Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Posted in Biography, Books, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2012-03-16 20:27Z by Steven

Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

University of Toronto Press
June 2000
354 pages
Paper ISBN: 9780802080240
Cloth ISBN: 9780802041623

Veronica Strong-Boag, Professor of Women’s History
University of British Columbia

Carole Gerson, Professor of English
Royal Society of Canada at Simon Fraser University

Winner of the Raymond Klibansky Prize, awarded by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Frequently dismissed as a ‘nature poet’ and an ‘Indian Princess’ E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913) was not only an accomplished thinker and writer but a contentious and passionate personality who ‘talked back’ to Euro-Canadian culture. “Paddling Her Own Canoe” is the only major scholarly study that examines Johnson’s diverse roles as a First Nations champion, New Woman, serious writer and performer, and Canadian nationalist.

A Native advocate of part-Mohawk ancestry, Johnson was also an independent, self-supporting, unmarried woman during the period of first-wave feminism. Her versatile writings range from extraordinarily erotic poetry to polemical statements about the rights of First Nations. Based on thorough research into archival and published sources, this volume probes the meaning of Johnson’s energetic career and addresses the complexities of her social, racial, and cultural position. While situating Johnson in the context of turn-of-the-century Canada, the authors also use current feminist and post-colonial perspectives to reframe her contribution. Included is the first full chronology ever compiled of Johnson’s writing.

Pauline Johnson was an extraordinary woman who crossed the racial and gendered lines of her time, and thereby confounded Canadian society. This study reclaims both her writings and her larger significance.

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Red and White: Miss E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake and the Other Woman

Posted in Articles, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2011-10-04 05:30Z by Steven

Red and White: Miss E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake and the Other Woman

Women’s Writing
Volume 8, Issue 3 (2001)
pages 359-374
DOI: 10.1080/09699080100200140

Anne Collett, Associate Professor of English Literature
University of Wollongong, Australia

This essay examines the dramatised conflictual relationship between “Red” and “White” selves in the performed and literary body of “half-blood” poet, Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake. “Half-blood”, as opposed to the more common but derogatory “half-breed”, was the term used by Pauline to indicate the divisive, yet ultimately creative, potential of the marriage between settler and indigenous cultures in the new Canadian nation of the 1890s and early twentieth century of which she herself was representative. Pauline Johnson’s understanding and representation of that dynamic relationship is charted through an analysis of selected short stories drawn from this period, including “A Red Girl’s Reasoning”, “As It Was in the Beginning” and “My Mother”.

“Forget that I was Pauline Johnson, but remember always that I was Tekahionwake, the Mohawk that humbly aspired to be the saga singer of her people.” [I] Ernest Thompson Scion, admirer and friend, recalls these words in introduction to a collection of Tekahionwake’s stories. Miss E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake was perhaps most famous in England and the USA as “The Iroquois Princess” and “poet advocate” for the “Red” people of America’s First Nations, but to Canadians she was also a beloved representative and cultured lady of their new confederacy. The daughter of an English gentlewoman and a Mohawk chief was not allowed to forget that she was Tekahionwake, even had she wanted to, but (contrary to her final request recalled by Seton) neither did she forget, nor allow others to forget, that she was Pauline Johnson. Her “half-blood” inheritance was the signature of her stage and literary career. Although better known during the last decade of the nineteenth century and first decade of the twentieth as a performance poet, she was also the author of many stories, published primarily, but not exclusively, for an audience of women and children. A number of these stories not only served to educate the settler population in the ancient civilisation and living culture of the indigenous…

Read or purchase the article here.

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