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Seven Fallen Feathers

Written by: Tanya Talaga
Narrated by: Michaela Washburn
Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
5 out of 5 stars (151 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Finalist, 2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Finalist, 2017 Speaker's Book Award

Finalist, 2018 B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-fiction

In 1966, 12-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 -20 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 boardinghouse 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio. 

©2017 Tanya Talaga (P)2018 Anansi Audio

See Author Tanya Talaga at the 2019 FOLD

''There cannot be reconciliation in this country without basic rights,'' said the Seven Fallen Feathers author during a panel at the 2019 Festival of Literary Diversity. ''And until there is equity, we will not see that.''
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Essential reading for Canadians

This book illuminated a number of aspects about how indigenous people (particularly young people) struggle to thrive in Canada.

I would also recommend CBC's podcast series, Finding Cleo, as an excellent follow up for extending your knowledge of this contentious area of Canadian history.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Story Every Canadian Should Read

Some journalistic sensationalism at first to engage the reader but it settles into a story everyone should read. While it focuses on 7 deaths in Thunder Bay it speaks to a National injustice that continues to this day. It is sadly a Canadian story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Incredible.

This book is heartbreaking, impactful and incredibly important. Every single Canadian needs to read this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great story, but Audiobook is disorganized

Audiobook chapters not in line with book chapters, eg. chapter 6 of the book starts halfway through chapter 8 of the audiobook. Get the actual book if you're in a book club or reading for school.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Incredible

A searingly honest, moving, and beautifully caring book. I feel like I know every one of the children, and that is a gift. One of the most important books I've ever read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

What an eye opener to indigenous culture. Well written and very emotional. I believe everyone should read this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Accurate, riveting and will impact your soul

Feel the full weight of the reality of living as indigenous families in Ontario trying to battle against inadequate housing, water, justice, education, health and the constant bombardment of racism in a province in which you have no voice or respect. These real-life stories are the education I was deprived growing up in southern Ontario. This is a must-read if you think you should be proud of what we have made in Canada.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must read for all Canadians

This book eloquently weaves the sinister colonial past of Canada with the painful truth of the systemic racism it has left for Canadians to grapple with today. I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain insight into indigenous history and present struggle. We can only achieve true reconciliation through understanding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Emotional and a call to action!

Tanya Tagala's story of racism, death and hard truths in a northern Canadian city is almost unbelievable, but it's factual, true and happening in one of the greatest countries on earth. Seven Fallen Feathers is a call to action for all Canadians to ensure the segregation of our Native citizens ends now. This is also a book Canadian youth (grade 9 and up) should read. If we are to stop the racism, it must include our young soon-to-be adults. I could not stop listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thought provoking and real!

On a recommendation from keynote speaker and Global Teacher prize winner Maggie MacDonnell at the People for Education conference this past weekend.. I grabbed the audiobook for my drive home.

Seven Fallen Feathers is a meticulously researched and haunting account of the mysterious deaths of 7 indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The events leading up to and surrounding each of their untimely demise, the generations-long history of family trauma and suffering.. this book begs so many more questions than it answers, but is a MUST read!
My heart aches for these lost souls and those who surround them.

If you are looking for something thought provoking and REAL.. this is it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful