Friday, 4 January 2008

Flint & Feather: The Life and times of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake, by Charlotte Gray

This is a very well written biography. It gives enough details about Pauline and her friends and companions to bring her to life. Though she died almost 100 years ago, I still had to wipe away tears when her passing was described.

I'm not going to detail what happens in the book, anyone can read it and learn for themselves. What impressed me most is how timely this book is. Many of the issues that Pauline addressed in her life are still vitally important. She strove to bring the Indian populations and the immigrant Europeans together and show that they could live and work together successfully. Herself, the product of a 'mixed marriage', she was torn between the Indian culture of her Mohawk father, and the strict English upbringing of her mother. Pauline was able to acquit herself well in either. She also spoke for the Indians who were losing their tribal lands as an astonishing rate.

These are all current issues. Not a day goes by without one of them showing up in the major news headlines. I used to think it amusing when a teacher would tell the class that there was much we could learn from history. This book has opened my eyes to what he was saying. For me, the story of Pauline Johnson will live in my heart for a long time to come.

Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me this wonderful book and for allowing me to use their cover picture.

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