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Blue Bear Woman

by (author) Virginia Bordeleau

translated by Ouriou Susan & Christelle Morelli

Inanna Publications & Education Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Creative Writing, English Language Arts
Grade Levels
11 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

Blue Bear Woman follows the protagonist, Victoria, as she travels through her Cree traditional territory in an attempt to understand the strong memories and dreams that increasingly haunt her. Guided by these callings, Victoria tries to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of her Great Uncle George and grapples with the impact of the building of the Eastmain dam. Victoria’s life has been impacted by colonialism in many ways, and in her search for her identity she experiences grief, sadness, and heartache. The text incorporates Indigenous narrative styles (cyclical use of time, repetition, and humour) to explore complex themes and issues. This text could be used to discuss Indigenous spirituality, connections to the land, and the ongoing impact of colonization on communities. | Originally published in French as Ourse bleue. Translated by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli.

Caution: Sexual assault and trauma.

170 pp., 5.5 × 8.25"

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau (Cree from Rapides-des-Cèdres, QC)

Source: Association of Book Publishers of BC - Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools (2021-2022)

About the authors

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau is an internationally-recognized visual artist and published author of Cree origin. She has published three novels and two poetry collections in French. Born in Rapides-des-Cèdres in 1951, of a Cree mother and a mixed-race Quebecois father, she holds a Fine Arts Baccalaureate and has participated in numerous exhibitions in Quebec, United States, Mexico, Denmark, and received several awards for her art. In 2007, she published her first novel, Ourse blue. Her collection of poetry, De rouge et de blanc (2012) was awarded the Abitibi-Témiscamingue literary prize. Her subsequent novels include L'amant du lac (2013) and L'enfant hiver (2014). She lives in Abitibi, in northwest Quebec.

Virginia Bordeleau's profile page

Susan Ouriou is an award-winning literary translator (French and Spanish to English), fiction writer and conference interpreter. Among her co-translations is Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau's first novel published in translation, Winter Child, and Emmanuelle Walter's non-fiction book Stolen Sisters: The Story of Two Missing Girls, Their Families and How Canada Has Failed Indigenous Women, which was shortlisted for the Governor General's award for translation. An earlier translation, Pieces of Me, won that same award. She is the editor of Languages of Our Land: Indigenous Poems and Stories from Quebec and the anthology Beyond Words: Translating the World. For many years, she translated and interpreted for the Banff Centre's Indigenous Writing residency. She has also interpreted for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Ouriou Susan's profile page

Christelle Morelli is a French-English literary translator and teacher in the Francophone school system. She has translated the anthology Languages of Our Land: Indigenous Poems and Stories from Quebec and the children’s book Blanche Hates the Night. She has also co-translated 15 fiction, non-fiction and children’s books with Susan Ouriou. Her French to English co-translations other than Winter Child are: Against God, Sand Bar, Jane, the Fox and Me, Millions for a Song, Once Upon a Rainy Day, Stolen Sisters, Louis Undercover and Hunting Houses. Her English to French co-translation titles are: La toute dernière première fois, Chin Chiang et la danse du dragon, Lune jaune, à bientôt, Le chandail d’Amos, Une musique du ciel, Leçons de la Mère-Terre and Un saumon pour Simon. Her co-translation with Susan Ouriou, Stolen Sisters, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Translation in 2015.

Christelle Morelli's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau creates a world where tragedy and triumph travel side by side. Alternating between the realities of darkness and light, between past and present, the author's main character ultimately celebrates strength in spirit. The reverence shown towards the Cree history, culture and people of Northern Quebec takes the reader on a journey, filled with stories that no longer wish to be hidden. No longer left untold. Bravo to Virginia and bravo to Inanna Publications for the translation."
--Carol Rose GoldenEagle (Daniels), author of Bearskin Diary, Hiraeth and Bone Black

"A dizzying dive into a heartrending past. This is what Ourse bleue has to offer in its story of origins and mixed blood. No self-pity to be found in this novel. No hate-filled rage either. Only genuine concern and care that we too share. Coupled with powerful images that continue to haunt us even after we've turned the last page."
--Le Devoir