Recently on March 21, Boyce Richardson celebrated his 75th birthday. He is a man I consider to be a non-native Elder for me in the south and I have talked to him both by phone and by email. His insights are as sharp as ever. It is great to be able to talk to someone with the amount of experience he has had over the years. His experiences go far beyond just journalism and how to apply that field of study. He brings a sharp insight with a heart to it. His articles and work among the Cree have made him a friend to one and all. Best birthday wishes from the Nation and myself.
Boyce Richardson was born in Wyndham, New Zealand, in I928.
He left school to take a job as a copy-holder in the reading room of The Southland Times. After six month he transferred as a cadet reporter to The Southland Daily News. In 1948 he joined The Evening Star. That was just the start of his career.
In 1950 Boyce married Shirley Norton, to whom he is still married. They moved to Australia, where he took a job in The Daily Mercury.
In September, 1951 Boyce returned to England, later getting a job as a reporter, then Chief Reporter, on The Coventry Standard, a weekly in Coventry, Warwickshire.
They emigrated to Canada in September, 1954. He continued in the media.
Boyce worked as a reporter for The Northern Daily News, Kirkland Lake, Ontario and later worked at The Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Boyce joined The Montreal Star, Montreal, Quebec, in August, 1957 working for them until 1971.
He has had articles published in most major Canadian newspapers since 1968; in particular, in The Beaver, and Canadian Forum, The Ottawa Citizen, and The Gazette.
He has written thousands of articles, many books, and have directed and written more than 30 documentary films.
Boyce rightfully was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2002.
Below is a list of some stuff Boyce did with Native implications:
James Bay, the Plot to Drown the North Woods, Sierra Club, New York, and Clark Irwin, Toronto, I972. This was the first shot of Boyce’s opposition to the James Bay hydro project in northern Quebec, which began in 1971 and has lasted for 30 years.
Strangers Devour the Land, Knopf, New York, I976, Macmillan Canada, I976; re-issued in 1991 by Chelsea Green Publishing, Post Mills, Vermont, and Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver, with a foreword by Winona LaDuke Kapesheshit and a new epilogue. This looked into the daily lives of Cree hunters in the James Bay area. It was favorably reviewed across the continent, and is referred to frequently as “a classic.”
Drumbeat, (edited) Summerhill Press/ Assembly of First Nations, Toronto, 1989. This book of essays by Indian leaders across the country, assembled for the Assembly of First Nations, has proven to be influential and much used in educational circles.
People of Terra Nullius: Betrayal and Rebirth in Aboriginal Canada, Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver, 1993. This book summarized Boyce’s experience of quarter of a century of observing Aboriginal affairs in Canada, reading about the history, and talking to Aboriginal people.
The Emergent Indian.
Indians of the Northwest Territories.
Job’s Garden, Independent, I hour, 1973, (on the James Bay Indians)
BLOCKADE! Algonquins Defend the Forest!, NFB ,30 mins, 1990
Flooding Job’s Garden, Tamarack Prods, 1991 (on James Bay Indians)
Cree Hunters of Mistassini, NFB, I hour, I974 (on James Bay Indians), with Tony lanzelo. This film won the Flaherty Award for 1974, from the British Society for Film and Television Arts, for the best documentary in the tradition of Flaherty, and a special Award from the Melbourne Film Festival, 1975.
Our Land is Our Life, NFB, I hour, I975 (on Aboriginal rights) with Tony lanzelo
School in the Bush, 1986, 15 min 02 s (Cree education in the bush)
Boyce has undertaken major research projects for the National Film Board of Canada, on aboriginal rights and Algonquin Indians.
For the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (research into the history and condition of Canadian native people).
For the Assembly of First Nations (research on native child care, and government-Indian relations).
His speeches at Brown University, Providence, Rl; Yale University, New Haven, Conn; University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt; all in March 1991, were on the proposed Great Whale extension of the James Bay project.