Exactly What I Said

Translating Words and Worlds

By Elizabeth Yeoman
Categories: Indigenous Studies, Literature & Language Studies, Linguistics, Language & Translation Studies, Indigenous-settler Relations, Social Sciences, Anthropology
Publisher: University of Manitoba Press
Paperback : 9780887552731, 288 pages, May 2022
Ebook (PDF) : 9780887552755, 288 pages, May 2022
Ebook (EPUB) : 9780887552762, 288 pages, May 2022
Hardcover : 9780887552786, 288 pages, May 2022

Table of contents

Ch 1: Mapping
Ch 2: Walking
Ch 3: Stories
Ch 4: Looking
Ch 5: Signs
Ch 6: Literacies
Ch 7: Listening
Ch 8: Songs
Ch 9: Wilderness


“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.


This work goes beyond documenting and surpasses any conventional approach to scholarly discourse. Audiences who come to the book with open minds and open hearts will find the contents of Exactly What I Said: Translating Words and Worlds feeling enriched and intellectually challenged.

- Regan Treewater