Seven Fallen Feathers

Seven Fallen Feathers

Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in A Northern City

Book - 2017
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Perseus Publishing

In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called for and four recommendations were made to ensure the safety of indigenous students. 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 because there was no high school on their reserves. 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° 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. But it was the death of twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack that foreshadowed the loss of the seven.

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.

The shocking true story covered by the Guardian and the New York Times of the seven young indigenous students who were found dead in a northern Ontario city.

  • Tanya Talaga is an award-winning journalist. She won a National Newspaper Award as part of a year-long team project on the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh and also was a part of the team nominated for a National Newspaper Award for their series of stories on murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.
  • Tanya was the first journalist to cover the story of the seven missing Aboriginal kids in Thunder Bay.
  • Recently, indigenous issues have come to the fore in the U.S. media, with the 2016 Native American protest against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
  • Perfect for the institutional market, as well as for those interested in Indigenous rights.

Publisher: Toronto :, Anansi,, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781487002268
Branch Call Number: 305.89707 TAL
Characteristics: 361 pages :,maps ;,22 cm.
Alternative Title: 7 fallen feathers


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debwalker Feb 28, 2018

Tanya Talaga won the C$25,000 RBC Taylor Prize, which honors the best in Canadian nonfiction, for for her book Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City.
In its citation, the jury said: "Talaga has written Canada's J'Accuse, an open letter to the rest of us about the many ways we contribute--through act or inaction--to suicides and damaged existences in Canada's indigenous communities. Tanya Talaga's account of teen lives and deaths in and near Thunder Bay is detailed, balanced and heart-rending. Talaga describes gaps in the system large enough for beloved children and adults to fall through, endemic indifference, casual racism and a persistent lack of resources. It is impossible to read this book and come away unchanged."

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