Conversations about Indigenous Manhood

Sam McKegney (Editor), Joseph Boyden (Interviewee), Tomson Highway (Interviewee), Lee Maracle (Interviewee), Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair (Interviewee), Basil H. Johnston (Interviewee), Dana Claxton (Cover Design), Daniel David Moses (Interviewee), Louise Bernice Halfe (Interviewee), Taiaiake Alfred (Interviewee), Janice C. Hill (Interviewee), Kim Anderson (Interviewee), Thomas Kimeksun Thrasher (Interviewee), Brendan Hokowhitu (Interviewee), Ty P. Kawika Tengan (Interviewee), Warren Cariou (Interviewee), Alison Calder (Interviewee), Daniel Heath Justice (Interviewee), Adrian Stimson (Interviewee), Terrance Houle (Interviewee), Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm (Interviewee), Richard van Camp (Interviewee), Joanne Arnott (Interviewee), Neal McLeod (Interviewee), Gregory Scofield (Interviewee)


What does it mean to be an Indigenous man today? Between October 2010 and May 2013, Sam McKegney conducted interviews with leading Indigenous artists, critics, activists, and elders on the subject of Indigenous manhood. In offices, kitchens, and coffee shops, and once in a car driving down the 401, McKegney and his participants tackled crucial questions about masculine self-worth and how to foster balanced and empowered gender relations.

Masculindians captures twenty of these conversations in a volume that is intensely personal, yet speaks across generations, geography, and gender boundaries. As varied as their speakers, the discussions range from culture, history, and world view to gender theory, artistic representations, and activist interventions. They speak of possibility and strength, of beauty and vulnerability. They speak of sensuality, eroticism, and warriorhood, and of the corrosive influence of shame, racism, and violence. Firmly grounding Indigenous continuance in sacred landscapes, interpersonal reciprocity, and relations with other-than-human kin, these conversations honour and embolden the generative potential of healthy Indigenous masculinities.


“As the first of its kind, this collection of conversations about Indigenous masculinity offers an invaluable contribution to the fields of Indigenous Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Indigenous Literature and Cultural Studies, Settler Colonial Studies, and beyond.”

Allison Hargreaves, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus

"A rich, complex series of discussions of one of the most pressing subjects of Indigenous decolonization today… McKegney’s twenty-two in-depth conversations with Indigenous artists, activists, and intellectuals both inside the academy and in community are each tremendously useful in helping readers understand what is at stake in the ways we define Indigenous masculinities, celebrate them, critique them, construct them within our families and in our communities, and live them as men."

Christopher B Teuton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"McKegney interviews male and female educators, artists (including writers such Joseph Boyden, Lee Maracle and Tomson Highway), scholars, social workers, elders, and others who attest to the myriad conceptions of indigenous manhood that range from the affirmingly spiritual to the purposefully vulnerable. [...] Many a fascinating discussion about modern indigenous identities."

Publishers Weekly

Masculindians is not a book about tragic masculinities. Rather, the contributors share compelling stories of beautiful and healthy masculinities disrupted by colonization. Their stories speak of resilience and resistance and resurgence.”

P. Kelly Mitton, The Goose

"A valuable contribution to Indigenous masculinity studies. Very few texts focus on Indigenous manhood and masculinities, and this book provides an opportunity to expand this area of study and to engage in conversations on Indigenous community and Native nation building."

Lloyd L. Lee, Wicazo Sa Review

"Masculindians is a collection of twenty-three conversations with Indigenous women and men from throughout North America and Oceania, Two-Spirit and straight people, as well as artists and scholars who talked about, among other things, Indigenous masculinity. The chapters are more than conversations. They are artifacts from which we can later draw meaning in order to reimagine Indigenous masculinity's pluralisms, possibilities, and potentials."

Kyle T. Mays, Native American and Indigenous Studies

“Distills the acumen of the scholars, journalists, playwrights, authors, poets, mothers, fathers, and sons who sat with him and identified, and commiserated on, the paradigms of maleness and manliness.”

Eldon Yellowhorn, BC Studies

“A strong beginning to the work of critical studies of Indigenous masculinities.”

John Gamber, Transmotion

About the Authors

Sam McKegney is the author of Magic Weapons: Aboriginal Writers Remaking Community After Residential School and numerous articles on Indigenous and Canadian literatures. He is an associate professor of English and Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair (Anishinaabe) is Assistant Professor in the departments of English and Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.

Kim Anderson is a Cree/Métis writer, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Relationships, and Associate Professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph.

Alison Calder teaches English at the University of Manitoba and is a winner of the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for poetry.

Joanne Arnott (Métis) A Métis/mixed-blood writer, originally from Manitoba.

Other contributors: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Taiaiake Alfred, Kim Anderson, Joanne Arnott, Joseph Boyden, Alison Calder, Warren Cariou, Louise Bernice Halfe, Tomson Highway, Brendan Hokowhitu, Terrance Houle, Basil H. Johnson, Daniel Heath Justice, Janice C. Hill Kanonhsyonni, Lee Maracle, Neal McLeod, Daniel David Moses, Gregory Scofield, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Adrian Stimson, Ty P. Kawika Tengan, Thomas Kimeksum Thrasher, Richard Van Camp

Table of Contents

‘Into the full grace of the blood in men’—An Introduction by Sam McKegney

PART I: Wisdom
Where Are the Men?—Janice C. Hill Kanonhsyonni
Repairing the Circle—Tomson Highway
This is a Vision—Lee Maracle
Young Men of Good Will—Basil H. Johnston
A Calm Sensuality—Louise Bernice Halfe
Carrying the Burden of Peace—Daniel David Moses
A Man Beside My Father—Thomas Kimeksum Thrasher

PART II: Knowledge
Reimagining Warriorhood—Taiaiake Alfred
Remembering the Sacredness of Men—Kimberly Anderson
Embodied Masculinity and Sport—Brendan Hokowhitu
Talking Story, Remaking Community—Ty P. Kāwika Tengan
Changing the Script—Warren Cariou & Alison Calder
Fighting Shame through Love—Daniel Heath Justice

PART III: Imagination
Deeper than a Blood Tie—Adrian Stimson & Terrance Houle
Manhood through Vulnerability—Joseph Boyden
Reclaiming Protectorship—Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
Into the Tribe of Man—Richard Van Camp
Intimate like Muscle and Bone—Joanne Arnott
Tending the Fire—Neal McLeod
A Liberation through Claiming—Gregory Scofield

‘After and Towards’—A Dialogue on the Future of Indigenous Masculinities Studies with Niigaanwewidam Sinclair & Sam McKegney