The devastating reality of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples cannot be ignored as we commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial. Join Lorri Neilson Glenn for an examination of the lives of her grandmothers in the Red River region and Tanya Talaga for an investigation into the ongoing situation in Thunder Bay and what it can teach us about Indigenous life in Canada.
A tragic fire on Lake Winnipeg and her aunt Kay’s haunting family photos set Lorri Neilsen Glenn on the path to learn the story of her great-grandmother Catherine’s life and death. Digging deep into Rupert’s Land fur-trading history, Lorri traces five generations of grandmothers back to York Factory and the Red River Settlement. But details of the lives of these Indigenous women and their contemporaries are sparse: sexism, colonial biases and religious and class conflicts threaten to erase their stories. In elegant prose, poetry and forms in-between, the former Halifax Poet Laureate pieces together portraits of women only glimpsed in newspaper articles, museums and archives. Following the River: Traces of Red River Women is a lyrical reflection on the importance of remembering and honouring women whose strength and resilience have survived generations.
In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from a 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. They were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. In Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City 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.
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