Award-winning author Joseph Boyden speaking at Lakehead University

February 26, 2014 – Thunder Bay, ON

As part of Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Week, award-winning author Joseph Boyden will discuss what he learned about race relations before Canada’s Confederation; knowledge he gained while researching his 2013 bestselling novel The Orenda. 

Boyden will give a free talk at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 5 at Lakehead University in UC 1017. His talk is called The Past and the Future are Present: Race Relations in Canada.

“The old cliché is that to know where you’re going you have to know where you came from,” Boyden said. “Many people believe everything started in Canada in 1867 with John A. Macdonald but there were forces at work before that.”

When the Europeans first arrived on Turtle Island, they brought with them their ways, their traditions and their customs.

Determined to ‘civilise’ those who already inhabited the land, the Europeans did not recognize nor appreciate that the Original Peoples of this land were already living a rich life with fully developed and sophisticated systems of governance, customs, traditions, and knowledge.

“Many Canadians don’t know our own history. In order to understand what First Nations issues are – and they are some of the most pressing environmental, social and political issues – we need to think about how we treat the fastest growing segment of our population, and this relates to The Orenda,” Boyden said.

“We must look at our roots to understand how the tree grows,” Boyden said, adding this will be the first time he has come to Thunder Bay.

Boyden has written three novels, a short story collection and a non-fiction book. His first novel, Three Day Road, was awarded the Rogers Writers’ Trust of Fiction Prize. His follow-up, Through Black Spruce, won the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize; both novels are national and international bestsellers. His most recent novel, The Orenda, has been drawing critical acclaim and is a national #1 bestseller.

“Joseph Boyden’s talk will be of interest to anyone who is studying or passionate about history or race relations in Canada,” said Dr. Umed Panu, Associate Vice-President (Research, Economic Development and Innovation).

“This will be a popular evening that will fill up fast. Anyone who wants to attend this talk should arrive early,” Dr. Panu added.

Boyden will sign books after the talk. Refreshments will be served. This event is sponsored by Lakehead University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, the Office of Research Services, the Department of Political Science, the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, and the Department of English.

Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Week runs from March 1-7. For more information, please visit



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In 2015, Lakehead University will celebrate 50 years of exceptional education. Guided by a new Strategic Plan (2013-2018), our University is known for providing an education focused on independent thinking, unconventional scholarship, and a close sense of community. About 9,700 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work in ten faculties at two campuses, in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Home to Ontario’s first new Faculty of Law in 44 years (Fall 2013) and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine's West Campus, Lakehead is among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities (2014 Maclean’s University Rankings), as well as 1st in Ontario and 2nd in Canada for its innovative research (Re$earch Infosource). Our Orillia campus is the first in North America to be built entirely to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. Share your Lakehead story as it relates to our Strategic Plan at, and learn more about Lakehead at