Pauline Johnson

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PJ is best remembered for the poem The Song My Paddle Sings, published in 1892, which has been memorized by generations of Canadian school children, but she also wrote short stories and journalism, and recorded the legends of the Squamish people. Her writing struggles to bring together the two world views, British and Native, with which she was acquainted, and her literary persona straddles the figures of the New Woman and the emergent Canadian author. Poet Glenn Wilmott , citing critic Terry Goldie , advises anyone who wants to learn something about the history and historicity of literary value, go to this poet.
Wilmott, Glenn. “Paddled by Pauline”. Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, No. 46, University of Western Ontario, pp. 43 -68.
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Black and white photograph of Pauline Johnson, shown from the waist up. She wears a necklace of bear claws and a loose shirt with leather fringes and ermine tails. Her dark hair is curled in front and hangs loose down her back.
"Pauline Johnson" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Tekahionwake_ca_1895.jpg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.

Milestones

10 March 1861
PJ was born at the family home, Chiefswood, on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario.
New, William H., editor. Dictionary of Literary Biography 99. Gale Research, 1990.
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1883
PJ published her first poem, My Little Jean, apparently in the periodical Gems of Poetry; but no verification has been made to date.
Gerson, Carole, and Veronica Strong-Boag. Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake). University of Toronto Press, 2000.
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27 February 1892
PJ first published her best-known poem, The Song My Paddle Sings, in Saturday Night.
Gerson, Carole, and Veronica Strong-Boag. Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake). University of Toronto Press, 2000.
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February 1893
PJ 's short story Red Girl's Reasoning was published in Dominion Illustrated after winning first prize for fiction in their contest the previous year.
Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. “Justice for Indians and Women: The Protest Fiction of Alice Callahan and Pauline Johnson”. World Literature Today, No. 1, pp. 249 - 55.
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Gerson, Carole, and Veronica Strong-Boag. Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake). University of Toronto Press, 2000.
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7 March 1913
PJ died of breast cancer in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was three days short of her fifty-second birthday.
Gerson and Strong-Boag in Paddling Her Own Canoe cite the date of death as 8 March 1913, but this goes against all other sources.
Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. “Early Native American Women Authors: Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, Sarah Winnemucca, S. Alice Callahan, E. Pauline Johnson, and Zitkala-Sa”. Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Critical Reader, edited by Karen L. Kilcup, Blackwell, 1998, pp. 81 - 111.
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New, William H., editor. Dictionary of Literary Biography 99. Gale Research, 1990.
163
9 March 1913
A memorial service for PJ was held at the Mohawk Chapel on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario.
Keller, Betty. Pauline: A Biography of Pauline Johnson. Douglas and McIntyre, 1981.
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Biography

PJ adopted her Mohawk name from her great-grandfather, and it means double wampum or double life.
McMaster University,. The Pauline Johnson Archive.
Keller, Betty. Pauline: A Biography of Pauline Johnson. Douglas and McIntyre, 1981.
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She explained that her surname was a baptismal name first taken by that great-grandfather, Jacob Johnson, whose real name was Tekahionwake . The T is pronounced as D, and K as a hard G.
One of PJ 's biographies wrongly gives the meaning as smoke from many campfires.
Keller, Betty. Pauline: A Biography of Pauline Johnson. Douglas and McIntyre, 1981.
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University Women’s Club of Brantford,. Significant Lives: Profiles of Brant County Women. University Women’s Club of Brantford, 1997.
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McMaster University,. The Pauline Johnson Archive.
Whitlow, Paula. Letter about Pauline Johnson to Kathryn Carter.

Birth and Circumstances