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.
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.