'I lost my talk': Prolific Mi'kmaq poet honoured in Ottawa symphony

A trailblazing Mi’kmaq poet known for writing “I Lost My Talk,” a simple yet heartbreaking glimpse at the cultural genocide suffered by First Nations people, is being honoured in an elaborate musical production.

See Full Article

Rita Joe is one of Canada’s most prolific First Nations poets, and the National Arts Centre hopes to introduce new audiences to the late writer’s powerful prose in their most expensive musical production ever.

“This idea of losing voice, of losing identity, is actually a universal theme,” National Arts Centre music director Alexander Shelley told CTV News.

Originally from England, Shelley came up with the idea for “I Lost My Talk” – a multimedia experience that includes video storytelling, singers and a live orchestra – after learning about Joe’s story while researching online.

As a young orphan girl growing up in Nova Scotia, Joe was sent to a residential school.

“She said it was kind of like being in prison,” said Joe’s daughter, Ann Joe.

Joe got through the experience by writing poems, but she had to keep them secret from the school’s nuns. When her poetry was discovered, she would be ridiculed.

“The nun yelled at her, ‘Where did you get this?’ And my mother, she pointed to her head and her heart,’” Ann Joe said.

Despite the criticism, Joe didn’t stop writing. She went on to become one of the most influential First Nations writers of her generation. She received numerous honours throughout her lifetime and became a member of both the Order of Canada and the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

The new musical production, described as an exploration of “exile, resistance and displacement,” was commissioned for former prime minister Joe Clark’s 75th birthday. Clark has been considered a champion for First Nations issues and was recently named an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Clark told CTV News that he was struck by the poem’s simplicity “and how few words it takes to tell a really basic truth.”

With a report from CTV’s Omar Sachedina



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Ben Affleck being 'ushered out' as Batman?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Ben Affleck’s future as the Dark Knight might be coming to an end. The Oscar-winner is due at San Diego’s Comic-Con to trumpet his appearance in Justice League, which will be released this fall. But according to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. Source
  • Beyonce wax figure gets a makeover after fans say it's too white

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A wax figure of Beyonce at Madame Tussauds in New York has been given a makeover after fans of the megastar said the figure was too white. The wax Beyonce sported wavy blond hair and appeared to be thinner and lighter-skinned than the "Lemonade" singer in real life. Source
  • Celine Dion unleashes her flamboyance in campy Vogue video

    Entertainment CTV News
    Celine Dion has always had a flair for the wacky. From professions of love for Kermit the Frog to unpredictable arm dancing to her emotional advice to rescue crews after Hurricane Katrina (“Take a kayak!”), the 49-year-old Quebec diva has a reputation for endearingly strange behaviour. Source
  • Dunkirk’s Harry Styles sings the praises of Christopher Nolan [Photos] [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SANTA MONICA, Calif. –Christopher Nolan might not have been up to speed on how famous Harry Styles is, but the One Direction pop star was well aware of just who the Oscar-winning director was. So when he heard that Nolan was prepping a film about the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers off the beach in Dunkirk, France, during the Second World War, he wanted in. Source
  • A different sort of war film: Christopher Nolan's triumphant Dunkirk

    Entertainment CBC News
    It begins with sound. The high pitched whine fills the air. Then the soldiers see the speck that becomes a terrifying silhouette. It's a German dive bomber, zeroing in on the hundreds of men, waiting on the shores of Dunkirk for rescue. Source
  • Jada Pinkett Smith: 'Will Smith and I are not swingers'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jada Pinkett Smith has jokingly dismissed rumours suggesting she and husband Will Smith are ‘swingers’. The long-time couple, which will celebrate its 20th wedding anniversary in December, has been dogged for years by claims Will and The Matrix Reloaded star like to have sex with different partners, but Jada insists there is no truth to it. Source
  • Comic-Con in photos [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Dan Lin, from left, Mike Pena, Abbi Jacobson, Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Olivia Munn, Zach Woods, and Kumail Nanjiani attend "The Lego Ninjago Movie" photo op on day two of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 21, 2017, in San Diego. Source
  • The Amazing Race Canada’: Beijing leg leaves racers wanting more

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    BEIJING – It’s just past 5 p.m., closing time at the hilly Juyong Pass access point of The Great Wall of China. A world tourist attraction is eerily deserted – save for a handful of concerned producers from The Amazing Race Canada. Source
  • 'Game of Thrones' creators address fears new 'Confederate' series glorifies racism

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — No scripts have been written, not even an outline. But HBO’s announcement on Wednesday that the creator-showrunners of “Game of Thrones” will follow up that massive hit with an HBO series in which slavery remains legal in the modern-day South drew fire on social media from those who fear that telling that story will glorify racism. Source
  • From the Monkees to Gorillaz, how should we evaluate fictional music?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    In the noisy jungle of pop music, many artists speak their truth by pretending to be somebody else. Singing from the perspective of an alter ego has become standard practice for the likes of Lana Del Rey, the Weeknd, Lady Gaga and every rapper whose stage name doesn't match what's printed inside their passport. Source