Shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, a Globe And Mail Top 100 Book, and a National Post 99 Best Book Of The Year… and now Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga is the winner of the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize!
“I am probably one of the only people who won this award who would say they wish they didn’t have to write this book… I had seven reasons: Jordan Wabasse, Kyle Morrisseau, Curran Strang, Robyn Harper, Paul Panacheese, Reggie Bushie and Jethro Anderson,” said Tanya after winning the prize.
Prize founder Noreen Taylor stated afterwards, “there is a self-assurance about Canada which is being expressed not only in writers’ willingness to explore the world around us but also in their willingness to pursue today’s necessary stories. These endeavours help propel us into making informed and confident choices about our future. It is these accomplishments that the RBC Taylor Prize celebrates with Seven Fallen Feathers.”
About Seven Fallen Feathers
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.