Artist Profiles: Rita Joe

Profile: The Legacy of Rita Joe

Over her lifetime, RIta Joe published seven books of poetry and stories which outlined her native heritage experiences. As a renowned poet and author, RIta Joe became an ambassador for native culture and advocated for love and understanding between all people.

Joe served on the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 1992, (even meeting the Queen), was a member of the Order of Canada and received many honorary awards throughout her life. Rita Joe became known as the poet laureate of the Mi’kmaq nation.

Born Rita Bernard in Whycocomagh, Cape Breton, she married Frank Joe in 1954. They had eight children and adopted two boys.

The Wagmatcook Centre project, entitled “The Legacy of Rita Joe“, recognises her impact for our communities through a Collage of Art, Spoken work, Music, Dance, Video and more.

“I was only a housewife with a dream to bring laughter to the sad eyes of my people and trusting the anchor we live by to complete the woven tale we are still telling.” – Rita Joe


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