This volume demonstrates how Johnson ‘talked back’ to the dominant culture. Like the Knights of Labor or the suffragists of her day, who too ‘dreamed of what might be,’ she chronicled and questioned prejudice and oppression. While not always consistent or unambiguous, her writing and performances disturbed and remade the conventions that saw First Nations peoples and women as properly subject to imperial, and imperious, masculinity. Her resistance to demeaning narratives is sometimes blunt, sometimes ironical, and sometimes so subtle as to be barely perceptible, but rarely entirely absent…Her public championship of a more inclusive and tolerant nationality incorporating dignity and respect for the First Nations and for women, her claim of both the ‘shadows and the dreaming,’ was a fragile but recurring accomplishment that threatened powerful conventions.
Author: Veronica Strong-Boag & Carole Gerson