Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman

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Knopf Canada, Apr 20, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 464 pages
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Winner of the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize

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.


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Not everything written in this book is the god given truth this book may have help my aunty but it has also destroyed many of our family members lives including my self. If anyone should have a stolen life it should be me and my sisters. We had to live with this book hanging over our heads since i can remeber. Being teased in school to being threatened and denied some of lifes preks, such as friendship, relationships. Also being the center of alot of peples anger. I hate this book because of what it has done to me and my sisters. But i Love my aunty.  

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People this book has pulled the wool over many people eyes. Rudy Wiebe made this woman look like a strong woman who is dealing with her issues. Even I was intimidated by her. It wasnt until I met her and saw the real her that I found out she is not that person. She is still in denial of the crime she committed. I know all this because I am one of the victim's. Since September 15, 1989 it has all been about Yvonne. She portrays herself as this poor victim, which she is, but that does not justify murder. What about our family. For more information please go to our website:  

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About the author (1999)

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.

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