Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (Bamewawagezhikaquay)

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (1800–1842), Ojibwe (Anishinaabe), was born to an Ojibwe mother and a Scotts-Irish father. She grew up speaking both Anishinaabemowin and English, and at fifteen, she began writing poetry in both languages. Schoolcraft is considered to be the first published Native woman writer. Anishinaabemowin and English versions of Schoolcraft’s poems can be read in Robert Dale Parker’s The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky, from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

By an Ojibwa Female Pen

Invitation to sisters to a walk in the Garden, after a shower Come, sisters come! the shower’s past, The garden walks are drying fast, The Sun’s bright beams are seen again, And nought within, can now detain.

To the Pine Tree

Zhingwaak! Zhingwaak! Ingii-ikid, Weshki waabamag zhingwaak Dagoshinaan neyab, endanakiiyaan. Zhingwaak, zhingwaak nos sa! Azhigwa gidatisaanan Gaagige wezhaawashkozid.

The Contrast

 With pen in hand, I shall contrast, The present moments with the past And mark difference, not by grains, But weighed by feelings, joys and pains. Calm, tranquil—far from fashion’s gaze, Passed all my earliest, happy days Sweetly flew the golden hours, In St. Mary’s woodland bowers Or my father’s simple hall, Oped to whomsoe’er might call