etched in steel(e) Dr. Suzanne M. Steele — editor analyst writer researcher

New! SSHRC Award for an Indigenous Languages Aesthetic Translation Project

Neil Weisensel and I are thrilled to be the recipients of a 2020 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Award — one that will enable me to work more closely with our Saulteaux and Michif(s) translators, and for Neil to found a Michif choir and to mentor Michif conductors. The work will be based on the text I’m writing for Li Keur, Riel’s Heart of the North, premiering in Winnipeg in October 2020 with the Winnipeg Symphony.

Sharpshooter, mid-19th century, upon whom
one of the characters in the new opera is based!

From the grant description:

“Dr. Steele will continue her work alongside the Indigenous translators to further develop protocols and methods of poetic translation (from English to Michif and Saulteaux) established in the initial phase of the project. Steele has a very strong connection to the Métis community and is highly respected by its members; the translators from the Metis and Saulteaux communities are Elders and traditional knowledge keepers and as such are highly qualified in their respective language and cultural traditions. In tandem with this, we will create a multimedia Michif/Saulteaux Pronunciation Database for the translated texts. This knowledge will be transmitted to the Metis Chorus, who will be involved in the October 2020 performance of Li Keur, through a series of workshops and seminars (see below).”

“The Michif/Saulteaux Pronunciation Database and translations will be made available to other interested parties, including but not limited to Indigenous language scholars, graduate students, the Indigenous communities to which our translators belong, singers and choirs in the extended Canadian musical community, and other interested groups. These resources will be valuable not just for additional future performances of Li Keur, but can serve as a model of methodology for other writers and creative artists wanting to create new works using Indigenous languages. It is important to note that the translations are intellectual property of the translators. We will be developing a proper strategy in concert with the translators, a Cultural Consultant, and other Elders to ensure this knowledge is appropriately mobilized.”

and this:

“The 80-person Metis Chorus will be created using connections established with, and outreach by, our community partners: Manitoba Metis Federation, l’Union Nationale Métisse de St. Joseph, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Opera, our Indigenous translators, our Métis Chorus Director, and previous Metis Chorus members from 2018 workshop performances of Li Keur. In a series of further workshops and seminars, the Métis Chorus will integrate the results of our work with the Indigenous translators, making use of the Michif/Saulteaux Pronunciation Database. The Métis Chorus Director will be responsible for training the chorus and integrating it into the larger body of the piece, Li Keur: Riel’s Heart of the North, for performance in October 2020.”

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