Statement by Joseph Boyden

Posted in Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Statements on 2017-01-19 00:25Z by Steven

Statement by Joseph Boyden

CNW: A Cision Company
2017-01-11

Joseph Boyden

TORONTO, Jan. 11, 2017 /CNW/ – A few weeks ago, I found out that my 85-year-old mom had been contacted by a journalist who prodded her with pointed and personal questions about her heritage. Specifically, he asked her to prove how Indigenous she is.

My family’s heritage is rooted in our stories. I’ve listened to them, both the European and the Indigenous ones, all my life. My older sisters told me since childhood about my white-looking father helping his Indian-looking brother hide their blood in order to survive in the early 1900’s. My mother’s family history is certainly not laid out neatly in the official records, or on ancestry.ca either. From the age of nine or ten, the woman I knew as my grandmother told me stories about my mother that, until recently, my mother preferred not to share with anyone. The details are private and painful, yet my mother has been forced to revisit aspects of her past she believed were closed away forever.

Children don’t go about consciously presenting identities; they just are who they are. And that’s how I was: a white kid from Willowdale with native roots. The Ojibwe family I grew-up with in summers on Christian Island still call me cousin or uncle.  The bad poetry I first scribbled as a troubled teen was about searching for my mother’s clan.  For the last 22 years I’ve been a member of a Moose Cree First Nation family, active in their community and doing everything we can to get youth out onto the land at Camp Onakawana on the Abitibi River. This is my life.  And I’ve always said pretty much the same thing: “a small part of me is Indigenous, but it’s a big part of who I am.”…

Read the entire new release here.

Tags: ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

From Mushkegowuk to New Orleans: A Mixed Blood Highway

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Canada, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-01-16 20:14Z by Steven

From Mushkegowuk to New Orleans: A Mixed Blood Highway

NeWest Press
April 2008
48 pages
ISBN: 978-1-897126-29-5

Joseph Boyden

In 2007, Joseph Boyden, author of the bestselling novel Three Day Road and 2008 Giller Prize winner for Through Black Spruce, was invited by the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne to deliver the inaugural Henry Kreisel Lecture at the University of Alberta. Boyden spoke passionately, relating Aboriginal people in Canada to poor African Americans, Whites, and Hispanics in post-Katrina New Orleans. At the end of his lecture he presented a manifesto to the audience, demanding independence from the shackles of North American governments on behalf of these oppressed cultures. The lecture was received with much acclaim and enthusiasm.

In collaboration with the Canadian Literature Centre, NeWest Press is pleased to present the Henry Kreisel Lecture Series publications, a forum for open, inclusive critical thinking, and a tribute to Henry Kreisel himself.

Tags: , ,