January 7, 2017
I know that some of you assign Joseph Boyden's Three Day Road to students in your high school classes. Some of you may be doing author studies of him. This letter and information I share beneath the letter, in two parts, is for you, and for anyone who is interested in discussions of Boyden's identity. It is an archive of items about Joseph Boyden's identity.
I'm a former school teacher, too. I particularly enjoyed reading aloud to the kindergarten and first graders I taught in the 90s, and teaching kids about the authors and other books they wrote. I'm not teaching anymore. Now, I research and write articles and book chapters about the ways Native peoples are depicted in children's and young adult books. And, I publish this site, American Indians in Children's Literature, which is now in its eleventh year.
In 2014, I learned about a writer named Joseph Boyden. A novel he'd written, The Orenda, was in Canada Reads, which is an annual battle-of-the-books competition. The Orenda was being defended by Wab Kinew. I'd become familiar with Kinew's work via social media. Always on the look-out for books I can recommend, I looked into Boyden and saw that his first book, Three Day Road was in the Canada Reads competition in 2006, when it came out. He was being put forth as a Native writer. I got Three Day Road. I was drawn into the story and thought I might write about it here on AICL. I wanted to know more about Boyden. So, I read Hayden King's review of Orenda. He had concerns with Boyden's depictions of the Haudenosaunee. I started looking around some more and talking with colleagues. I learned that there were a lot of questions about Boyden's claim to Native identity. What I saw was enough for me to set aside Three Day Road. I didn't finish it and didn't write about it.
On December 22, 2016, I saw a series of tweets from the IndigenousXca account. That week, the IndigenousXca host was Robert Jago. I learn a lot by following that account. Each week, there's a new host. I was the host in March. Jago's tweets that night were about Joseph Boyden's identity. The next day, Jorge Barrera, a reporter with Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, published a news article about Boyden. Jago and Barrera's work prompted many discussions on social media, and, many more articles and news segments.
This "Dear Teachers" letter is a place for me to archive what I've seen about Boyden and identity.
Part One of my archive started as a thread on Twitter that I added to whenever I saw something that added to the discussion. Rather than re-create the thread, I'm pasting it directly from a Storify I did. I hope that all the links work, though some may not. People delete tweets, and sometimes their entire account. Beneath the Storify is part two.
Part Two is items I'm entering as I see them. It is "in process" -- because new items are published in the media, or on social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter), almost daily.
I hope it is useful. If you see something somewhere that you wish to share, please submit it via the comments option at the bottom.
American Indians in Children's Literature
Joseph Boyden's Claims to Indigenous Identity
Part One: A Storify by @debreese, from Dec 24, 2016 through Jan 3, 2017 (apologies for formatting errors that occurred when I pasted the storify)
January 2, 2017
- Albert W. McLoad's letter in response to Boyden's definition of Two-Spirit
January 3, 2017
- Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie and Jacqueline Pellend, Joseph Boyden's Identity Crisis: Women's voices on determining identity at Deprogrammed
- Danielle Paradis, Joseph Boyden's indigenous controversy part of 'broader structural problem' at Toronto Metro
- Wab Kinew's There is room in our circle for Joseph Boyden at The Globe and Mail
January 4, 2017
- Wab Kinew, 'I think he should be completely upfront about his ancestry' at APTN
- Terry Glavin, The unbearable whiteness of Joseph Boyden's Aboriginal identity controversy at National Post
- Thohahoken, Boyden an example of how the winners get to write the history at Two Row Times
- Rachel A. Snow, Staying Silent at Two Row Times
January 5, 2017
- Terese Marie Mailhot's Tell Joseph Boyden You Can't Sell 'Indian' Like A Souvenir at Huffpost Canada
- Ryan McMahon, on Joseph Boyden: Two Worlds, Two Debates, at CanadaLand (also has links to items)
- Wab Kinew, Lee Maracle, and Kim TallBear on Indigenous identity and the case of Joseph Boyden on The Current, at CBC Radio
- Clayton Thomas-Muller and Mona Moquin, Indigenous identity panel at CBC InfoRadio
- Editorial, Profiting from identity politics, Winnipeg Free Press
January 6, 2017
- Aaron Paquette's The Struggle for Joseph Boyden
- Marsha Lederman's Amid heritage controversy, heavyweights stand by Joseph Boyden in The Globe and Mail
- Editorial, The Spectator's View: In defence of Joseph Boyden at Hamilton Spectator
- Doug George-Kanentiio's Author Joseph Boyden exploits mythical Native identity at Indianz
- Daniel Heath Justice's thread on Twitter, starting at 12:58 PM
- Dawn Marie's storify, Things to consider on self-identification
January 8, 2017
- Stephen Kimber's Who is Joseph Boyden, and does the answer matter? in Halifax Examiner
- Zoe Todd's Métis legal traditions, reciprocity and the curious case of consumable identity
- Ryan McMahon, on The National panel, "Taking on an identity: The Joseph Boyden debate"
- Karen McCall's How the Headlines Covered the Controversy Over Joseph Boyden's Heritage at Ryerson Review of Journalism
- Terese Mailhot's Natives Joseph Boyden, Natives Don't Get Pity at Indian Country Today
January 10, 2017
- Robert Jago's The Boyden Controversy Is Not about Bloodline at The Walrus
- Russell Diabo's Why Joseph Boyden's ancestry matters at CBC News Ontario Today
- Jessica Wong's Joseph Boyden sorry 'for taking too much of the airtime' on Indigenous issues at CBC News Entertainment
- Cheryl Toney Holley's Award Winning Canadian Author Claims that Dartmouth Indians are Really Nipmuck?
- Candy Palmater's Full interview: Joseph Boyden on his heritage at CBC radio's 'q with Tom Power'
- Joseph Boyden's Statement by Joseph Boyden at CNW (Canada News Wire)
- Mark Medley's report of interview, Boyden admits to mistakes, backs down as indigenous spokesperson at The Globe and Mail
- Adam Gaudry's thread on Twitter, listening to/analyzing Boyden's interview
- Robert Jago's thread on Twitter, listening to/analyzing Boyden's interview
- Fancy Bebamikawe's thread on Twitter, on Boyden's interview
- Aaron Paquette's thread on Twitter, in response to Boyden's interview
- Damien Lee's thread on Twitter, about adoption/Boyden's words about being adopted
- APTN's Author Joseph Boyden launches PR push to counter controversy
- Tim Fontaine's Joseph Boyden's first interview 'a start' but leaves unanswered questions at CBC News/Indigenous
- Nigel Irwin's Joseph Boyden's Apology and the Strange History of 'Pretendians' at Vice
- Marilyn Jensen's radio interview, Yukon First Nation instructor speaks on Joseph Boyden and identity, at CBC Yukon
- Penguin Books Canada, on Twitter, We are proud to publish Joseph Boyden
- Nicole Winstanley, Boyden's editor, on Twitter, I've known Joseph Boyden to be a person of integrity
- Pamela Tozer's post on Facebook, We are the Tozer family.
- Victoria Ahearn's Joseph Boyden statements on indigenous roots too vague, say academics at The Province
- Jorge Barrera's interview of Ryan McMahon on Nation to Nation: Boyden, Fonda and Labrador Land Defenders (video broadcast on Jan 12).
- Ian Austen's A Voice for Indigenous Canadians Defends His Claim to Be One at The New York Times
- News Brief, Reaction to Joseph Boyden's New Interviews at CanadaLand
- Chelsea Vowel's response, on Twitter, to the article in The New York Times are important corrections to some of the content in the article
- Hayden King's response, on Twitter, to the New York Times article on Boyden corrects errors therein
- David Newhouse's How to evaluate Joseph Boyden's claim to ancestry in The Toronto Star
- Rick Salutin's The Boyden affair just got murkier in The Toronto Star
- CBC News item First Nations filmmaker in Manitoba adopting Joseph Boyden as her brother at CBC News/Indigenous
- Peggy Blair's The Inconsistencies in Joseph Boyden's Various Backgrounds
- Alicia Elliot's Twitter thread on Boyden, CanLit accountability, and PR (Note: she was the host for the IndigenousXca account when she wrote that thread for that account)
- The Canadian Encyclopedia has added information about Boyden's identity and his role in the Galloway letter to its entry on Joseph Boyden [note: I'm inserting it here, but the "last edit" date for it is Jan 7]
- Doug Cuthand's There is room in the tent for Joseph Boyden at Saskatoon StarPhoenix
... Daniel Heath Justice shared an article from 2013 in which Boyden makes a claim to being Wendat. So far as I recall, that claim had not been written about. Here's a photo from the article, with the final paragraph pasted beneath the photo:
- Tanya Talaga's Joseph Boyden's identity crisis opens us questions on who is part of a community at The Star
January 15 2017
- BC Metis Federation's Coffee Talk on Jan 15 (at 10 minute mark the hosts discuss Boyden)
January 16, 2017
- Shree Paradkar's Oh, Please. Joseph Boyden not the victim in indigenous ancestry saga at The Star
- Nickita Longman and Wab Kinew at Who Speaks for Indigenous Causes at Native America Calling
- Shaneen Robinson's report at APTN, "He has agreed to be my brother"/Why Lisa Meeches is adopting Joseph Boyden
- National News at APTN, University professor cutting Joseph Boyden novels
- Jeremy Simes, Edmonton cancels Joseph Boyden appearance in February at Edmonton Metro
- Sue Carter's Joseph Boyden's post-TRC conference keynote cancelled, at Quill & Quire
Reviews by People of the
Native Communities Boyden's Books Depict
Three Day Road, published in 2005 by Viking Penguin
- Lenny Carpenter's Boyden: 'I discovered a gold mine on James Bay'