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Rita Mestokosho

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Rita Mestokosho
Born1966
Mingan, Quebec
🏳️ Nationality
Other names
University of Quebec in Chicoutimi
💼 Occupation
Innu writer and poet
💵 Salary :

Rita Mestokosho, born 1966 in Ekuanitshit (Mingan) (innu reserve in Québec, in the Côte-Nord region), is an indigenous writer and poet, councillor for culture and education in the Innu nation.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Indigenous activist[edit]

Born in the small Innu village of Ekuanitshit, Mestokosho spent a great part of her childhood wandering the forest with her parents, who were hunter-gatherers.[3] After her high school in Quebec City and then in Montreal, Rita Mestokosho began studying political science at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi. Returning to her native community, she has participated for several years in the creation of an "Innu mitshuap uteitun", a house of Innu culture, where she still works as a coordinator.[1] [4]

Rita Mestokosho is an indigenous activist who fights for the recognition of the Innu-aimun language and the development of the culture and heritage of the Innu Nation.[5] She is a member of her local Innu Council and a spokesperson for her community.[6] She fought against the project for the construction of a Hydroelectricity dam on the Roman river.[7][8]

Her poetry and activism are deeply interlinked. Michele Lacombe has argued that Mestokosho has not chosen poetry but that she thinks it is "more useful than political speeches for defending environmental causes closely allied to Innu people's traditional homelands".[9] In the Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature, Sarah Henzi argues that Mestokosho's work uses poetry to "take control".[10]

Writer and poet[edit]

Rita Mestokosho has published poems in several international journals and regularly participates in meetings of writers of the native language, at international festivals of literature and poetry and at book fairs.[11]

In 1995, she published her first poetry book, Eshi Uapataman Nukum.[12] In 2010, Swedish publishing company Beijbom Books re-published this work in Innu, French and Swedish.[13] She was quoted in a speech by J.M.G. Le Clézio before his Nobel prize acceptance on universal literature.[14][10] Christophe Premat show how the issue of survivance is important in Mestokosho's work and how it relates to resilience by comparing her work with the one of Naomi Fontaine.[15]

Another feature of Mestokosho's poetry is her use of bilingual editions.[16] Nicolas Beauclair has analyzed her writings and describes her poetry as an "epistemic mobilization" using another language to decolonizing borders.[17] She is also the first person writing in Innu and French according to The Routledge Companion to Transnational American Studies.[18]

Her latest book, Née de la pluie et de la terre, was published in September 2014.[19]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Rita Mestokosho | Terres en Vues". www.nativelynx.qc.ca. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  2. "La poétesse, la rivière et les saumons". La Presse (in français). 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  3. "Rita Mestokosho, poésie et tradition". tvfrancophonie.org (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-08. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. "La culture autochtone attire de plus en plus de touristes". Radio-Canada.ca (in français). July 26, 2016. Retrieved 2020-05-08. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. Le défi autochtone: le combat de Rita Mestokosho pour la minorité innue au Québec
  6. "Rita Mestokosho". Babelio (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  7. "Rita Mestokosho, Née de la pluie et de la terre". France Culture (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  8. "Ouest-France daté du 15 avril 2014". Ouest-France. April 15, 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. McLeod, Neal (2014). Indigenous Poetics in Canada. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 172. ISBN 9781554589821. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 Cox, James H. (James Howard), 1968- editor. Justice, Daniel Heath, editor. (2014). The Oxford handbook of indigenous American literature. pp. 663–664. ISBN 978-0-19-998384-1. OCLC 898199123.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  11. L'artiste Rita Mestokosho
  12. "Rita Mestokosho". Kwahiatonhk! (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  13. "Utiliser la francophonie à la marge en classe de FLE: les vertus pédagogiques de l´œuvre de Rita Mestokosho en Suède". Le monde en français (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  14. "Dans la forêt des paradoxes: le discours du Nobel J.M.G. Le Clézio". LExpress.fr (in français). 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  15. Premat, Christophe (2019). "The Survivance in the Literature of the First Nations in Canada". Baltic Journal of English Language, Literature and Culture. 9: 75–92. doi:10.22364/bjellc.09.2019.06. ISSN 1691-9971.
  16. Sule, Francoise; Premat, Christophe (2016). "Rita Mestokosho, Innu Poet in Multilingual Edition".
  17. Beauclair, Nicolas (2016-12-31). "La decolonialidad del saber en los discursos indígenas quebequenses: los casos del historiador Georges Sioui y la poeta Rita Mestokosho". 1616: Anuario de la Sociedad Española de Literatura Comparada. ISSN 0210-7287.
  18. Morgan, Nina, editor. Hornung, Alfred, editor. Tatsumi, Takayuki, editor. (2019). The Routledge companion to transnational American studies. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-315-16393-2. OCLC 1091899612.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  19. ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone Arts-. "Prix de poésie 2015 : Roger Des Roches, Dyane Léger et Rita Mestokosho membres du jury | Prix de poésie". Radio-Canada.ca (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-09.


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