During Sunday weekly brunch with my parents, my dad told me about a book he had read. Since we have the same reading tastes, I wanted to hear more about Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga. What can I say other than I’m knee-deep in this book. It’s so good, I had to place on hold the book I’m currently reading.
The author brings to life the Northern City she speaks about, as if she’s a local, but she states she’s from Toronto. Although she’s a journalist by trade, she could pass for a fictional author with her vivid descriptions of the setting, the people, and the hard truths.
Here is the blurb courtesy of Goodreads: In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called and four recommendations were made to prevent another tragedy. None of those recommendations were applied.
More than a quarter of a century later, from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the minus twenty degrees Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water.
Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.