The Uncollected Prose of Pauline Johnson

Introduction List of “uncollected” texts Observations Transcription and encoding details Bibliography Web Links

[Image of Pauline Johnson.]


When E. Pauline Johnson is remembered, she is generally known by her reputation as an “Indian poetess.” Indeed, she is familiar to many only as the author of the poem “The Song my Paddle Sings.” With interest in Johnson growing over the last decade, a volume was published recently including all her poems that could be found. However, only a fraction of her prose is currently easily available.

Three main collections of her prose exist. In 1911 some of Pauline Johnson's retellings of West Coast native legends were published as Legends of Vancouver. This volume was immediately successful and has been regularly reprinted right up to the present day. Shortly after her death in 1913, selections of her published stories were collected in The Moccasin Maker and The Shagganappi. But there are still many more, most of which have never been reprinted in full since their first appearance.

What I am hoping to do here is collect and transcribe as many of these stories and articles as possible, and make them freely available through Project Gutenberg, where the collections mentioned above can already be found. An invaluable resource for locating these is the “Chronological List of Pauline Johnson's Writings” found as an appendix in Paddling her own Canoe.

I am making this material available here for two reasons. First, as an ongoing project, this will not be completed for quite a while, so this is a way to share it with anyone who may be interested. Second, this makes it more possible for others to help. Anyone who would like to help proof-reading or tracking down copies of Johnson's stories would be most welcome.

I would love to hear any questions or comments. Please send them to me at:

List of “uncollected” texts

Here is the list of stories and articles in progress so far. I have tried to add meaningful, brief descriptions for each item in the list, although some of these articles do meander somewhat and are hard to pin down to one topic. Titles shown in red have not yet been thoroughly proofed and titles in grey are not yet online.

A Back Number Saturday Night1890/06/14 Description of Iroquois chiefs
With Paddle and Peterboro' Saturday Night1890/06/28 Sailing story
With Canvas Overhead Saturday Night1890/08/30 Sailing story
A Day's Frog Fishing Saturday Night1890/09/27 Fishing for Frogs
Our Iroquois Compatriots Dominion Illustrated1891/05/23 Iroquois history and society
Prone on the Earth Saturday Night1891/06/06 Sad story
Striking Camp Saturday Night1891/08/29 Reflections on end of camp
A Story of a Boy and a Dog Saturday Night1892/01/09 Story of faithfulness
A Glimpse at the Grand River Indians Saturday Night1892/02/20 Iroquois history and society
Indian Medicine Men and their Magic Dominion Illustrated1892/04
Sail and Paddle Saturday Night1892/08/20 Sailing story
Canoe and Canvas Saturday Night1893/09/02 Informative canoeing article
Princes of the Paddle Saturday Night1893/09/09 Report on rowing regatta
The Singer of Tantramar Massey's Magazine1896/01 Tribute to C.G.D. Roberts
Gambling Among the Iroquois The Ludgate1897/01 Description of Iroquois recreati
The De Lisle Affair Saturday Night1897/12 Mystery/Detective story
The Iroquois Women of Canada Women of Canada: Their Life and Work1900 Description of Iroquois women
The Battleford Trail Unpublished ms1902 Travel journalism
Our Sister of the Seas The Globe (Toronto)1902/01/18 Article about Newfoundland
Letter to the Editor Evening News (Toronto)1902/03/27 Letter about Wacousta
Among the Blackfoots The Globe (Toronto)1902/08/02 Adventures on a blockaded train
Chance of Newfoundland Joining Canada The Standard (Montreal)1906/03/03 Article about Newfoundland
The Cariboo Trail Saturday Night1906/10/13
The Haunting Thaw Canadian Magazine1907/05 Man against nature story
Longboat of the Onondagas Canada (London)1907/06/01 Article about champion runner
The Southward Trail Saturday Night1908/10/24 Description of animal habits
The Chinook Wind Saturday Night1909/04/24 Article about the Prairies
The Legend of the Seven White Swans Daily Province Magazine1910/10/15 Retelling of native legend
The Orchards of Evangeline's Land Daily Province Magazine1910/11/12 Nova Scotia history
The Call of the Old Qu'Appelle Valley Daily Province Magazine1910/11/19 Retelling of old legend
Prairie and Foothill Animals That Despise the Southward Trail Daily Province Magazine1910/11/26 Description of animal habits
Trails of the Old Tillicums Daily Province Magazine1910/12/31 Nostalgic look at "old west"
The Great New Year White Dog: Sacrifice of the Onondagas Daily Province Magazine1911/01/14
The Unfailing Lamp The Sun (Vancouver)1912/03/20 Story of mother's love
Coaching on the Cariboo Trail Canadian Magazine1914/02 Recalling travelling by coach


In reading through these varied writings, along with Pauline's other stories, it's interesting to see what topics reoccur. First, there is a patriotic love of Canada. Pauline Johnson was much more well-travelled than most women in her time and she describes the beauty she sees in places as diverse as the coast of Labrador, the lakes of Muskoka, the prairies of Saskatchewan, and the interior of British Columbia. Second, an almost naively optimistic outlook for natives in Canada, particularly the Iroquois. It appears she was constantly making efforts to break away from the stereotypes of the day and present images of natives as honourable, patriotic and upstanding people, who had an important role to play in bringing the country of Canada to maturity.

Transcription and encoding details

Almost all the items in this collection have followed a similar multi-stage process. First I get a copy from the source. (These have been mostly bound collections of old magazines or microfilm.) Next I type it out by hand, then convert it to HTML. Then, in varying order, I run a spell check, do a thorough proofing myself, and have someone else proof to find anything I've missed.

I have corrected obvious typographical errors in the sources such as misspelled words and missing quote marks. In occasional spots I've adjusted punctuation and paragraph breaks for greater clarity. So far, I have let inconsistencies between British and American spelling remain.

Regarding encoding, I've tried to make the files comply with W3C standards and be easily portable. All characters outside of 7-bit ASCII have been encoded as HTML 4 named character entities. This includes the emdash, endash, and open and closing quotes marks. I have kept the markup simple, with basic styling using CSS.


Foster, W. Garland. The Mohawk princess: being some account of the life of Tekahion-Wake. Lions' Gate, 1931.
First biography of Pauline.
Gray, Charlotte. Flint & Feather: the Life and Times of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake. HarperFlamingo Canada, 2002.
Read a review of this book.
Johnson, E. Pauline. E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake: collected Poems and Selected Prose. Ed. Carole Gerson and Veronica Strong-Boag. University of Toronto Press, 2002.
Johnson, E. Pauline. North American Indian Silver Craft. Subway Books Ltd., 2004.
A slim volume of reprints of Johnson's magazine articles on silver working.
Johnson, Linda Wikene. Vancouver! Borealis Press, 2002.
Fictional novel in which Pauline is one of the main characters.
Johnston, Sheila. Buckskin & Broadcloth: a Celebration of E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake. Natural Heritage/Natural History, 1997.
Strong-Boag, Veronica, and Carole Gerson. Paddling her own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson. University of Toronto Press, 2000.
Read a review of this book.
Keller, Betty. Pauline, a biography of Pauline Johnson. Douglas & McIntyre, 1981.
Keller, Betty. Pauline Johnson: First Aboriginal Voice of Canada. By XYZ Pub, 1999.
Short narrative biography. Read a review of this book.
Van Steen, Marcus. Pauline Johnson, her life and work. Hodder and Stoughton, 1965.
Willoughby, Brenda. Pauline Johnson. Grolier Limited, 1988, Canadian Pathfinders Series.
Children's book. Designed for educational use.

Web Links

Free eBooks by E. Pauline Johnson in the Project Gutenberg collection

Flint and Feather.
Collection of Poetry.
Legends of Vancouver.
Johnson's reworkings of native legends from the Vancouver area.
The Shagganappi.
Collection of selected stories from the magazine Boy's World.
The Moccasin Maker.
Miscellaneous selected prose for adult readers.

Selected Web sites about Pauline Johnson

Valid HTML 4.01.

I release all the material in this file and the associated stories and articles into the public domain. However, I would ask that anyone planning to make use of it let me know.