Anchor Project

Thirteen Echoes of Kmətkinu

This project is based on a poem by Shalan Joudry, “Kmətkinu (Homeland)”, which follows the history of L’nu’k (Mi’kmaq) ancestors and our homeland of Mi’kma’ki from over thousands of years until present day. The poem’s meditations on grief, truth-seeking, and communal healing are echoed in the landscape’s own healing from generations of trauma. The poem was translated into other languages so that there are a total of thirteen - to fit on the back of a turtle. All versions will be played simultaneously so that we can listen to these various voices all telling the story of this land in a unique unison.

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Translated into other languages and then audio recorded, there are a total of thirteen voices reading various versions of Kmətkinu. The languages included in this project are: Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese), French (Acadian), Gaelic (Scottish), Japanese, Mi’kmaw/L’nu, Norwegian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, and Wolastoqey. Guided by the four-part medicine wheel, as well as the thirteen scutes on a turtle’s back, we are reminded that to have any whole system we need to recognize the interdependence among a collective. All thirteen versions will be played simultaneously so that we can listen to these various voices all telling the story of this land in a unique unison. This poem and the entire project is an honouring of the land and our L’nu/Indigenous history here in Mi’kma’ki, as well as the hope for our shared Future.

A special podcast of the voices mixed and woven is also available through “Trails, Tales, and Spruce Tea”. The thirteen written versions will be compiled into a forthcoming book published by Running the Goat Books and Broadsides.


Shalan Joudry is a narrative artist working in many mediums. She is a poet, playwright, podcast producer, oral storyteller and actor, as well as a cultural interpreter. Her first book of poetry, Generations Re-merging, was published by Gaspereau Press (2014) and her second book, Elapultiek, was published by Pottersfield Press (2019). Her next collection of poetry, Waking Ground, is also coming out with Gaspereau Press (fall 2020). Shalan has shared her poetry, oral storytelling and drum singing with numerous stages, events, schools and organizations for the past decade. Shalan also facilitates cultural and ecological professional development workshops. She lives in her home territory of Kespukwitk (southwest Nova Scotia) with her family in their community of L’sətkuk (Bear River First Nation).

Lukas Pearse is a Bassist/ Media Artist/ Composer / Sound Editor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. An award-winning film composer and member of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, Lukas is an acoustic, electric and digital musician and sound artist with professional experience in a wide array of genres and creative forms. Rooted in visual art as firmly as in music, Lukas Pearse also provides both improvised and composed live visuals for music, modern dance, fine art and theatrical events. Since 2015, Lukas Pearse has served as the Artistic Director of the Upstream Music Association, founded in 1990, committed to the presentation of new compositions for improvising musicians, with a focus on large ensembles, as well as presenting the annual Open Waters Festival of New and Improvised Music. With extensive teaching experience, Lukas Pearse is also a passionate educator both privately and through the artist-run Centre For Art Tapes and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Translators and voices include:

Tamim Arabi (Arabic), Christina Sai Yin Chui (Cantonese), paulo da costa (Portuguese), Gurinder Dhillon (Punjabi), Andor Gjesdal (Norwegian - vocals), Leah Horwood (Norwegian - translation), Yuki Inoue (Japanese - translation), shalan joudry (original poem and vocals), Sabina Kasheke (Swahili), Irene Kasianov (Russian), Lodaidh MacFhionghain (Gaelic), André Muise (Acadian French), Opolahsomuwehs (Wolastoqey), Arlene Stevens (Mi’kmaw - translation and vocals), Barbara Sylliboy (Mi’kmaw - translation), and Atsuko Tomita (Japanese - translation and vocals).

Special thanks to Arts Nova Scotia for funding that helped in the creation of this work.

Sound/Audio Art Installation Family Friendly Poetry/Spoken Word/Voice