Rita Joe By Amy and Chelsea. Table of Contents . Childhood The Beginnings of a Writer As an Author Rita Joe – Heritage Pictures A sample of Rita pomes Bibliography. Rita Joe’s Childhood.
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Rita Joe was born in Whycocmagh, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on March 15, 1932. When Rita Joe was 5 years old, her mother died. Then, five years later and when she was 10 years old her father also died. It was a horrible loss for her. Soon after, Rita wrote her first poem “I Lost My Talk”. She wrote poems instead of writing songs because she did not feel comfortable singing in front of people. Although Rita Joe had a tough childhood, she was making good progress with her writing.
Rita Joe has been interested in writing for many years. Rita started writing for a living back in 1973 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Back then, Rita started writing for a newsletter called The Micmac News. There was a section with poems and stories, and Rita sent her pieces of writing in. The editor of that newsletter gave Rita some good advice when he told her, “… don’t throw your poems away”. Rita followed his advice, and over time she collected and saved her poems.
Rita Joe collected her poems, and in 1978, she published her first book called Poems of Rita Joe. Her second book was published in 1988 called Song Eskasoni. Three years later her book called Lnu and Indians We’re Called was published. Her fourth book, called Kelusiltiek, meaning “we speak” was a combination of poems and stories published back in 1995.
Rita Joe is a woman of Mi’kmaq heritage. When she was young, she attended the Shubenacadie Residential School. That was when she started to write about her culture, trying to hold onto it in a changing world. Today Rita Joe continues to use her writing as a way to capture the struggles of native people and to express her pride in her Mi’kmaq heritage.
A Special Friend
Somewhere there I have a friend
In this place without end
Written word we bring to view
Accumulating a purpose long over due,
The message of unknown fame
For the native of our country
The Indian game
Somewhere there have a friend
The archives are her trade,
The archives bringing nobility
Together we relate the wonders of my nation,
Our song a landing place.
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“Rita Joe.” 2001.
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