On Belonging: Indigenous Strength and Hope in the Wake of Genocide

Event Number: 69

Free (pay what you can)
Thanks to the support of the Y.P. Heung Foundation, Government of British Columbia and Raincoast Books.

On Belonging: Indigenous Strength and Hope in the Wake of Genocide

Saturday, Oct 26
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema

SFU Woodward’s
149 West Hastings Street

How do Indigenous women and girls move forward in a country that has allowed the race-based genocide of mothers, sisters, aunties and friends? How can Canada disempower the colonial structures that caused this? In this final event from Guest Curator Tanya Talaga, these essential questions are explored by three exceptional writers whose work mines the myriad repercussions of Canada’s abuse of Indigenous peoples—and the ways of belonging in spite of it. Cassandra Blanchard (Fresh Pack of Smokes), Alicia Elliott (A Mind Spread Out on the Ground) and Talaga herself (All Our Relations) share their perspectives in this powerful, important conversation. This is a special event of remembrance, honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) people.

Moderator: Angela Sterritt
Angela Sterritt is an award-winning journalist, writer, and artist from British Columbia. Sterritt has worked as a journalist for close to twenty years and currently works with CBC Vancouver as television, radio and online reporter. She is a proud member of the Gitxsan Nation. In 2018, she launched a cheeky CBC column called ReconcileTHIS that took on the tensions between Indigenous people and institutions in BC.

In 2017, Sterritt accepted the Investigative Award of the year from Journalists for Freedom of Expression for her team at CBC and their coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The topic is the focus of a book she is now writing that digs into the cases of those missing or murdered along the Highway of Tears, at the Pickton farm and in Manitoba. Her book also centers on her own story of growing up on the streets and subjected to violence in Vancouver.

Donations collected on-site at this event will benefit nǝćamat, the 4th annual DTES Indigenous Women’s Village of Wellness.




Presented in partnership with Vancity and SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

Event Participants:

Cassandra Blanchard

British Columbia

Cassandra Blanchard was born in Whitehorse, Yukon and is part of the Selkirk First Nation. Fresh Pack of Smokes is her first book. She currently lives on Vancouver Island.

Alicia Elliott


Alicia Elliott is a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River living in Brantford, Ontario, with her husband and child. Her writing has been published by The Malahat Review, The Butter, Room, Grain, The New Quarterly, CBC, The Globe and Mail, Vice, Maclean’s, Today’s Parent and Reader’s Digest, among others. She’s currently Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Fiddlehead, Associate Nonfiction Editor at Little Fiction | Big Truths, and a consulting editor with The New Quarterly. Her essay, “A Mind Spread Out on the Ground” won Gold at the National Magazine Awards in 2017, and another of her essays, “On Seeing and Being Seen: Writing With Empathy” was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2018. She was the 2017-2018 Geoffrey and Margaret Andrew Fellow at UBC, and was chosen by Tanya Talaga to receive the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Prize in 2018. Her short story “Unearth” has been selected by Roxane Gay to appear in Best American Short Stories 2018. Alicia is also presently working on a manuscript of short fiction.

Tanya Talaga


Tanya Talaga is the acclaimed author of Seven Fallen Feathers, which was the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and the First Nation Communities READ: Young Adult/Adult Award; a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction; CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and a national bestseller. Talaga was the 2017–2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy, the 2018 CBC Massey Lecturer, and author of the national bestseller All Our Relations: Finding The Path Forward. For more than twenty years she has been a journalist at the Toronto Star and is now a columnist at the newspaper. She has been nominated five times for the Michener Award in public service journalism. Talaga is of Polish and Indigenous descent. Her great-grandmother, Liz Gauthier, was a residential school survivor. Her great-grandfather, Russell Bowen, was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer. Her grandmother is a member of Fort William First Nation. Her mother was raised in Raith and Graham, Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her two teenage children.

talaga.ca, @TanyaTalaga

Appearance generously supported by Tourism Vancouver.