It’s been a pretty good start to the new year for Tanya Talaga — in addition to making longlist for the 2018 CBC Canada Reads, she’s now been announced as a finalist for the 2018 RBC Charles Taylor Prize!
The RBC Taylor Prize “commemorates Charles Taylor’s pursuit of excellence in the ﬁeld of literary non-ﬁction. The Prize will be awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception,” and comes with a $25,000 for the winner.
Congratulations, Tanya! We’re all crossing our fingers for you when the winner gets announced on February 26th!
In 1966, twelve-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 minus twenty 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 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.
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.