Seven Fallen Feathers by journalist Tanya Talaga is a non-fiction narrative investigating the deaths of seven young Indigenous children in Thunder Bay between the years 2000 and 2011.
Talaga beautifully brings the stories of the youths and their families together describing in great detail small things such as their hobbies to bigger future goals these youths had. Talaga’s writing style is captivating! Each chapter of the book introduces you to an indigenous youth who was forced to move hundreds of kilometers away from his/her home in pursuit of an education beyond elementary level.
As a fellow youth, I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been living in an unfamiliar area away from the love and care of your family.
Throughout this book, it becomes clearer how different the northern and southern regions of Thunder Bay are from each other. The northern region of Thunder Bay is home to many Indigenous communities with a lower quality of life on reserves often lacking the most basic human needs such as clean water, health services and even a complete education system. The southern region however is the opposite generally having a higher quality of life.
The author connects their deaths to structural racism and colonialism that exists in the three levels of Canada’s government and towards the end of the book, she touches upon ways to bring about reconciliation.
What I loved most and according to me I would consider a desire-based approach was the way Talaga not only told us about the pain and hardships Indigenous people endured, she also put in great focus on the lives of these youths, how much they were loved by their communities and the responsibilities they had at such a young age.
This was one of the required readings in an indigenous truth and resilience course I took in University where we had to write a seven-page book review on it. I can’t say this book was an easy read, in fact, it took me a long time to finish reading so much that I submitted my assignment TEN days late! (I almost FAILED that course…almost).
There were many upsetting, horrifying and triggering scenes in this book however it is the truth and the truth deserves to be heard. I think every Canadian should give it a read. Everyone needs to know the hard truths about Canada’s past and ongoing effects of colonialism and racism as well as the resilience indigenous civilizations continue to show.
I believe you can purchase the physical copy or an Ebook from many online sites. Personally I got the physical book from Indigo. Feel free to share your thoughts with us and I hope you found this review helpful. 🙂