Born in 1932 in Whycocomagh, Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia), Mi’kmaq poet Rita Joe was the youngest surviving child of poor but loving parents, Annie (Googoo) Bernard and Joseph (Josie) Gould Bernard. She experienced her first traumatic event when her mother died in childbirth in 1937. Her mother’s sudden death unravelled the tight-knit family. Separated from the rest of her immediate family, Joe lived in a succession of foster homes in Mi’kmaq communities throughout Nova Scotia. At age 9, she was briefly and happily reunited with her family, but after her father’s death in 1942, 10-year-old Joe was sent to live with her half-brother and his wife in Oxford, Nova Scotia, a non-Aboriginal community, where she …

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Dagenais, Natasha. "Rita Joe". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 July 2012
[, accessed 08 July 2015.]

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