I had the privilege of picking this book up when I attended the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) in 2019. Tanya Talaga spoke so eloquently at this festival and was a real class act. My face to face book club chose this for our April book selection and I was happy to finally have a chance to read it.
This is a non-fiction book that is well researched and centers around seven indigenous teenagers in Thunder Bay, ON who all died between 2000 and 2011. Talaga takes us from these young people's northern communities, giving us reasons why they came to Thunder Bay, and the difficulties they had in adjusting to a city. Not only were they trying to understand a new place, but a new culture and mindset. They faced challenges at their high school, with their boarding houses and being so far away from their home and families.
This would be difficult enough, but there is also the biases, the racism and the prejudice that they can't seem to get away from. All of their deaths are mysterious, all of them were either not investigated or not investigated well, and all of them are still unsolved. Even when an inquest is made and recommendations are given, history repeats itself and the recommendations are not applied.
These tragedies are results of something much greater happening in Canada. It is a sad and heartbreaking story of how indigenous people have been mistreated, dismissed and ignored and how it continues to present day.
We still have a long way to go in this country and this book is an important read to understand some of the historical and present day issues we face as Canadians. As I've said about previous books, this is not an easy topic, but I think this is a book that all Canadians should read.
Note: I love the story behind the painting on the cover. If you ever get a chance to visit McMichael Canadian Art Gallery, you will see more of this artist's paintings which are incredible. One of them is on my blog.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛