Imagining Linguistic Constellations for the Study of Indigenous Literatures / Imaginer des constellations linguistiques pour l’étude des littératures autochtones

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Marie-Eve Bradette

Call for Papers for a Bilingual Issue of Alternative Francophone


Edited by

 Sarah Henzi (Simon Fraser University) & Marie-Eve Bradette (University of Regina)


“I live in a country where the two national languages are foreign languages.” 

(Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui, Courts critiques, 2017. Our translation.)


In 2010 was published Indigeneity in Dialogue: Indigenous Literary Expression Across Linguistic Divides, a special issue of Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne, edited by Michèle Lacombe, Heather MacFarlane, and Jennifer Andrews. In their introduction, the editors articulated a desire for Indigenous poets writing in French to be more widely acknowledged across the linguistic divide imposed by many colonial assimilation policies and technologies, including residential schools. They also called for more critical work to be done at the intersection of languages, while also focusing on the linguistic dimension of the texts under study (2010: 12). A little over 10 years later, what have we learnt - and what might we still learn - from this invitation by Lacombe, MacFarlane and Andrews? What relationships and constellations of solidarity have been built between Indigenous authors writing in different languages in the territories claimed by Canada? And how are these constellations articulated in the field of Indigenous literary studies? 


Does the current proliferation of works in translation, for example, allow for a proper circulation of texts, despite the linguistic borders that still exist between the two official languages in Canada, which are, as Wendat author Louis-Karl Picard Sioui reminds us, foreign languages? Are the Indigenous literary works produced in French, and now translated into English, actually being read, studied and taught in English-speaking academic contexts? And if so, how? Similarly, are scholars working in French looking at texts written in English by Indigenous writers? While the second question may seem easier to answer from a francophone perspective, it seems to us that attention to critical and academic reception of Indigenous literary works written in French (and in English translation) is still necessary, if we want to better understand where we stand 10 years after the publication of SCL’s special issue. To this end, we believe that a reflection on the plurality of languages (English, French, and Indigenous), all of which shape past and present First Nations, Métis and Inuit literatures, as well as a careful consideration of the many current translations and their distribution, can both complicate and problematize the notions of Francophonie and Anglophonie, as inherited from postcolonial studies. Such a problematization is essential, given that these very notions reiterate hegemonic power relations and do not always take into account the Indigenous epistemologies of language that shape literary imaginaries.

By paying particular attention to Indigenous literatures in translation, produced in French, English, or incorporating First Nations, Métis or Inuit languages, this bilingual special issue of Alternative Francophone seeks to offer an opportunity to question and problematize these linguistic and plurilingual issues, which have multiple and complex implications for Indigenous contexts. With this issue, we also wish to highlight, honour and support Indigenous writers who often write in spaces of linguistic tension, and who are shaping these linguistic landscapes through their creative work. In doing so, we wish to highlight the contribution of Indigenous literatures to a critical dialogue around issues of plurilingualism, linguistic hegemony, the language of the text, and linguistic colonialism. Finally, we hope to create an opportunity where critical conversations about these issues can ultimately occur.

With these points in mind, we invite contributions in French and in English that consider these linguistic constellations which, in turn, might renew our different ways of relating to Indigenous literatures by considering, for example, but not limited to, the following approaches: 

  • The circulation and reception of Indigenous texts in translation (reading, studying, teaching)
  • What methodologies are appropriate for studying and teaching works in translation?
  • What might thinking about relations between Indigenous literatures outside of colonial linguistic borders look like?
  • Indigenous literary solidarities
  • Indigenous epistemologies of language and relations to colonial languages
  • What methodologies should be used for Indigenous literary studies at the intersection of linguistic spheres? For Indigenous literary studies in French?
  • Trans-indigeneity/Indigenous trans-lingualism
  • Does the notion of francophonie (like that of anglophonie) prevent us from truly engaging with Indigenous literatures on their own terms?
  • Indigenous Literatures, Languages and Queer/Two-Spirit Perspectives


Interested authors are asked to submit an article proposal (500 words), along with a short biographical statement (200 words) by January 15, 2022 to and Full articles (between 6000 and 8000 words) will then be requested by June 30, 2022.