Seven Fallen Feathers

An Invitation to Walk a Mile

By Tanya Talaga
Canadian, 2017
Non-Fiction, Biography, Indigenous Issues

Table of Contents

1.  Finding the Story to Tell
2.  This Happened Before
3.  Some Culture Shock
4.  Past Hurts
5.  Hollowness Remains
6.  How can we Protect the Youth?
7.  They were Brothers
8.  A Desperate Plea
9.  They Matter, Too
10.  Seven Fallen Feathers


Cuisine & Delicacies
Ranked as: Hearty Veggie Burger
This non-fiction book tells the story of so much more than the seven students who were found.  It goes through the lives of each student, their community & family.  Once their passing occurs,    Talaga gives over the details from when the child went missing, to how the police responded any follow up or lack of.  Finally, she concludes with an overview of the inquest that happened in Thunder Bay as part of why so many are dying while attending school.    

Why Visit Here

This 5 minute video is a woman sharing her experiences with racism in Thunder Bay, part of a series of interviews by TVO. 

Destination Summary

Talaga begins the book with the layout of Thunder Bay & it’s historical roots.  She goes into the colonial history of Canada with very personal details and is told from a storyteller’s point of view.  She crafts her narrative very carefully so we can discover pieces of the story, bit by bit.  Then she begins to tell the story of each child and concludes with the court cases & unanswered questions.  

Off the Beaten Path

This 10 Min. video is of the artist who created the painting on the book’s cover.  He explains the inspiration & story behind this painting.

Travel Advisory

The author is a journalist with the Toronto Star and much of her book  is well written with a very human voice.  She gives resonating descriptions for many scenes.  The subject matter deals with high school students who have died with no explanations or closure for anyone.  The result is understandably grieving parents, peers and their community.  She does go into detail of where the children were found, when and how.  

She addresses each story with journalistic details while not being too graphic for the general public. It’s a very difficult subject to read about but one that’s important for Canadians to begin a dialogue about.  She’s telling this story with a clear agenda, to raise questions about Canada’s social systems and how Indigenous people exist within them.  I recommend it for people who know all about the issues surrounding native people, for those who don’t and could be afraid to learn.  It’s a book that condenses wider issues into a smaller scope that’s biased towards saying: there is a problem & we all have to fix it.  Working towards understanding and conversations is great first step.   

Packing List

✓ Map of Thunder Bay provided in the book
✓ Box of Tissues & Someone to Vent To
✓ Courage to Explore the Darker Chapters in Canada’s History

Alternate Videos
✓ Racism and Death in Thunder Bay, The Agenda, TVO (2017) - An interview with the author that covers the details & story behind the book.

✓ Stories from the River’s Edge, Fifth Estate, CBC News () - A news special on the same subject as Seven Fallen Feathers, but includes the voices of those affected with scenes of the school & the city of Thunder Bay.

✓ Interview with Tanya Talaga, Face to Face (APTN) - Tanya answers questions about the book on an Native Canadian News platform. 

✓ RBC Taylor Prize Shortlist Announcement (2018), Seven Fallen Feathers won for 2018 - the lady who gives an introduction for each book almost cries, it’s so charming to see @ 6:22

✓ Canada Reads Longlist Announcement (2018), Seven Fallen Feathers made the long list

Alternate Books
✓ Indian Residential Schools in Ontario By Donald Auger (2005) - It’s mentioned in Talaga’s book where she explains, it’s a history of the residential schools in Ontario published by NAN (Nishnawbe Aski Nation - a governing body for the native people in Northern Ontario)