Monday, August 31, 2020

All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward

 I saw Tanya Talaga deliver the first part of her five part Massey Lecture here in Thunder Bay.  I've never heard a Massey Lecture before, so I was curious if it would differ from the book form.

All Our Relations speaks largely to the suicide epidemic in Indigenous communities around the world.  Talaga argues that the inter-generational trauma caused by colonialism is largely at the root of this epidemic. Parents who themselves were traumatized in the residential schools and alienated from their culture are passing their trauma onto the younger generations, who in turn are bereft of their cultural and family ties, and, left feeling empty, are increasingly seeing suicide as the only way to deal with the pain and emptiness.  Indigenous people around the world are marginalized and fighting for their rights, often seen in negative and sometimes derogatory lights by the dominant cultures, and this as well is taking a toll on individuals.  

 Talaga shares some heartbreaking facts throughout the five lectures that comprise this book.  For this reason, All Our Relations is very informative and worth reading, particularly if you are part of the settler culture in places like North America, Australia, and Brazil.  I just wish the book was a little better organized; Talaga kind of goes all over the place with her anecdotes, and at times you are left wishing she had gone into more detail with them.

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