Born in Whycocomagh, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Rita Joe was the author of six books, including her 1978 debut collection Poems of Rita Joe. Her memoir, Songs of Rita Joe: Autobiography of a Mi’kmaq Poet, details some of her experiences at Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. She is widely considered the Poet Laureate of the Mi-kmaq people. She was also made a member of the Order of Canada and received an honorary doctorate from Dalhousie University. 

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