My aim, my joy, my pride, is to sing the glories of my own people. The story of The Lost Island is from the Legends of Vancouver, a book inspired by the friendship between a Mohawk poet and a Salish storyteller. Originally published to great success in 1911, it was the first collection of native legends retold in English by a native artist and has become a classic. The author, Emily Pauline Johnson, was born on March 10, 1861 at Chiefswood, her family home near Brantford, Ontario. Her father was George Johnson, a distinguished Mohawk chief. Pauline signed her name, Tekahionwake, in honor of her great-grandfather's family name. She was equally proud of her British-born mother, Emily Howells. Even without a full formal education, Pauline was an accomplished poet by her late teens. Her earliest recitals were a great success. From 1892 to 1909, she toured Canada, the USA and Britain, giving dramatic performances of her poetry and entertaining audiences of all ages with the stories of her people. In 1909, she settled in Vancouver and renewed her ties with Chief Joe Capilano of the Squamish nation. As her friendship with her tillicum skookum, or great friend, and his family developed, she became the first English-speaking person to hear the legends of his people. After Chief Joe died in 1910, she began to write what she affectionately called The Legends of Capilano. The stories first appeared in a weekly magazine, and a collection was chosen for publication in 1911 as Legends of Vancouver Her published works of poetry and fiction aslo include The White Wampum (1895), Canadian Born (1903), Flint and Feather (1912), The Moccasin Maker (1913) and The Shagganappi (1913).
Social Studies: Environment; Heritage and Citizenship, First Nations Peoples; Canada (K - 4)