A powerful autobiography from Yvonne Johnson—the great-great-granddaughter of Cree leader Chief Big Bear.
This is the unforgettable true story of Yvonne Johnson’s early life and a revealing account of injustice toward Indigenous women. After being convicted of murder in 1991, Johnson collaborated with acclaimed writer Rudy Wiebe to journey into her spirit self, to share the conflict and abuse that characterized her life. In the bringing together of Wiebe’s deep insight and Johnson’s poetic eloquence, Stolen Life is a devastating depiction of enduring familial love and, from Wiebe’s perspective, a courtroom drama that unravels the events that led to her conviction. But above all, it is the testimony of a Cree woman who decided to speak out to dispel shame and break the silence that binds.
About the Author
Yvonne Johnson, a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, was imprisoned for first-degree murder in 1991 in the Kingston Federal Prison for Women. Married with three children, she is now at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Native Women in Saskatchewan.
Rudy Wiebe is the author of three short-story collections, eight novels and a book of essays, and twice winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER Winner of the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize Finalist for the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction Finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for the Best Crime-Related Nonfiction Book A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
"A tribute to the human spirit that refuses to give up; to family love that persists in the face of thoughtlessness, repeated violence and denial." —The Globe and Mail
"Stolen Life is 'a gift of understanding'—A compelling story infused with hope and spirituality." —The Financial Post
"Stolen Life is] the rarest of treasures— an unexpected joy — Here are two friends who prove to one another that individuals can reach across a nation's mistakes, and offer forgiveness — an amazing collaboration. [A] triumph — Yvonne Johnson and Rudy Wiebe have written the book that will shatter the silence, revealing secrets about stolen land and stolen lives, if only we are brave enough to confront their meaning." —The Edmonton Journal
"Brilliant— Rudy Wiebe works here like a great jazz guitarist ... with consummate skill. An essential [book] for anyone who believes [in] establishing justice." —The Toronto Star
“The story [is] told as poignantly as Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, and every bit as heartbreaking as Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees. Stolen Life [demonstrates] the humbling and unyielding power of forgiveness, a power that lives on, in spite of everything, in nameless but heroic people like Yvonne Johnson.” – The Georgia Straight