Book Talk Event: Valley of the Birdtail

On June 4, a crowd of over 60 Selwyn House community members and friends of the school gathered to reflect and learn from the book Valley of the Birdtail: an Indian Reserve, a White Town, and the Road to Reconciliation, co-authored by Andrew Stobo Sniderman '01, and Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii). The conversation with the authors was moderated by Wahiakatste Diome-Deer, the school’s Indigenization Process consultant, and Kawisente McGregor blessed us with the opening Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen.
The book speaks to the deep-rooted inequalities and injustices faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, a legacy of colonialism and systemic discrimination, and the profound and enduring effects on Indigenous peoples, contributing to intergenerational trauma, poverty, and social marginalization. The book focuses on real families living on opposite sides of a river; one family is the descendants of European settlers who were granted privileges and support systems which facilitated their prosperity and advancement. Meanwhile, Indigenous communities on the other side faced a multitude of barriers designed to marginalize and oppress them. These barriers included the forcible removal of children from their families and communities through the residential school system, restrictions on economic activities, limitations on mobility, suppression of cultural practices, and inadequate funding for essential services like education.
Through personal stories and a commitment to ensure that all Canadians learn more about these topics in schools, Andrew and Douglas talked openly about their 10-year journey of writing the book and how it has impacted them, as well as their hope for the future. 
It was a pleasure to see Andrew’s classmates and former teachers at the book talk, including Andrew’s former History teacher Tom Nicoll (now retired). Tom was the first teacher Andrew reached out to when his book was published…a full-circle moment.
A heartfelt thanks to the authors and everyone who came out to learn about the book and reflect on the school’s commitment to Indigenization.

To see all the photo of the event click here.