THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Winner – 2023 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize
Winner – 2023 John W. Dafoe Book Prize
Winner – 2023 High Plains Book Award for Indigenous Writer
Winner – 2022 Manitoba Historical Society Margaret McWilliams Book Award for Local History
Finalist – 2023 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
Finalist – Writers' Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
Nominated – 2023 Forest of Reading Evergreen
Shortlisted – 2023 Quebec Writers' Federation Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction and Concordia University First Book Prize
Finalist – Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize
Longlisted – 2023-2024 First Nations Communities Read
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 in relations between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians. It also offers, in the end, an uncommon measure of hope.
Valley of the Birdtail is about how two communities became separate and unequal—and what it means for the rest of us. In Rossburn, once settled by Ukrainian immigrants who fled 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, and weaves 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 show a path to a better future.