Joseph Boyden sorry ‘for taking too much of the airtime’ on Indigenous issues

Describing himself as “a white kid from Willowdale with Native roots,” writer Joseph Boyden apologized for “taking too much of the airtime” in discussions about Indigenous issues.

The celebrated author, who has built a reputation on writing about First Nations heritage and culture, spoke to Candy Palmater of CBC Radio in Toronto Wednesday afternoon.

It was his first interview since a reporter for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network published an investigation in late December digging into Boyden’s background and varying claims of Indigenous ancestry he’s made over the years. 

“I fear that I’ve become a bit too big, one of the go-to people for Indigenous issues in this country,” Boyden told Palmater, the Mi’kmaq performer, broadcaster and friend of the author.

“I’ve become too much of a go-to guy. I should allow those with deeper roots in the community to speak,” he said, adding that he feels his “ego has gotten a little too big.”

“Others need to speak. I do apologize for taking too much of the airtime,” he said. “It’s time to jump off that train and pull back a bit.”

The Giller Prize-winning novelist has been at the centre of controversy and broad discussion about misrepresentation, cultural identity, mixed heritage and whether he may have profited from opportunities targeted to Indigenous creators.  

Boyden’s chat with Palmater will air on CBC Radio q on Thursday morning.

More to come.