Lenore Keeshig-Tobias is an Anishinaabe writer from Cape Croker, Ontario, and E. Pauline Johnson (1861–1913, Mohawk), was one of the most famous poet-performers of her day in Canada and Britain. Both writers advocate against the stereotyping of Indigenous people, particularly in literature.
Although “A Strong Race Opinion” was published in 1892, Johnson’s critical stance on the representation of Indigenous characters is proto-feminist. Johnson’s approach resonates with the contemporary experiences reflected in Keeshig-Tobias’ 1990 discussion, almost one hundred years later. By pairing these two short commentaries together, we can glimpse both consistent and changing aspects of racialization in literature and society.
Read the two short newspaper opinion pieces. Some universities and libraries have access to the Globe archives, where you can search for Keeshig-Tobias’ text.
- Keeshig-Tobias, Lenore. “Stop Stealing Native Stories.” Globe and
- Johnson, E. Pauline.
A Strong Race Opinion: The Indian Girl in Modern Fiction.Originally published in Toronto Sunday Globe 22 May 1892: 1.
For help with critical reading, see
Close Reading Prose.
How do these writers advocate against stereotypes in different ways? How do Johnson and Keeshig-Tobias represent and work against stereotypes of Indigenous peoples? What do they argue in favor of? What similarities and differences do you see in their analysis of racialization?