E. Pauline Johnson, also known as Tekahionwake, is remarkable as one of a very few early North American Indigenous poets and fiction writers. Most Indigenous writers of her time were men educated for the ministry who published religious, anthropological, autobiographical, political, and historical works, rather than poetry and fiction. More extraordinary still, Johnson became both a canonical poet and a literary celebrity, performing on stage for fifteen years across Canada, in the United States, and in London. Johnson is now seen as a central figure in the intellectual history of Canada and the US, and an important historical example of Indigenous feminism. This edition collects a diverse range of Johnson’s writings on what was then called “the Indian question” and on the question of her own complex Indigenous identity.
Six thematic sections gather Johnson’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and a rich selection of historical appendices provides context for her public life and her work as a feminist and activist for Indigenous people.
About the authors
Emily Pauline Johnson was born on March 10, 1861 at Chiefswood, her family home on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario. Her father was George Johnson, a distinguished Mohawk chief. She was equally proud of her British-born mother, Emily Howells, and valued her dual heritage. Pauline was an accomplished poet by her late teens, and her earliest poetry recitals were a great success. From 1892 until 1909, she toured Canada, the United States, and Britain, giving dramatic performances of her poetry and entertaining audiences of all ages with the stories of her people. After her retirement in 1909, she settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her published works of poetry and fiction also include The White Wampum (1895), Canadian Born (1903), Flint and Feather (1912) and The Shagganappi (1913).
E. Pauline Johnson died in 1913 and her ashes are buried in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
Margery Fee teaches postcolonial literatures, Canadian literature, and First Nations writing at the University of British Columbia. Her recent publications include “Aboriginal Writing in Canada and the Anthology as Commodity” (Native North America: Critical and Cultural Perspectives, ed. Renée Hulan, ECW Press, 1999), and “Who Can Write as Other?” (The Postcolonial Studies Reader, eds. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, Routledge, 1995). She has published on Indigenous writers Jeannette Armstrong, Beatrice Culleton, Keri Hulme, and Mudrooroo Narogin, and has just completed editing a special double issue of Canadian Literature on Thomas King.
“More than a century after her death, E. Pauline Johnson continues to surprise, intrigue, and challenge us to ask important questions about the long and often troubled relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. Margery Fee and Dory Nason have done a commendable job in assembling Johnson’s work in such a way as to demonstrate not only her enduring legacy as a writer, but also, more importantly, her efforts as an early Native activist/feminist who engaged with issues that First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities still confront on a daily basis. Created in an era during which ‘Indians’ were considered a ‘disappearing race,’ Johnson’s writing serves as a testament to the resilience of Indigenous peoples everywhere, and this book is evidence that her words deserve to be considered as still relevant, and vital, to the ongoing project of decolonizing our nations.” — Richard Monture, McMaster University
“This collection represents a significant expansion of the available archive of E. Pauline Johnson’s work, positioning her writing in relationship to other literary and political voices of her era. A rich contribution.” — Beth H. Piatote, University of California, Berkeley
Other titles by E. Pauline Johnson
Other titles by Margery Fee
All the Feels / Tous les sens
Affect and Writing in Canada / Affect et écriture au Canada
On the Cusp of Contact
Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia
Literary Land Claims
The “Indian Land Question” from Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat
Guide to Canadian English Usage (eBook)
Guide to Canadian English Usage (Kobo)
Guide to Canadian English Usage
Canadian Guide to English Usage
The Fat Lady Dances
Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle
Silence Made Visible
Howard O'Hagan and Tay John