Amid the controversy of Joseph Boyden’s Indigenous ancestry, or lack thereof, I cannot help but look back on how he presented my hometown and people in the novel that won him the Giller Prize in 2008 — and the lack of recognition he has given to the community directly.
Going back, I initially liked Boyden upon reading his debut novel, Three Day Road. I even wrote a positive review on it for a northern Ontario in-flight magazine. Although choppy at times, I was taken by the fact that Mushkegowuk Cree are the main characters — and snipers at that — in an acclaimed novel set during the First World War.
So I looked forward to his next novel, Through Black Spruce, especially after I learned it was mainly set in my hometown of Moosonee.
Reading the first 60 pages, I was flush with memories as the novel described the town…
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