The Amnesty International Book Club is pleased to announce our Readers’ Choice winner for 2016, The Orenda. This novel brings its readers to the traditions, tensions and battles of mid-17th century Canada. Boyden alternates between three key perspectives: that of Bird, a respected elder warrior in the Huron nation who is haunted by the loss of his family and a desire for revenge; Snow Falls, a gifted Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) girl who is kidnapped and made to become the daughter of Bird after her family is slaughtered; and Jesuit missionary, Christophe, who has found himself trapped in a war during his mission to lead the Huron to Christ.
Beyond the powerful storytelling, The Orenda links the mismanagement of resources, reckless ambition, and the disregard for Indigenous rights in Canada today. This guide will examine current initiatives to help address rights violations experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, and how the novel illustrates these themes.