During the last twenty-five years of his life, Drew Hayden Taylor has done many things, most of which he is proud of. An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, he has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to being Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright (with over 70 productions of his work), a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on over 17 documentaries exploring the Native experience. Most notably, he wrote and directed Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew, a documentary on Native humour for the National Film Board of Canada.
He has traveled to seventeen countries around the world, spreading the gospel of Native literature to the world. Through many of his books, most notably the four volume set of the Funny, You Don’t Look Like One series, he has tried to educate and inform the world about issues that reflect, celebrate, and interfere in the lives of Canada’s First Nations.
Self described as a contemporary storyteller, he co-created and for three years was the head writer for Mixed Blessings, a television comedy series, as well as contributed scripts to four other popular Canadian television series. In 2007, a made-for-television movie that he wrote, based on his Governor General’s nominated play In A World Created by a Drunken God, was nominated for three Gemini Awards, including Best Movie. Originally it aired on APTN and opened the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, and the Dreamspeakers Film Festival in Edmonton. In 2011 and 2012, he wrote the script for the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards.
The last few years have seen him proudly serve as the Writer-In-Residence at the University of Michigan, the University of Western Ontario, University of Luneburg (Germany), Ryerson University, Wilfrid Laurier, as well as a host of Canadian theatre companies such as Cahoots Theatre, Blyth Theatre, etc.
In 2007, Annick Press published his first novel, The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel, a teen novel about an Ojibway vampire. Several years ago, his non-fiction book exploring the world of Native sexuality, called Me Sexy, was published by Douglas & McIntyre. It is a follow up to his highly successful book on Native humour, Me Funny. The third installment, Me Artsy, has just been released and deals with the Aboriginal artistic spirit.
Most recently, Douglas & McIntyre published a collection of his Native themed science fiction short stories, titled Take Us to Your Chief: And Other Stories(featured at Fog Lit Festival 2017). Add to this his fresh from the press new play, Crees in the Carribean, and this brings his publication total to 30 books.
Oddly enough, the thing that his mother was most proud of was his ability to make spaghetti from scratch.
Take Us to Your Chief (summary):
Take Us to Your Chief is a collection of archetypal science-fiction stories reinvented with a contemporary First Nations outlook. The nine stories in this collection span all traditional tropes of science fiction – from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor’s First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, or highlighting the impossibility of remaining a “good Native” in such an unnatural situation as a space mission. Infused with Native stories and compellingly mysterious, magical and humorous,Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950’s-esque science fiction with modern First Nations discourse.