(Photo by Steve Russell)
Tanya Talaga has been a journalist at the Toronto Star for twenty years, covering everything from general city news to education, national healthcare, foreign news, and Indigenous affairs. She has been nominated five times for the Governor General’s Michener Award in public service journalism. In 2015, she was part of a team that won a National Newspaper Award for a year-long project on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. She was also on a team that won a 2013 National Newspaper Award for a series on the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. Tanya’s grandmother is Ojibwe, a member of Fort William First Nation, and her mother was raised off-reserve by her grandmother, a residential school survivor from Kenora. Her great-grandfather, an Ojibwe trapper, was raised in the bush outside of Thunder Bay. She lives in Toronto with her two teenage children. Tanya received the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy for 2017 to 2018, and will be exploring the issue of youth suicide in Indigenous communities.
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 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. Seven Fallen Feathers (Anansi Press) is a sweeping narrative which delves into the history of a small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against indigenous communities. Seven Fallen Fathers is set to be released on September 30, 2017.