Valley of the Birdtail: An Indian Reserve, a White Town, and the Road to Reconciliation

Alpine Books

9781443466325

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A heart-rending true story about racism and reconciliation

Divided by a beautiful valley and 150 years of racism, the town of Rossburn and the Waywayseecappo Indian reserve have been neighbours nearly as long as Canada has been a country. Their story reflects much of what has gone wrong with relations between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians. It also offers, in the end, an uncommon measure of hope.

Valley of the Birdtail chronicles how two communities became separate and unequal—and what this means for the rest of us. In Rossburn, which was once settled by Ukrainian immigrants fleeing poverty and persecution, family income is near the national average and more than a third of adults have graduated from university. In Waywayseecappo, the average family lives below the national poverty line and less than a third of adults have graduated from high school, with many haunted by their time in residential schools.

This book follows multiple generations of two families, one white and one Indigenous, weaving their lives into the larger story of Canada. It is a story of villains and heroes, irony and idealism, racism and reconciliation. Valley of the Birdtail has the ambition to change the way we think about our past and light a path to a better future.



AWARDS  OLA Evergreen Award  KOBO Emerging Writer Prize  Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing  John W. Dafoe Book Prize  Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize

Softcover