Labrador Innu Myths and Legends

These Innu-aimun stories were collected in Sheshatshiu, Labrador by Madeleine Lefebvre and Robert Lanari in 1967 and have recently been transcribed in the Innu common spelling system as part of the Labrador Innu Text Project, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Booklets are available in printed form as Sheshatshiu Atanukana mak Tipatshimuna / Myths and tales from Sheshatshit.

The 29 stories found in Sheshatshiu-atanukana mak tipatshimuna were edited by ethnolinguist Jose Mailhot, in collaboration with several Innu language speakers. At the time of editing, a transcription of the entire collection of recordings already existed that Etien Andrew had done in computerized format. Through the Labrador Innu Text Project, led by Marguerite MacKenzie, a group of 30 or so texts were chosen for this edition. Josephine Bacon made improvements to the transcriptions through listening to the original recordings and Jose Mailhot standardized the spelling, added punctuation, and divided the stories into paragraphs. The final revision of the texts was carried out by a multi-dialectal committee working under the direction of Jose Mailhot. This committee included the late Desneiges Mollen, Philomene Gregoire, Celine Bellefleur, and Judith Mestokosho.

The editorial committee aimed at producing texts that would be both easy to understand and enjoyable to read. The punctuation and layout of the elements of the texts have made narration clearly distinguishable from dialogue, as well as from asides by the storytellers. In some cases, double - or even triple - sets of quotation marks were necessary, in order to distinguish between different levels of reported speech, a characteristic of Innu narrative style. The committee also made the decision to take out the repetitions, hesitations and "false starts" that are characteristic of the oral versions of the stories. The texts presented here are therefore a literary version of the tales recited by the storytellers in 1967, several of which appear as audio files on this site.