11 Indigenous Authors You Should Be Reading Instead Of Joseph Boyden

Turn these pages.

Three weeks after an explosive investigative report was published by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, author Joseph Boyden has broken his silence.

In a written statement, Boyden, who has at various points claimed Metis, Anishinaabe, Nipmuc and Mi'kmaq heritage, admits he has stolen the spotlight on Indigenous issues as he is "a white kid from Willowdale with native roots."

What does authenticity mean when it comes to fiction? The next time you're looking for a page-turner, consider one of Canada's authentic Indigenous authors who prove a strong sense of identity can go a long way.

1. Richard Wagamese

Public speaker, columnist and storyteller, Richard Wagamese is one of Canada's most prominent Indigenous authors in a range of genres. Originally from the Wabaseemoong First Nation, Wagamese has written over a dozen books.

One of his most popular novels to date, Indian Horse, draws on heartfelt experience growing up as an Ojibway boy in Northwestern Ontario. It is currently being adapted into a feature film.

2. Rosanna Deerchild

Rosanna Deerchild (supplied)

Cree broadcaster and poet Rosanna Deerchild is currently the host of Unreserved on CBC Radio One. Deerchild's second book, Calling Down the Sky, is a deeply personal poetry collection about the residential school experience. The book tells the story of her own mother, as well as Deerchild's struggles with the intergenerational trauma of residential schools.


3. Tracey Lindberg

Birdie is the first book from award-winning Cree academic writer and educator Tracey Lindberg. The critically-acclaimed novel is about a young woman's experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. This powerful debut novel is described as being deeply personal, yet painfully familiar.

4. Katherena Vermette

Pauline Boldt

Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses Company) won the 2013 Governor General Literary Award for Poetry. Her novel The Break was just released in fall 2016 and is already receiving critical acclaim.

5. Jordan Wheeler

Nadya Kwandibens / Via

Jordan Wheeler — of proud Cree, Ojibwa, Assiniboine, Irish, English, and Scottish heritage — is a Gemini Award winning writer and television producer. Best known for his work scriptwriting and story editing popular Canadian TV series such as Arctic Air, and North of 60; he has also written several books.

Wheeler told BuzzFeed Canada why his stories are always close to home.

"There's comfort in knowing a place well enough to write about it," he says. "I think that lends the stories and the characters an authenticity that wouldn't be there if I set a story [in a place I've never been]."


6. Drew Hayden Taylor

Award-winning playwright, author, and humourist, Drew Hayden Taylor is a self-described "contemporary storyteller." From performing stand-up comedy, to writing columns, to directing documentary films, Hayden Taylor has worn a variety of hats.

His non-fiction works, Me Funny, is a highly successful book on Native humour. It is followed by Me Sexy, an exploration of Native sexuality.

7. Lee Maracle

Prolific Canadian literary figure Lee Maracle is of Salish and Cree ancestry and a member of the Stó:lō Nation. An expert on First Nations culture, she is an author, poet, artist, and activist. Her book, Talking to the Diaspora, is a "personal and profound" collection of poems that tie together the trauma and the beauty of Indigenous history for better understanding.

8. Waubgeshig Rice

Shilo Adamson

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. A digital storyteller, Rice began his career in journalism as a 17-year-old exchange student in Germany, writing about his experience as an Anishinaabe man living in Europe. He now works as a video journalist for CBC Ottawa.

Set in the 1990's, his first novel, Legacy, deals with violence against an Indigenous woman and the effect it has on her family. The novel's themes of injustice and reconciliation are "as timely as today's headlines."

9. Chelsea Vowel

A Métis mother from Alberta, now living in Montréal, Vowel is a first-time author better known as the force behind "âpihtawikosisân." Her popular blog and Twitter page offer keen insight and witty commentary in the Indigenous community.

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada, is a collection of essays. Vowel takes an educated look at contemporary misconceptions and systematic issues Indigenous people in Canada face today.

10. Eden Robinson

Born in Kitamaat, British Columbia, Eden Robinson is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations. Her critically acclaimed novel Monkey Beach was shortlisted for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award.

Both a mystery and a spiritual journey, Monkey Beach tells the story of a teenage girl trying to understand her younger brother's disappearance. Robinson draws on experience growing up in Kitamaat Village for a compelling cultural read.

11. Richard Van Camp

Richard Van Camp is an internationally renowned Tłı̨chǫ writer, hailing from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.

Van Camp began his writing career working as an intern on the television series North of 60. His book (and only novel) The Lesser Blessed is a critically acclaimed bestseller. It tells the story of a teen boy named Larry Sole, who after losing much of his memory in a violent accident, loves nothing more than reading and "collecting stories" — until he befriends the new kid in town and shakes up his entire life. The Lesser Blessed was also adapted into a critically-acclaimed film that premiered at TIFF.

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