By Risa Gluskin, Rapport editor

I started reading Seven Falling Feathers. I could not stop.

Tanya Talagaswshpd

Author Tanya Talaga speaking at SWSH-THHSSSC-TGTA PD Conference, Feb. 16, 2018, at Humberside CI in Toronto. Photo courtesy of Ewan Geddes.


Every educator in Ontario should read this book. It reminds us of our fundamental purpose, educating children. One would think that basic features of life, such as humanity, individuality, and community, are present in every Ontario city. How sad, then, when one learns that the teenagers of northwestern Ontario reserves must leave their homes to go to high school in a city where these values seem to be absent, at least for Indigenous young people. Tanya Talaga does a heartfeltly  honest job of portraying the seven teens who lost their lives as full human beings with families that loved them, teachers and counsellors that tried to watch over them, and unfortunately, others who took advantage of them or preyed on them. 


As almost all teachers in Ontario are soon to be experiencing revised curriculum based on the Ministry of Education’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, this is the perfect book to read for context. It links the teenagers’ stories to the long-term effects of Residential Schools and clearly makes the argument that having to leave home to go to high school is just another form of residential school. It links to the inequity of jury selection, a very current topic.  Also connected are systemic flaws such as police bias and inequity of funding for Indigenous education.


Sadly, safety was most lacking for the seven students who lost their lives upon going to live in Thunder Bay to attend high school.


As teachers, we take it for granted that everyone should be educated in a safe environment. Tanya Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers reminds us to work for that to become a reality for every student.


You will find many posts related to Indigenous history in this month’s edition of Rapport. As always, if you’d like to comment or contribute, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..






By Jan Haskings-Winner

In response to the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation, you may be looking to embed more relevant content into your History and Civics courses. You may already know that the Grade 10 History has been revised once again for September 2018. More resources will be provided to help teachers in the future.

OHASSTA developed this resource before the upcoming curriculum changes but these classroom resources are ready to go, for both Academic/Applied History and Civics. Please make a copy of all resources, rather than edit in the google doc.

Embedding Perspectives: A FNMI Exploration on Canadian and World Studies


FMNI graphic

Jan Haskings-Winner is ACL of Canadian and World Studies at Malvern C.I. in Toronto District School Board. 

By Sue Novak

His name is Eli.

He likes Cars. 

His favourite colours are blue and green.

He turns six on April 29. 

He would like Rainbow Bits cake and Buttercream icing.

This is a very typical description of a young boy living in Canada.  Where Eli differs from typical Canadian boys is that he lives in Pangnirtung, Nunavut.

the northern birthday box project

Birthday party box contents.


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Tree of Life by Donald Chretien. The Ministry of Education is using this painting, with the author’s permission, to illustrate their page.


By Raman Sarai

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action 62 and 63 around Education the Ontario Ministry of Education worked on revising the current Social Studies (4-6) and History (7-8, 10) curriculum.  “Revisions focus on strengthening the learning connected to Indigenous perspectives, cultures, histories and ways of knowing. This includes treaty education, the impacts of the residential school system, and the Indian Act.”