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 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 The Beginnings of a Writer 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 As An Author 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 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.
Sample of Rita’s Poems 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.
Bibliography “Rita Joe.” < http:// www. Abo- peoples org/ artists/more files/Rita.htm “Rita Joe.” 2001. <http:// www. Tribal fires.com\Rita Joe/