Librarian's Choice Book Review
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City
By, Tanya Talaga
What happened to seven First Nations teens who went to Thunder Bay for high school and ended up dead? This is the essential question award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga attempts to answer in this important book. The seven students were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city for the sake of getting an education. These kids suffered from both culture shock being in the “big city”, along with a wall of racism and hostility from the white population. On top of that, many come from very difficult and unstable family circumstances, including high rates of sexual violence, as well as a background culture of substance abuse. Did they go “off the rails”? Were their deaths accidental, suicide or foul play? Could the police have done more to investigate?
This book is a multiple award winner and is on more than one “Best of 2018” book lists! More importantly, by telling the personal stories of these lost teens it sheds light on the effects of intergenerational trauma suffered by Aboriginal peoples in Canada and the systemic racism they continue to face. Tanya Talaga, who is Annishinabe, says, “I want Canadians to understand that by reading this book, these seven kids, they were all our responsibilities, they were Canada's responsibilities and we're continuing to fail our kids, our Indigenous kids specifically.” This story will help you better understand the reality of your First Nations peers and that understanding is an important step towards reconciliation in Canada.