A prominent Manitoba First Nations media producer said she's adopting Joseph Boyden as her spiritual brother, confirming a claim the author made during a recent CBC interview.
During that interview, with CBC host Candy Palmater, Boyden said that he had both a birth family and a "traditional" family that included Lisa Meeches, an Ojibwa filmmaker from Long Plain First Nation, Man.
"His work needs protection, and I've always been of the belief that just because I'm Ojibwa that I still have the right to tell Cree stories, Métis stories, even Italian and Ukrainian stories because it's going to help people," Meeches told CBC Manitoba's Up To Speed on Friday.
'I asked him to be my brother'
Meeches said she's known Boyden for many years but was compelled to adopt him in a traditional ceremony, after seeing and hearing the recent controversy around his claims of Indigenous identity.
"I asked him to be my brother, he didn't call on me," Meeches said.
Meeches said that Boyden is flying to Manitoba soon to take part in the ceremony, something the author mentioned might take place at a ceremonial centre called Turtle Lodge, located on the Sagkeeng First Nation north of Winnipeg.
"I have traditional family and my birth family is travelling to see my traditional family soon," Boyden told Palmater. "This is a very private thing."
Boyden, the author of several books that include Three Day Road, The Orenda and Wenjack, has faced criticism of his claims of Indigenous ancestry after an investigation by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) found no proof to back those claims.
Boyden has said he has Nipmuc roots on his father's side, Anishinaabe on his mother's side, but he also maintained that his claims to Indigenous ancestry are based largely on stories he was told by his family growing up, and not necessarily on official documentation.