This paper analyses Natasha Kanapé Fontaine’s slam poem “Mes lames de tannage” from the perspective of a reader who has also translated the slam into English. The process of translating a writer whose mother tongue is Innu but who was raised in French outside her community of Pessamit, a writer who is also in the process of reclaiming her Innu tongue, brings to the fore all the pitfalls of moving from one colonial language to another. Yet there is a need for French-English translations of writers like Kanapé Fontaine, and specifically, of her “territorial slams.” Speaking out against settler-colonial practices of knowledge/ignorance, history/appropriation, and resource development/environmental degradation, “Mes lames de tannage” explores forms of intergenerational inheritance that inhabit the present and carry Innu cultural memory into the future.
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