June 09, 2011 | By Regan McMahon, Special to The Chronicle
San Francisco author Lynn Ponton knows that teenagers are prone to risky behavior. An adolescent psychiatrist and professor at UCSF, she has written two books on the subject: “The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do” and “The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls.”
But when Ponton wrote her first novel, “Métis: Mixed Blood Stories,” she focused on adolescents in her own family, digging into her roots among the Métis – descendants of Cree and Assiniboine Indian women who married French and Scottish men in Canada, formed a hybrid French Catholic and Indian culture and later fled Canada and intermarried with people in Wisconsin.
Ponton, who grew up in Wheaton, Ill., outside Chicago, speaking a combination of French, Métis and English, is related to the Métis leader Louis Riel. Little known in the United States, Riel is a folk hero in Canada. He fought for Métis rights, led two resistance movements against the Canadian government, fled to exile in Montana and ultimately was executed in Canada for treason in 1885.
In “Métis,” Ponton portrays four family members of different generations at age 16. The characters are based on her father, grandmother, daughter (actually a composite of her two daughters, one a filmmaker, one a doctor who just graduated from UCSF) and herself.
Read this San Francisco Chronicle article.