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Rita Mestokosho, Innu Poet in Multilingual Edition
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6107-735X
2016 (English)In: Abstracts: Panel 5. The Treatment of History in Canadian Literature, 2016Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In his Nobel speech on 7th December 2008 Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio declared that literature had become a weapon in the service of the expression of cultural identity. He referred more specifically to the Innu writer Rita Mestokosho and to her commitment to the protection of a certain way of life. Rita Mestokosho is born in 1966 in Ekuanitshit Innu territory where she is still living today. Her first book of poetry Eshi Uapataman Nukum ( How I perceive life , Grandmother) was published in 1995. Republished in Sweden in 2010 in a bilingual edition. Her latest book Née de la pluie et de la terre was published in 2014 by Editions Bruno Doucey. As a member of the Innu council, Rita Mestokosho acts as a communicator for her community and is very much involved in cultural and educational projects. "I am Innu, and Innu means human being. We are almost 15.000 Innus, split into 11 communities, 2 in Labrador with English as their second language, 9 in Quebec with French as their second language. We live between 2 worlds, the modern and the traditional. Finding a balance between them is not easy because our traditional land is always threatened by the bigger forest-industries, the dams for hydro-energy and the mines. Our life and survival are linked to the survival of the rivers, the forest and the lakes. Writing in a language, in the French language is also a necessity. It enables us to reach a wider audience for expressing our fears in a poetical way." The communities of Pessamit, Essipit, la Romaine, Mashteuiatsh, Matimekosh, Mingan, Natahsquan, Pakuashipi, Uashat Maliotenam  which are the 9 communities in Quebec compose what Rita M. names the Innu " nation ". Rita M. represents indeed a small cultural minority but literature enables her to speak with a universal voice as her poems are published in a multilingual edition. We would like to present here how the fight for the survival of the Innu community reflects the rise of a political native awareness in Québec. We will refer to the interviews we had with Rita Mestokosho during her 2 visits to Stockholm in 2009 and 2014 and to the articles we wrote for the Quebec magazine  Littoral/ Côte ouest ( GRÉNOC groupe de recherche sur la l’écriture nord-côtière) 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
Mestokosho, native languages, minorities, heritage, Innu
National Category
Cultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134071OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-134071DiVA: diva2:989904
Conference
Ninth Biennial Conference of the Swedish Association for American Studies, Gothenburg, Sweden, September 30-October 1, 2016
Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2016-12-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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