Free E-texts from Graphic Classics
E. Paulne Johnson (Tekahionwake)
illustration ©2013 Weshoyot Alvitre
Writer and performer Emily Pauline Johnson (1861–1913) was born on Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an English immigrant. At age 14, Pauline went to Brantford Central Collegiate, and graduated in 1877. During the 1880s, she wrote and performed in amateur theater productions, and in 1883 began publishing her poetry. In 1892 she embarked on a popular stage career, appearing in Native costume, and reciting her poems. She retired from the stage after fifteen years of touring, and continued to write poetry and stories until her death of breast cancer in Vancouver. She is today remembered as the first Native Canadian poet, and an early voice of Native American concerns in Canada. Her poem appears in Native American Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 22.