Blue Bear Woman

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau's debut novel, originally published in French in 2007, tells the story of a young Cree woman's search for her roots and identity

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, translated by Susan Ouriou & Christelle Morelli

The story of a young Cree woman's search for her roots and identity, Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau's debut novel, Ourse bleue, was originally published in 2007, and is her second novel to be translated into English.

The novel explores contemporary Indigenous life and the impact on the Cree of the building of the Eastmain dam in northern Quebec, posited as "virgin" territory, yet which has actually been part of the Cree traditional territory since time immemorial.

In search of her roots, Victoria takes a trip to the country of her Cree ancestors with her companion, Daniel. It is a long journey to the north along the shores of James Bay. Colours, smells and majestic landscapes arouse memories that soon devolve into strange and hauntings dreams at night. In bits and pieces, uncles, aunties and cousins arrive to tell the story of Victoria's family and bring with them images of her childhood that are tinged both with joy and sadness.

Guided by her totem, the Blue Bear, she returns home to make peace with her soul, as well as release the soul of her Great-Uuncle George, a hunter who has been missing in the forest for over twenty years.

Blue Bear Woman is available in Oct. 2019.

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau is a visual artist and published author of Cree origin. She has published three novels and two poetry collections.