ARTIST’S STATEMENT: Sang pour sang // Blood for Blood is the first of three in a series that describes the artist’s personal perception and experiences of being a young Métis woman in Manitoba and Canada today. With this particular poem, she was inspired by writings of Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont found in Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair and Warren Cariou, as well as a painting titled Bloodletting by artist Christi Belcourt. There has been much contention among members of both Métis and First Nations community members when it comes to blood quantum, one’s level of connection to their ancestors and traditions, and how these determine whether one’s Métis identity is viewed as legitimate in the eyes of the government and one’s respective community. Pelland also wanted to express the notion that by existing and living on this land, Métis and First Nations people continue to resist the very notion of “Canada”, a country that as of now “never was” and “never will be”, due to broken treaties and the continued illegal occupation of Treaty territories.


Sang pour sang, fille sang-mêlé
Héritière de ponts brulés et de pays volé
Ancêtres, je vis l’amour de votre présence
J’vous sens sur le vent; vos esprits, mes ancres

Sang pour sang, fille sang-mêlé
Les tambours résonnent dans ce cœur sacré
Sur les Plaines, et près des rivières je danse
Mes pas et chants, une résistance

Sang pour sang, fille sang-mêlé
Canada ne sera pas, n’est pas et n’a jamais été

 

Blood for blood, mixed-blood girl
Inheritor of burnt bridges and stolen lands
Ancestors, I live the love of your presence
I feel you on the wind, your spirits as my anchors

Blood for blood, mixed-blood girl
The drums resonate in this sacred heart
On the Plains, and near the rivers I dance
My steps and songs, a resistance

Blood for blood, mixed-blood girl
Canada never will be, is not and never was


Jacq Pelland is a 23-year-old bilingual Métis woman who identifies as bisexual, as well as a student, advocate, activist, and artist. Art has always been a mainstay in her life: dance, painting, drawing, singing, composing, photography, sewing, and writing are things she does on a near-daily basis. Since a young age, she has always known her art would be based on personal experiences, beliefs, and politics, while maintaining a focus on decolonization and anti-oppression action. Unfortunately, she never knew of or connected with Métis women she could look up to as mentors, so she strives to provide that to youth she works with. Her goal is to further contribute to the body of work done by previous and current Métis and Indigenous artists who show that all kinds of healing can occur through sharing one’s gifts, and she intends to use her work to help youth who also currently suffer the loss and confusion associated with being disconnected from their culture.

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