Tag Archives: Charles Marega

E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake), 1861 -1913

One hundred years ago, on March 7, 1913, Emily Pauline Johnson died in Vancouver. She retired here in 1909 as a celebrated poet, author and performer and, although Johnson lived a brief four years in Vancouver, she left a lasting legacy in the city.

Portrait of E. Pauline Johnson, undated. George T. Wadds, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Port P637

Portrait of E. Pauline Johnson, undated. George T. Wadds, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Port P637

Born in 1861 on the Six Nations Reserve, outside Brantford, Canada West (Ontario), Pauline Johnson was the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an English mother. Her Mohawk name was Tekahionwake. She published her first poem in 1884. In 1892 she began to read her poems to audiences, honing her skill as a dramatic performer as she performed on tours across Canada, in the United States and in England over the next 17 years. Her first book of poems, The White Wampum, was published in 1895. Continue reading

Black History Month: What’s in the Archives?

People of African descent have been part of Vancouver history since before the City was established. It has been a challenge, however, for the Archives to acquire records which document the activities of individuals and the groups in the Black community. In recognition of Black History Month, we thought we would feature a few of the records we do have and, by doing so, encourage the donation of other records.

Sir James Douglas (1803-1877). Item # Port P1593.

Governor Sir James Douglas, born in Guyana to Creole and Scottish parents, was not a resident of Vancouver but he encouraged the settlement of Blacks, who were fleeing from persecution in California, on Vancouver Island. Some 800 left for Victoria between 1858 and 1860 and descendants of these immigrants eventually settled in the Lower Mainland.

One of Vancouver’s best-known and earliest Black residents was Seraphim “Joe” Fortes (1865?-1922). Originally from the Caribbean, Joe arrived as a crewman aboard the Robert Kerr in December 1885. Joe worked in various jobs, including as a bartender, but it is his legacy as a swimming instructor and Vancouver’s first official lifeguard at English Bay for which he is best remembered. Continue reading