This content is also available in French. View the French version of the Stolen Lives book.


The language we speak often connects us to a shared experience, a shared past, and a shared culture. In this first chapter, we examine the relationship between language and identity within the context of the Indian Residential Schools.





Get an overview of the central themes you will explore in these readings on language and identity.

Reading 1 of 7
Genocide & Mass Violence

Culture, Stereotypes, and Identity

Consider the complex forces, including stereotypes and culture, that shape Indigenous identities in Canada.

Reading 2 of 7

Language, Names, and Individual Identity

Learn about the relationship between name, identity, and tradition reflected in Inuit naming practices.

Reading 3 of 7
Genocide & Mass Violence

Words, Places, and Belonging

Read excerpts that explore the importance of land and landscape to indigenous identity and culture.

Reading 4 of 7
Genocide & Mass Violence

Words Matter

An Anishinaabe woman of Cree and Ojibway descent recalls the first instance in her childhood when she encountered the term Indian.

Reading 5 of 7

Language and Worldview

Consider how language gives meaning to experience and the strong link between language and culture for the Indigenous Peoples.

Reading 6 of 7


Learn about the development of the Michif language and how it exemplifies a fusion of Métis and French cultures.

Reading 7 of 7
Genocide & Mass Violence

I Lost My Talk

Rita Joe, a Mi’kmaw poet and songwriter, expresses what it was like to be forced to give up her language.

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