The term nitassinan means our land in Innu-aimun, an
Algonkian (or 'Algonquian') polysynthetic language spoken by the Innu of
It uses the exclusive we, ninan.
There is also an inclusive we, tshinan(u), in which case
our land would be tshitassinan or tshitassinu.
However, it is the Earth which is addressed as "you" in this poem, and this
personified Earth is supposed to be outside the circle of the speaker and
all other real persons.
(The Innu may call their native land "Tshitassinu" when talking amongst
themselves, and "Nitassinan" when talking about it to others.)
Nitassinan, Our Earth was inspired by a poem
found at the First Nations Garden of the Montreal Botanical Garden in the
Canadian Province of Quebec in the
64th Mid-Southeast Month, in English, in
Innu-aimun (which i do not understand) and in French:
We take care of you
Because you feed us
We watch over you
Because you heal us
Nitassinan, our Earth
The sacred place of life
Nous prenons soin de toi
Car tu nous nourris
Nous veillons sur toi
Car tu nous guéris
Nitassinan, notre terre
Lieu sacré de vie
There are many differences between my poem and Our Earth /
Nitassinan / Notre terre, such as the use of the tenses.
However, the most important difference is that nitassinan and
our earth are given opposite connotations in Nitassinan,
Together, the Nitassinan stanzas of the poem may be considered a
poem in itself, suitable for singing:
we protected you,
for you served the thirsty;
we took care of you,
for you fed the hungry;
we brought forth two children,
for you bore the number.
You included and you soothed,
so we led our wholesome lives.
Nitassinan, our Earth.
when they fly in the face of your land,
we grieve for nature gone,
the loss that can't go on,
but our love makes us stay and withstand,
makes us stay and withstand.
Nitassinan, our Earth,
nitassinan, our land.
['NITASSINAN' SUNG BY MVVM] [MP3 FILE,
1.51 MB, 1:39, v 64.42.1]
On the screen, the background of this poem contains the vague outline of
an image cut into a limestone rock in Petroglyphs Provincial Park in the
Algonquin Region of the Canadian Province of Ontario.
Those interested in poetry concerned with the natural environment should
The Elephant in the Room, which provides
more information about the role of human overpopulation in the
destruction of the natural environment, if not eventually of the Earth