Skip to content

“I Lost My Talk” by Rita Joe

January 8, 2013

This poem by Rita Joe can be found in the textbook on page 254:

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.

I found these film clips to illustrate how Indian residential schools in Canada were perceived differently by different people. The first one is an informational film from 1955.

The next clip is an interview with a former student at one of these schools, Eva Cardinal:

http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?mediaId=1402943882

Feel free to comment on the videos or the poem.

Advertisements
9 Comments
  1. Louise & Mohammed permalink

    its wierd in norwegian! 😉

  2. Emilia, Karoline and Eirik permalink

    Our opinion is that the narrator of this poem feels like she lost her identity, and her manner to express herself. The assimilation makes her feel powerless against the Canadian culture. By trying to remove her culture, they’re removing a part of her. She feels like no one understands her and as if she is not allowed to be herself anymore.

    Kind regards,
    Emilia, Karoline, Eirik

  3. Louise permalink

    i’m not sure, but i think it probably meant something like “help me find my identity”, or something…. 🙂

  4. Two ways I talk
    Both ways I say
    Your way is more powerful

    Probably speaking about the fact that most people will understand English rather than Native Canadian or whatever the language is called. I don’t know any other way to say it…(Morgan also contributed to this…. this.)

    I didn’t really understand it all. Please don’t judge…

  5. When the author says “Two ways I talk, both ways I say, your way is more powerful” she says that the character speaks both languages, but that it doesn’t matter, because she can’t do anything about the situation. Whatever she says or does, she still has to follow their way, and be the person they want her to be. When she says that, she is not only talking about the language, but also about the behavior and culture.

  6. Most of what I think has already ben said. She feels that her own culture and identity has been “crushed” by the assimilation provided by the Canadians!

  7. palegamer permalink

    The poem “I Lost My Talk” is written by Rita Joe. Our group, consisting of Frida, Stina, Eirin, Anne Marthe, Tora and Jon, has analysed it.

    “I lost my talk
    The talk you took away.
    When I was a little girl
    At Shubencanadie school.”

    The first stanza states how her language and culture, the way she expressed herself was taken away from her when she attended Shubenacadie school as a young child.

    “You snatched it away:
    I speak like you
    I think like you
    I create like you
    The scrambled ballad, about my word.”

    “It” in the first line of the second stanza refers to her culture as mentioned in the first stanza. Together with the next three lines, she explains that the language she knew was taken away from her, in the sense that she was forced to speak and act English. The last line compares this story to a scrambled ballad.

    “Two ways I talk
    Both ways I say,
    Your way is more powerful.”

    The two first lines of the third stanza repeat how she knows, and perhaps partly is torn between, two languages and two cultures. In the third line she states that ‘your’ way is more powerful. ‘Your’ way is evidently the English way, as the poem is written in English. The fact that she’s writing in English rather than her mother tongue also proves her statement right; she needs to use English in order to reach a wider audience.

    “So gently I offer my hand and ask,
    Let me find my talk
    So I can teach you about me.”

    In the final stanza she addresses the reader. She asks to be allowed to find and use her own language and culture, so that she can teach us about her people’s way of life and her identity.

  8. Fahad and Natthapat permalink

    This poem is very touching. It has a strong message and deep meanings. The first time we read it, it reminded us of the natives (such as Native Americans and the aboriginals) who were forced to leave their home and culture behind during the colonization. After we saw the video, it gave us whole another view.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. BCSTA Digest | May 23, 2013 | BCSTA Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: