During our song selection for the 22-23 season, the song, “I Lost my Talk” was considered; however,
in our ongoing effort to celebrate culture and not appropriate culture, we chose to share the poem on
which the song is based and a link to the Rita Joe Song Project.
Rita Joe was a Mi’kmaq elder and poet, who, in her autobiography, challenged Indigenous youth of
Canada to “find their talk,” which she felt had been taken from her at the boarding school she
attended as a young person. Five different schools met Ms. Joe’s challenge, and the results formed
the Rita Joe Song Project, an extension of the National Arts Centre of Canada.
Follow the link below to the NAC and the various songs the students created: https://nac-cna.ca/en/ritajoesong
For more information about her life and poetry: https://mikmawarchives.ca/authors/rita-joe
I Lost My Talk
by Rita Joe
I lost my talk
The talk you took away.
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school.
You snatched it away:
I speak like you
I think like you
I create like you
The scrambled ballad, about my word.
Two ways I talk
Both ways I say,
Your way is more powerful.
So gently I offer my hand and ask,
Let me find my talk
So I can teach you about me.