“You don’t have to use the exact same words.… But it has to mean exactly what I said.” Thus began the ten-year collaboration between Innu elder and activist Tshaukuesh Elizabeth Penashue and Memorial University professor Elizabeth Yeoman that produced the celebrated Nitinikiau Innusi: I Keep the Land Alive, an English-language edition of Penashue’s journals, originally written in Innu-aimun during her decades of struggle for Innu sovereignty.
Exactly What I Said: Translating Words and Worlds reflects on that collaboration and what Yeoman learned from it. It is about naming, mapping, and storytelling; about photographs, collaborative authorship, and voice; about walking together on the land and what can be learned along the way. Combining theory with personal narrative, Yeoman weaves together ideas, memories, and experiences––of home and place, of stories and songs, of looking and listening––to interrogate the challenges and ethics of translation.
Examining what it means to relate whole worlds across the boundaries of language, culture, and history, Exactly What I Said offers an accessible, engaging reflection on respectful and responsible translation and collaboration.