Stolen Words by Melanie Forence

Received from NetGalley for review.

‘They took our words and locked them away, punished us until we forgot them, until we sounded like them.’

Considering it’s only thirteen pages long, Stolen Words is incredibly powerful. It tells the story of a granddaughter wanting to reunite her grandfather with his stolen language; as a Cree child he was forcibly removed from his family and sent away to a school where he was beaten for speaking his own language. When he is unable to tell her the meaning of grandfather in Cree she resolves to do something about it.

I didn’t even know something like this had happened. I know that many crimes were committed against indigenous people, but I had no idea of the extent of it – it’s truly horrifying that children were separated from their families and forced to forget their heritage. I’m absolutely heartbroken for every child that happened to, every parent who had to watch their child be taken away. It baffles me that we as human beings are capable of being so cruel to each other.

It really makes me wonder if people have learnt anything from the horrors and mistakes of the past – terrible things have happened, yet we continue destroying children, families, cultures, for the most pitiful reasons. I never imagined that this little story would make me think so much about the state of the world and the horrendous crimes that have been committed, and are still being committed, today. I only hope that we’ll realise the destruction we cause before it’s too late, before we really are past the point of no return.

Read: April 7th 2017

4/5 stars

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