Rita Joe is celebrated as a poet, an educator, and an ambassador. In 1989, she accepted the Order of Canada “on behalf of native people across the nation.” In this spirit she tells her story and, by her example, illustrates the experiences of an entire generation of aboriginal women in Canada.
Song of Rita Joe is the story of Joe’s remarkable life: her education in an Indian residential school, her turbulent marriage, and the daily struggles within her family and community. It is the story of how Joe’s battles with racism, sexism, poverty, and personal demons became the catalyst for her first poems and allowed her to reclaim her aboriginal heritage. Today, her story continues: as she moves into old age, Joe writes that her lifelong spiritual quest is ever deepening.