Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City ~ Tanya Talaga

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Seven Fallen Feathers is a non-fiction account of the 7 indigenous teens that died in Thunder Bay, Ontario, between 2000 and 2011 when they left their northern Ontario reservations to attend high school in the city. Talaga originates the story with the death of a residential school student named Chanie Wenjack, who ran away from his residential school, only to turn up dead and there being little, to no investigation into the case. In Canada, residential schools were a terrible reality for decades that seized First Nations children, and gathered them to a school far from their families in an effort to “kill the Indian in the child” (a disgusting real quote from the inception of the residential schools). In 1989, Canada finally closed the residential schools, due to the many abuses children suffered in the schools. But we did not improve the education system for First Nations children. In Seven Fallen Feathers, Talaga discusses the fact that there is no choice for secondary education near their reservations, and therefore are still required to relinquish their children to the government if they wish for them to receive a higher education. These children are sent to live in a city core, unsupervised and without parental guardianship, simply a curfew and school staff, along with a home stay parent, who is not required to provide any supervision. 5 out of 7 of these children were found beaten and dead in a Thunder Bay river, one died at home suddenly and one died in custody, and in every instance, within hours of the bodies being discovered, before a post-mortem had been completed, Thunder Bay Police ruled the deaths accidental, and closed their investigations. It took more than a decade before a Coroner’s Inquest was called. This book is an important book to read. I truly believe that it is important for all North Americans to read Talaga’s work, and to educate themselves as to the state of Aboriginal affairs. (376 pgs) #firstnations #canada #aboriginal #residentialschool #death #teen #truthandreconciliation #read #bookstagram #book #books #reading #blog #follow

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