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Valley of the Birdtail with Andrew Stobo Sniderman + Douglas Sanderson

March 6 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PST

On Monday, March 6th at 6pm, join Massy Arts Society, Massy Books and Harper Collins for the launch of this multigenerational tale: Valley of the Birdtail by Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii).

Spanning generations, Valley of the Birdtail brings together two families, one white and one Indigenous, and weaves their lives into the larger story of Canada. In conversation with Emilie Lahaie, partner in the Aboriginal Law Group at Cassels, this evening delves into these narratives of these two communities—separate and unequal—and how they create a layered story about community, history and reconciliation.

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce au gouvernement du Canada.

This project is supported by the British Columbia Arts Council.

Registration is free/by donation, open to all and required for entrance.
Purchase Valley of the Birdtail at the event.

Venue & Accessibility

The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.

The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site. Please refrain from wearing scents or heavy perfumes.

For more on accessibility including parking, seating, venue measurements and floor plan, and how to request ASL interpretation please visit: massyarts.com/accessibility

Covid Protocols: Masks keep our community safe and are mandatory (N95 masks are recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.

The Book

Valley of the Birdtail (Harper Collins)

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.

About the Authors

Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii) is the Prichard Wilson Chair in Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and has served as a senior policy advisor to Ontario’s attorney general and minister of Indigenous affairs. He is Swampy Cree, Beaver clan, of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Andrew Stobo Sniderman is a writer, lawyer, and Rhodes Scholar from Montreal. He has written for the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and Maclean’s. He has also argued before the Supreme Court of Canada, served as the human rights policy advisor to the Canadian minister of foreign affairs, and worked for a judge of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

Hosted by

Emilie Lahaie (she/her/hers) is a partner in the Aboriginal Law Group at Cassels. Emilie works on Aboriginal legal matters related to Indigenous self-governance, resource development and Indigenous rights, Indigenous-Crown relations, regulatory and constitutional issues. In particular, Emilie has developed an expertise in Canadian Metis section 35 rights and governance. She offers extensive experience in administrative law, section 35 rights advocacy, negotiations, civil litigation, human rights advocacy and law reform. Emilie has represented a wide breadth of clients in the Aboriginal law space, including Indigenous groups and individuals, provincial governments and project proponents. Thus, she brings a nuanced understanding of the needs of all parties in the Canadian Indigenous legal space to her practice.

Emilie has represented clients at various administrative tribunals, including the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and Ontario Coroner’s Court and in the Residential Schools Independent Process. She has also appeared on matters before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2017, Emilie appeared before the Senate Committee for Aboriginal Peoples to testify in regard to the potential impact of Bill S-3.

Prior to joining Cassels, Emilie worked directly with clients from the urban Indigenous community of Toronto through an agency established by the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.


March 6
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PST