A celebration of music and poetry inspired by Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe was held in January, 2016 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

In the spirit of using art as a pathway towards reconciliation, the NAC invited students from five Indigenous communities from across the country to write and record songs inspired by one of Joe’s most famous poem, “I Lost My Talk”.

A survivor of the Shubenacadie Residential School in Cape Breton, Joe’s poetry not only captures the pain and loss she endured there, but it’s also a rallying call for openness and healing.

In this documentary for CBC Radio’s Atlantic Voice, I spoke with students from Eskasoni, Cape Breton, who performed their song, Gentle Warrior, which was a tribute to Rita Joe and her work.