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Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel’s Nishga is a groundbreaking, deeply personal, and devastating autobiographical meditation that attempts to address the complicated legacies of Canada’s residential school system and contemporary Indigenous existence. It is necessary reading; an astounding work that explores some of the most pressing issues of our time. Journalist and award-winning author, Tanya Talaga, who has worked throughout her career to document and advocate for the need for justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada, speaks to Abel about his latest work. They speak to confronting difficult truths, and how both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples engage with a history of colonial violence that is quite often rendered invisible. This is not only essential reading; it’s essential listening.
The content in this conversation can be difficult and upsetting. Some resources that are available for Indigenous survivors are:
Indian Residential School Crisis Line provides essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas. Call their 24/7 crisis line at 604-985-4464 or 1-800-721-0066. www.irsss.ca
The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. Call toll-free 1-855-242-3310 or start a confidential chat with a counsellor at www.hopeforwellness.ca.
KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides 24 hour crisis services for Indigenous people in BC. Adults: 250-723-4050 / Youth: 250-723-2040 / Toll-free: 1-800-588-8717. www.kuu-uscrisisline.com
Educational resources for settlers:
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Reports, including the 94 calls to action for reconciliation. nctr.ca/records/reports
- Beyond 94: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada is an immersive website on the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, monitoring the progress and tracking the outcomes of that journey.
Presented in partnership with SFU’s Master of Publishing program.
Participants and Speakers
JORDAN ABEL is a Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Un/inhabited, and Injun (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize). Abel’s work has been published in numerous journals and magazines—including Canadian Literature and Poetry Is Dead—and his visual poetry has been exhibited at the Polygon Gallery and the Oslo Pilot Project Room. He teaches Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta. (BRITISH COLUMBIA)
TANYA TALAGA is the author of Seven Fallen Feathers: a multi-award winning, nationally bestselling title. Talaga was the 2017–2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy and the 2018 CBC Massey Lecturer.