Johnson, Emily Pauline

Johnson, Emily Pauline

Johnson, Emily Pauline, 1862-1913, Canadian poet, b. near Brantford, Ont.; daughter of an indigenous chief and his English wife. Although she had little formal training, Johnson's early poems praising native life were highly popular in recitals, and in 1892 she began a series of successful tours through the United States and England. Her poems, noted for their passion and dramatic intensity, appeared in White Wampum (1895), Canadian Born (1903), and Flint and Feather (1913), her collected poems. She also published a volume of tales of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest entitled Legends of Vancouver (1911).
Chief John Smoke Johnson (December 2 or 14, 1792 – August 26, 1886) or Sakayengwaraton (also known as Smoke Johnson), was a Mohawk leader. Johnson fought for the Crown in the War of 1812 and was made a Pine Tree Chief. Bilingual, he was influential in the Mohawk and British communities of Ontario, Canada.

Smoke Johnson was born in 1792 in Ontario at the Six Nations Indian Reserve, the son of Jacob Tekahionwake Johnson (July 16, 1758December 1, 1843). Jacob was born in the colony of New York, in what became the United States. He was the son of Molly Brant, a Mohawk woman, and Sir William Johnson, the renowned British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in New York from 1755 to 1774, the year of his death. Sir William Johnson amassed an estate of 400,000 acres and founded the village of Johnstown, New York. As Loyalists, Johnson's common-law wife Molly Brant and descendants resettled in Canada during the American Revolution. The Mohawks and most of the Iroquois nations were allies of the British.

Smoke married the Native matriarch Helen Martin (1798 – March 27, 1866). They had seven children: Mary, Aaron, Joseph, William, Margret, Susannah and George Henry Martin (Onwanonsyshon).

George Henry Martin Johnson also advanced to be a Mohawk chief. Fluent in English and Mohawk languages, he became an interpreter for the government and a leader on the Reserve. He helped facilitate relations between the British and Native communities. He married Emily Howells, a native of England whose family had immigrated to the United States in 1832. They were the parents of four children, including the well-known poet Emily Pauline Johnson.

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