By Tanya Talaga
House of Anansi Press, 2018
Review by Serisha Iyar
Acclaimed author of Seven Fallen Feathers, Tanya Talaga’s newest work, All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward is a product of the CBC’s Massey Lectures Series. Through this important piece, Talaga provides critical insight into the increased levels of youth suicide across Indigenous communities. She illustrates the necessary contextualization of Canada’s colonial legacy and the resulting harms it has caused. Her thoughtful analysis of the genocidal policies that have damaged Indigenous communities in Canada, highlights how they have been systematically developed over time to ensure continuity. She presents a unique lens of comparative history that showcases both the struggle and survival of Indigenous communities across the world.
Drawing examples from countries like Australia, Brazil and Norway, Talaga reveals to the audience the global injustices that have been done to Indigenous peoples. The trends of education, religion, and foster care being used as tools for genocide and continued oppression demonstrate the horrifying target that has been placed specifically on Indigenous children.
Talaga’s work serves as an important wake-up call for settlers who do not know the complex history of Indigenous persecution despite benefiting from the destruction it has caused. Her work also exemplifies that the resilience of Indigenous peoples continues to push forward in the face of extreme adversity.
Talaga features the tireless efforts of community leaders such as, Cindy Blackstock, Senator Murray Sinclair and MP Romeo Saganash, among many more, who bring light to the darkness that has been forced upon them. As Talaga’s work notes, “We Were Always Here” and “We Are Not Going Anywhere.”