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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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What listeners say about Seven Fallen Feathers

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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. #Audible1

8 people found this helpful

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Compelling story, misplaced blame

There is no doubt that indigenous peoples have suffered mightily since the first white man stepped onto this continent. There is also no doubt that indigenous society had been destroyed and their people will continue to suffer for generations. However... this book seems to blame the local police and social service agencies for the deaths of these teens, when in fact the tragic wheels were set in motion more than a century before their deaths occurred. The teens who died were all in the care of an indigenous school when they went missing. There’s no indication that even the fastest intervention by police would have saved any of the youth, yet the author is scathing in her condemnation of “racist, uncaring” police and their failure to save the youth. In many cases the youths were dead by the time police were even notified they were missing. It’s a tragic story, but to paint the police as villains doesn’t serve any purpose.

3 people found this 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.

3 people found this 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.

3 people found this 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.

5 people found this helpful

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Haunting

Heartbreakingly real. This book should be required reading for all Canadians. It opened my eyes to the terrible truth.

2 people found this 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 person found this helpful

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Incredible.

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

1 person found this 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 person found this helpful