Emily Pauline Johnson

Emily Pauline Johnson
Courtesy National Archives of Canada / PA-85125 / Cochran

Emily Pauline Johnson (Mohawk name Tekahionwake) (1861 – 1913) achieved fame and respect through her poems celebrating First Nations culture.

“My aim, my joy, my pride is to sing the glories of my people.”.

Emily Pauline Johnson

Because of Pauline Johnson, Canada gave North America one of its most notable entertainers of the late 19th century. She was a successful published poet, and then began performing her poems with an actor’s flair for theatricality and an orator’s gift for public speaking. At her readings, Johnson presented herself as a Mohawk princess. She gained international fame, finding large audiences across North America and England with tours and presentations from 1892 to 1910. The daughter of a Mohawk chief and an English-born American woman, Johnson mainly wrote on First Nations culture and history, Canada and nature. Despite living during a deeply racist period in Canadian history, Johnson took pride in her First Nations ancestry. Her pride in her First Nations ancestry still serves as an inspiration to Aboriginal poets, writers and artists.

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