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Leanne Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a writer, activist, and scholar of Michi Saagiik Nishnaabeg ancestry and is a band member of Alderville First Nation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, is an Adjunct Professor in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca University. She has also lectured at Ryerson University, the University of Victoria, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Winnipeg.

Leanne has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada and internationally over the past 15 years on environmental, governance and political issues.

She has published three edited volumes including Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of Indigenous Nations (2008, Arbeiter Ring), and This is An Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Barricades (with Kiera Ladner, 2010, Arbeiter Ring). Leanne has published over thirty scholarly articles and raised over one million dollars for community-based research projects over her career. She has written fiction and non-fiction pieces for Now Magazine, Spirit Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Anishinabek News, the Link, and Canadian Art Magazine.

Her third book, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence was published in May 2011 and turns to Nishnaabeg theory and philosophy for guidance in building and maintaining resurgence movements. It is her hope that this work will inspire the regeneration Nishnaabeg systems of governance, language, and knowledge – systems that place women back at the centre of Kina Gchi Nishnaabeg‐ogaming.

Leanne is also an oral story-teller and language-learner. She has performed at the last two Ode’min Giizis festivals in addition to Nishnaabemowin Saswaansing’s Solstice Storytelling event. Dr. Simpson lives in Nogojiwanong, the inspiration for much of her work, where she homeschools her two children. She is currently the co-director of Wii-Kendimiing Nishinaabemowin Saswaansing, a language nest for Nishnaabeg families and she is also a member of O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk artist collective.

As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: University/College;

Across North America, Indigenous acts of resistance have in recent years opposed the removal of federal protections for forests and waterways in Indigenous lands, halted the expansion of tar sands extraction and the pipeline construction at Standing Rock, and demanded justice for murdered and missing Indigenous women. In As We Have Always Done, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson locates Indigenous political resurgence as a practice rooted in uniquely Indigenous theorizing, writing, organizing, and thinking.

Indigenous resistance is a radical rejection of contemporary colonialism focused around the refusal of the dispossession of both Indigenous bodies and land. Simpson makes clear that its goal can no longer be cultural resurgence as a mechanism for inclusion in a multicultural mosaic. Instead, she calls for unapologetic, place-based Indigenous alternatives to the destructive logics of the settler colonial state, including heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation.

Awards

  • Native American and Indigenous Studies Association's Best Subsequent Book 2017

Reviews
"This is an astonishing work of Indigenous intellectualism and activism—by far the most provocative, defiant, visionary, and generous of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's impressive corpus to date."—Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation), University of British Columbia

"I have learned more about this battered world from reading Leanne Betasamosake Simpson than from almost any writer alive today. A dazzlingly original thinker and an irresistible stylist, Simpson has gifted us with a field guide not to mere political resistance but to deep and holistic transformation. It arrives at the perfect time."—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything

"A remarkable achievement that illuminates what is possible when we engage in the revolutionary act of indigenous self-love, As We Have Always Done asks the simple question, ‘What if no one sided with colonialism?’ The many possible answers to that question are reflected in Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s beautifully written book in which she kindly challenges indigenous people to reclaim their lives and bodies from the settler colonial state."—Sarah Deer (Muscogee [Creek] Nation), author of The Beginning and End of Rape

"Incisive. Unmitigated. Inspiring. Simpson gives no quarter to colonialism. No quarter to a nasty Western narrative. She provides a pure, Indigenous lens—a lens that the white man tried to kill and bury. This book is a reminder that they failed in that rotten endeavor. It belongs on every Canadian bookshelf. On every American coffee table. Simpson's words are an affirmation of Indigenous resilience and resolve."—Simon Moya-Smith (Lakota and Chicano), culture editor at Indian Country Media Network

"Leanne Betasamosake Simpson confronts colonialism from the perspective of indigenous nationhood, but goes beyond arguing for changes in politics, writing in a way that enacts changes in our thinking about politics."—Indian Country Today

"While her intended audience is other Indigenous peoples, I think non-Indigenous Canadians will find it inspiring as they take up her challenge of decolonization."—Watershed Sentinel

"As We Have Always Done is an in-depth look into indigenous resistance and what is possible when that resistance embraces indigenous culture. It gives us a glimmer of hope. Hope that there is another way to live. That we can forge relationships, be with each other, and live for much more than what neo-liberal capitalism tells us life is about."—The Collective

"This book will not only offer the Indigenous community much courage, but it will also open the eyes of many non-indigenous people. We have here not just a description of a state of affairs, but also a practical guide. A very important, successful publication."—Amerindian Research

"The book is essential for anyone studying any aspect of Indigenous decolonization, politics, law, and settler colonialism, and signals a vital shift away from current neoliberal discussions and policies of indigenization and reconciliation in order to rebuild and recover indigenous nationhoods."—Transmotion

Additional Information
216 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

 

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$34.50

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Dancing on Our Turtle's Back
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Many promote Reconciliation as a “new” way for Canada to relate to Indigenous Peoples. In Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence activist, editor, and educator Leanne Simpson asserts reconciliation must be grounded in political resurgence and must support the regeneration of Indigenous languages, oral cultures, and traditions of governance.

Simpson explores philosophies and pathways of regeneration, resurgence, and a new emergence through the Nishnaabeg language, Creation Stories, walks with Elders and children, celebrations and protests, and meditations on these experiences. She stresses the importance of illuminating Indigenous intellectual traditions to transform their relationship to the Canadian state.

Challenging and original, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back provides a valuable new perspective on the struggles of Indigenous Peoples.

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Islands of Decolonial Love
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;

In her debut collection of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love, renowned writer and activist Leanne Simpson vividly explores the lives of contemporary Indigenous Peoples and communities, especially those of her own Nishnaabeg nation. Found on reserves, in cities and small towns, in bars and curling rinks, canoes and community centres, doctors offices and pickup trucks, Simpson’s characters confront the often heartbreaking challenge of pairing the desire to live loving and observant lives with a constant struggle to simply survive the historical and ongoing injustices of racism and colonialism. Told with voices that are rarely recorded but need to be heard, and incorporating the language and history of her people, Leanne Simpson’s Islands of Decolonial Love is a profound, important, and beautiful book of fiction.

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The Debwe Series: The Gift is in the Making: Anishinaabeg Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

The Gift Is in the Making retells previously published Anishinaabeg stories, bringing to life Anishinaabeg values and teachings to a new generation. Readers are immersed in a world where all genders are respected, the tiniest being has influence in the world, and unconditional love binds families and communities to each other and to their homeland. Sprinkled with gentle humour and the Anishinaabe language, this collection of stories speaks to children and adults alike, and reminds us of the timelessness of stories that touch the heart.

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This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: University/College;

This Accident of Being Lost is the knife-sharp new collection of stories and songs from award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. These visionary pieces build upon Simpson's powerful use of the fragment as a tool for intervention in her critically acclaimed collection Islands of Decolonial Love. Provocateur and poet, she continually rebirths a decolonized reality, one that circles in and out of time and resists dominant narratives or comfortable categorization. A crow watches over a deer addicted to road salt; Lake Ontario floods Toronto to remake the world while texting "ARE THEY GETTING IT?"; lovers visit the last remaining corner of the boreal forest; three comrades guerrilla-tap maples in an upper middle-class neighbourhood; and Kwe gets her firearms license in rural Ontario. Blending elements of Nishnaabeg storytelling, science fiction, contemporary realism, and the lyric voice, This Accident of Being Lost burns with a quiet intensity, like a campfire in your backyard, challenging you to reconsider the world you thought you knew.

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