was an honorary witness at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

He made his remarks in response to an Aboriginal Peoples Television Network investigation by award-winning reporter Jorge Barrera.

The investigation digs into the different claims of indigenous ancestry Boyden has made throughout his life, and the evidence — or lack thereof — to back it up.

Barrera wrote that the author is predominantly Celtic and has also referred to having Metis, Ojibway, Mi’kmaq and Nipmuc heritage.

He said Boyden sometimes referred to himself as Anishinabe, which includes the “culturally related” Ojibway, Odawa and Algonquin peoples.

In his statement, Boyden said that he mistakenly said he was Metis, which is traditionally applied to descendants of French traders and trappers and indigenous women in the Canadian northwest…

Read the entire article here.

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Still ‘Krazy’ after all these years: A life of George Herriman, pioneering comic writer and N.O. exile

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-30 23:17Z by Steven

Still ‘Krazy’ after all these years: A life of George Herriman, pioneering comic writer and N.O. exile

The New Orleans Advocate
2016-12-05

Susan Larson, Host, The Reading Life
WWNO-FM, New Orleans


George Herriman, from Michael Tisserand’s Krazy Kat bio of George Herriman

For Michael Tisserand, as for most of us, the love of comics came early in childhood.

His mother took him to the library, where he discovered 741.59, the beloved Dewey Decimal System classification where comics were shelved. Years later, during his post-Katrina exile in Chicago, Tisserand would take his own young son to an exhibit of comics at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

“I was carrying my son in my arms then — he’s 6′-4″ now — and reading the captions out loud. I was feeling the New Orleans exile at that point, and I could imagine the way Herriman felt as a 10 year-old in Los Angeles, and I was looking for a New Orleans story. This was a story about New Orleans that I could tell from Chicago.”

Now, years after chasing the story across the country, Tisserand has produced the first full-length biography of a great New Orleans character and an original American artist in “Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White” (HarperCollins, $35).

Herriman (1880-1944) was born in New Orleans to a Creole family, free people of color who moved to California in search of better educational opportunities. There, Herriman began to pass as white, which he did for the rest of his life…

Read the entire article here.

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Joseph Boyden, where are you from?

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2016-12-30 02:51Z by Steven

Joseph Boyden, where are you from?

The Globe And Mail
2016-12-28

Hayden King, Assistant Professor
School of Public Policy
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

My name is Hayden King. I am the son of Hayden (Sr.) and Carol. On my father’s side I am Anishinaabe, Ojibwe from my grandmother Eleanor and Potawatomi from my grandfather, Rufus. Through blood and adoption we can trace our roots back seven generations. But eventually threads of this lineage were woven together on the sandy shores of Gchi’mnissing, or Beausoleil First Nation (Christian Island), in southern Georgian Bay.

I offer this orientation as a matter of custom. Among Anishinaabeg, it is an expected response to the standard greeting-question, “Where are you from?” For we are a people of renewal, a people seeking each other out in our century-long reclamation of culture, language, family and identity. We are a people bound by our relationships.

But earlier this week, after years of unclear answers to this question from celebrated Canadian author Joseph Boyden, APTN reporter Jorge Barrera, supported by independent researchers, investigated the author’s claims and couldn’t find evidence of either Nipmuc or Ojibwe heritage. It appears that Mr. Boyden has not been forthcoming about his indigenous identity, benefiting from a crafted ambiguity.

Mr. Boyden is just the latest. Last year prolific scholar Andrea Smith’s claims to Cherokee ancestry were debunked. Before Ms. Smith were academics Susan Taffe Reed and Ward Churchill, writers Margaret Seltzer and Archie Belaney (Grey Owl), actors Espera Oscar de Corti (Iron Eyes Cody), Johnny Depp and so on. There is a long tradition of playing Indian…

Read the entire article here.

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The double life of Injun Joe

Posted in Articles, Biography, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2016-12-29 01:33Z by Steven

The double life of Injun Joe

Maclean’s
1956-07-21

Dorothy Sangster [Katz] (1913-2011)

The tourists at Algonquin Park think they’re meeting a real live redskin in a tribal tepee. Indian schmindian! He’s Tex Boyden, who reads the New Yorker, sips Martinis and makes his living selling beads to the white natives

When Erl Boyden was five years old, his Uncle Richard took him to a wild-west show in Ottawa and introduced him to Buffalo Bill.

Excited by tom-toms and war cries and trailing war bonnets, little Erl fell in love with Indians on the spot. He took to cutting out pictures of Indians, improvising Indian costumes, collecting Indian souvenirs. His bedroom in the old Boyden home on Mackenzie Avenue, in the shadow of the Parliament Buildings, became a litter of bows and arrows and buckskins. His most treasured possession was a five-foot cotton tepee his aunt Bertha O’Donaghue sent him from New York. The Last of the Mohicans was his favorite book and he and his two brothers saved their nickels to see Broncho Billy Anderson on Saturday afternoons at the neighborhood movie house, and Custer’s Last Stand, a stage show that came to Ottawa’s Grand Opera House in 1907. School bored young Erl—his thoughts were elsewhere. He saw himself as a white boy who by his knowledge of hunting and outdoor lore is adopted by an Indian chief and given a place of honor in the tribe.

Boyden is sixty years old now, but he’s still playing Indian. All summer long you can find him sitting beside the highway at Dwight, a small resort town 160 miles north of Toronto on the road to Algonquin Park, under a sign that says, “Ugh! Indian Souvenirs!”

Tourists know him as Injun Joe…

Read the entire article here.

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Author Joseph Boyden’s shape-shifting Indigenous identity

Posted in Articles, Biography, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2016-12-28 02:20Z by Steven

Author Joseph Boyden’s shape-shifting Indigenous identity

APTN National News
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
2016-12-23

Jorge Barrera

Three Day Road author Joseph Boyden’s uncle went by the alias “Injun Joe” and wore a headdress while selling drums made of tin cans wrapped in birch and other “Indian” items to tourists from a shop near Algonquin Park in Ontario.

A Maclean’s article in 1956 titled, The Double Life of Injun Joe, reported Earl [Erl] Boyden “may look like an Indian, think like an Indian and spend most of his year among Indians, but as far as he knows he hasn’t a drop of Indian blood.” The article said Earl Boyden’s father was a “well-to-do Ottawa merchant who traced his family to Thomas O’Boyden in Yorkshire” and that his mother was “Irish.”

Earl Boyden, who died in 1959, appears to have embraced Indigenous culture to the point where the local Ojibway would refer to him as “not a white man,” according to the article.

Over the years, Joseph Boyden has referred to his uncle’s “Ojibway ways” and once told an interviewer that he saw parallels between himself and his “Indian uncle” Earl.

“Just like my Indian uncle, I had a taste for the road and for adventure,” said Boyden, in an interview with Penguin Books for a reading guide accompanying Three Day Road, his breakthrough novel which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. “At the time, I didn’t recognize the parallels between my uncle and me.”

The nephew eventually discovered something his uncle did not know—Indigenous ancestry hidden somewhere in the Scottish and Irish branches of the family tree.

Boyden has never publicly revealed exactly from which earth his Indigenous heritage grows. It has been an ever shifting, evolving thing. Over the years, Boyden has variously claimed his family’s roots extended to the Metis, Mi’kmaq, Ojibway and Nipmuc peoples.

The nature of Boyden’s ancestry claims caused an undercurrent of concern within some segments of the Indigenous community as the author’s prominence as a spokesperson on Indigenous issues grew…

Read the entire article here.

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