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Tanya Talaga on What Canada Can Learn from the Stories of Indigenous People

Tanya Talaga on What Canada Can Learn from the Stories of Indigenous People

Through sharing her own family story, Tanya Talaga is retelling the history of Canada from an Indigenous lens in her deeply personal and meticulously researched new book, The Knowing.

The Knowing by Tanya Talaga

Tanya is an award-winning Anishinaabe author and journalist. Her first book, Seven Fallen Feathers — which introduced readers to seven Indigenous high school students who mysteriously died in Thunder Bay, Ontario — won the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the First Nation Communities Read Award: Young Adult/Adult.

In her new book, available August 2024, Tanya introduces readers to her great-great grandmother, Annie Carpenter. Over the course of eight decades, she charts the government- and church-sanctioned abuse and violence that haunted her family — a story that is not unique to her.

“Every Indigenous family shares part of the same story. We all have been touched by Indian Residential Schools, Indian Day Schools, Indian Hospitals, and sanitariums — we’ve had family, community members, or friends who were taken away or forced to attend,” Tanya said in an email to CBC.  

“We have all heard of someone who didn’t come home — this is The Knowing. It is Canada’s shame. If every Indigenous person looked for our missing family, found out what happened to them, we could change the narrative of the story of Canada. Family by family. Truth by truth.”

The Knowing: Four-Part Docuseries

Adapted from her new book, Tanya has also created a four-part docuseries that will premiere in Fall 2024 on CBC. It documents her long search to discover her family’s story, and just how deeply intertwined it is with Canada’s residential school system.

It was produced through Tanya’s own production company, Makwa Creative, which she founded to amplify Indigenous voices and stories across Canada and the world. She has also produced the documentary, Spirit to Soar, which was inspired by Seven Fallen Feathers; the podcast, Auntie Up; and the Audible Original podcast, Seven Truths.

All Our Relations: Find the Path Forward

In 2018, Tanya became the first Anishinaabe women to be a CBC Massey Lecturer. Her lecture series entitled “All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward”, explored the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous Peoples.

The CBC Massey Lectures are celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2024. They sat down with Tanya to reflect on her lectures and how the stories of Indigenous peoples offer lessons for Canada today and how we can set forward on a new path for our nation based on inclusivity and equity.

As a keynote speaker, Tanya Talaga creates an intimate experience for her audience. She shares her in-depth knowledge on Indigenous culture and history, humanizing the legacy of residential schools and colonization. Audiences leave her presentations empowered through her hopeful message that we can learn from our past and build a new future for our nation based on inclusivity and equity.

Contact us to learn more about Tanya and how to book her to speak at your next event.