It is believed that nearly 20,000 Indigenous children have been lost on Turtle Island: neglected, medically experimented on, abused, murdered. This is one of Canada’s greatest open secrets, an unhealed wound that until recently lay hidden by shame and abandonment. Generations of Indigenous People have known that their family members disappeared, many after being sent to residential schools, “Indian hospitals” and asylums—a coordinated system designed to destroy who First Nations, Métis and Inuit are.
The system, fuelled by Church and state, committed the most heinous of crimes: sexually, physically and emotionally abusing children over decades, many of whom died and were buried on the grounds of the schools. In 2021, the discovery of 215 graves believed to house the bodies of Indigenous children on the land of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School made international headlines. Canada’s quiet horror became its very loud, public disaster, as all eyes turned to a country long seen as a model of justice and equality, a country quick to condemn the human rights violations of others, now exposed as not only having failed to stop genocide but actively pursuing it as government policy.
In The Knowing, award-winning and bestselling Anishinaabe author Tanya Talaga, one of Canada’s top investigative journalists, retells the history of this country as only she can—through an Indigenous lens, by tracing the life of her great-great grandmother and family as they lived through this government- and Church-sanctioned genocide. This book contains Colour map for endpapers; 4 interior section openers.