Vanished Worlds, Enduring People

Native Americans of the Northeast

E. Pauline Johnson. “Tekahionwake.” Promotional Bill for the American Chautauqua Tour, June, 1907. [view first image] | [download a PDF of the entire promotional bill (21mb)]

A Mohawk poet and performer, Johnson (1861-1913) was born on the Six Nations Reserve outside of Brantford, Ontario. While she had only seven years of formal schooling, she was well educated at home in both the English of Shakespeare and Indian legends narrated by her grandfather. To make a living, she wrote poems that were published in local newspapers, and in 1892 she began to appear in professional recitals, wearing both formal and Mohawk attire. Touring England, New England, and most of Canada for the next seventeen years, she became one of the best-known performers of her time. She also published several books of poetry, beginning with White Wampum in 1895. Tekahionwake was Johnson’s Mohawk name.

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