“He has agreed to be my brother” Why Lisa Meeches is adopting Joseph Boyden

Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais
APTN National News
Well known TV host and filmmaker Lisa Meeches said she plans to adopt Joseph Boyden as her spiritual brother later this week.

“We’ve been chosen and he has agreed to be my brother and so when you adopt somebody, they’re chosen and that means it’s that much more special,” said Meeches.

Boyden has been facing a lot of social media scrutiny after APTN delved into his heritage before Christmas.

APTN has invited Boyden to speak to his ancestral claims but he has declined.

The acclaimed author has won many accolades under the assumption that he has an Indigenous lineage. But Boyden has been unable to prove his bloodline.

Boyden has in the past claimed he is Métis, Mi’kmaq, Ojibway, Wendat, Nipmuc and Darthmouth Indian.

APTN was unable to find any links to these communities.

Over the years Boyden has coined his own phrase “a small part of me is Indigenous, but it is a huge part of who I am.”

Meeches said she’s kept up on all the online commentary and is prepared for some backlash for her decision to adopt Boyden in a traditional adoption ceremony. She said it feels it’s meant to be because of the recent loss of her brother Vernon Meeches.

“I’ve asked him to be my brother because I’ve just lost my brother, one of my biggest inspirations on December 21, and as it turns out coincidentally, Joseph Boyden’s Spirit Name is Blue Thunderbird and that was my brother’s Spirit Name,” she said. “How much I love my brother and how much I respect and appreciate Joseph, it just happened and aligned itself in that way”.

Many Indigenous authors, politicians, comedians and actors have taken to social media with their opinions about the situation over the past few weeks.

Manitoba provincial politician Wab Kinew declined to comment on the recent adoption announcement but told APTN in an interview two weeks ago that while there are questions, he can still be a part of the community.

“There is a place for Boyden in our community, but if he wants that place he has to come back and he has to answer some of these questions that a lot of the people in our community have been asking for the past couple weeks,” said Kinew.

Meeches is best known for her work in film and television and as the head of the Manito Ahbee Festival.

She said she’s been friends with Boyden for quite some time now and that her move to adopt him into her ceremonial family comes from a good place and hopes the public will recognize that.

Meeches suffered a stroke last summer and is also recovering from a bad fall.

“When you nearly lose your life it just opens up a whole new realm of how you see things and I hope that they can respect my choices, I certainly respect all of their opinions and all of the comments,” Meeches said.

The adoption ceremony will take place privately later this week and will be conducted by Elder David Courchene Jr.

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7 thoughts on ““He has agreed to be my brother” Why Lisa Meeches is adopting Joseph Boyden

  1. This is the power of love and complete acceptance and people should really open up their eyes, mind, and more specifically their hearts; and see the real significance of this adoption. After all we are all the same, aren’t we? Divide & conquer has no place here. Do not fall for separatism and do not let race be the misleading factor. A big shout out to Lisa Meeches and Dave Courchene Jr. for another teaching on acceptance …
    Running Black Wolf

  2. All people have ever asked of him is to be authentic. Just provide some sort of proof to where he is from. Why would someone make claims to so many different nations without any proof? And if he was actually searching for proof but couldn’t find it yet, then why would he cement identity with any of these nations, knowing that nothing was certain? It’s not right and does not deserve to be rewarded.

  3. Girl. SIt down. By his own admission, he is a white guy with Native roots. That is the equivalent of my grand-mother was a Cherokee Princess.

  4. Love and kindness. Forgiveness and opening the circle. Boyden has done work in Indigenous communities for decades. He is not perfect. No one is. And do people really think human records are perfect? Never falsified? that no one lied about their identity 20 50 100 150 years ago? Some of the records that APTN used in their big blow-out attack WERE ILLEGIBLE. Boyden grew up hearing stories about Indigineity. He has another ‘adoptive’ family in James Bay that has spoken out on his behalf. :“We are the Tozer family,” Pamela and William Tozer posted on Facebook Thursday night. “We are Moose Cree and we have deep roots in the James Bay region called Mushkegowuk. The Cree side of our families (goes) back centuries on this land.

    “Joseph Boyden has been like family to us for over 20 years. It started when he came to the region as a teacher and has continued ever since. He and his family are as close to our family as one could ever hope. Our families are one family.”

    People are saying he’s committing cultural genocide too . . . It’s ridiculous. And it’s the colonial mind, too. That’s what’s so depressing about how this is being played out. Yes: ask for accountability, ask questions. But now it’s just attacks on social media. Activists going on about his ‘impotence.’ It’s sad and hateful.

  5. There is something just very sad about all of this. Business trumps what’s right far too often.

  6. I think this absolutely ridiculous Lisa Meeches is doing this. Boyden does NOT deserve the Indigenous recognition he craves from his fakery. He deserves to shut up already and deal with his consequences he made himself. He should openly admit to his doing not half fast his lies constant over the years. His apology had no full empathy of his actions and it was a slap in the face saying so what, I’ll continue this game of fakery. The mystery of Boyden roots is HE HAS NONE. Genealogist’s have posted his tree. I understand Lisa Meeches need to heal from losing a brother, but this is not the right way to add to the controversy. Boyden will not be welcome in many circles now, and maybe never. He went about it the wrong way, and people will consider him another Grey Owl. People will despise him, and it will NEVER be forgotten. Boyden is a talented writer, however one has to think twice about taking his books to heart with the lack of intergity he amplifies in everyday life. He will never be Indigenous, and it’s time he just be quiet, and shut up already.

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