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Interview with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is an esteemed Indigenous writer, musician, and activist, a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and a member of the Alderville First Nation. Her body of work is the result of a life grounded in relational, land-based practice – fiction, poetry, non-fiction, films, music, speaking and activism, particularly on justice for Indigenous peoples. All of it deeply reflects her identity as Nishnaabeg, with Kwe as gender identifier. Author of seven books, co-editor of three, and creator of two albums of music, Simpson’s artistry is rooted in place and, also, in its resonance with others outside her community engaged in anti-colonial struggle, embracing solidarities from around the world.

 

Simpson’s recent book AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE: INDIGENOUS FREEDOM THROUGH RADICAL RESISTANCE (2017), is an incisive call: not for ‘inclusion’ in a violent nation-state that continues colonial and genocidal actions, but for land-based practices steeped in Indigenous thought and practice. Her new novel NOOPIMING: THE CURE FOR WHITE LADIES (2020) is a work that warmly and humorously animates a vivid set of characters that take a variety of bodily forms – a tree, an old woman, a raccoon, to name a few – with Nishnaabeg relationality. Her writing centres not just the living things colonial nation states have changed beyond recognition, but fundamentally Indigenous ways of being – of understanding, of communicating, of loving, of wit, which in their scope and depth exist vastly beyond the strictures of empire.

 

In an age where whiteness frames impending environmental apocalypse as ‘new’, where whiteness has wrought genocidal devastation that Indigenous peoples have been fighting against for hundreds of years, Simpson’s work has felt deeply resonant. It is truthful in its acknowledgment of the searing pain of structural violence and offers tangible, solid, intergenerational lifelines for survival. Her experience with Indigenous and environmental justice activism over numerous years has, by taking the time it takes to deeply submerge in heritage as way of life, produced wisdom that is accessible and profound. In this conversation we speak on artmaking, language, political resistance, solidarities, hurt, joy and laughter.

 

Q

The White Review

— Your work first came to me at the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) conference in Vancouver. I’ve been so struck by your creations’ range and depth, their urgency and resonance – from song-story to book form.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— Miigwech for those kind words. The spine of my practice is Nishnaabeg life and a love of our land, thought, culture, languages and the Nishnaabeg processes that make up that life. I spend a lot of time on Nishnaabeg and Dene lands. I spend a lot of time thinking, writing and making music. Everything I make comes from the same place.

Q

The White Review

— Is there a rhythm to your work and projects, of when you create one kind of art form or another, or to how you disseminate them?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I’m sure there is, but I’m not so sure I’m aware of what that might be. Publishers are generally in charge of dissemination so I don’t have a lot of control over when and how things come out. I do think I move to creative work when I feel confined in the academy – where perhaps the literature that I would need, to specifically provide evidence for what I’m doing, doesn’t exist. I also move to creative space when I get tired of telling, and I want to show. Performance is an embodied practice and interventions take place in real time and in physical space. There is a relationship to audience. I’m using my voice and my body as part of my intervention into that time and space, and this foregrounds my relationship to the audience.

 

In my book AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE I write about, and provide evidence regarding, for instance, queer normativity in Nishnaabeg contexts. In the short film BIIDAABAN (2018), based on my creative writing, we show queer normativity in a contemporary and urban Nishnaabeg context. This is meant to hold up and affirm queer Indigenous peoples, and to challenge heterosexual and cisgendered audiences to see queer Indigeneity as normal. The only dialogue in the film is mediated through cellphone-like devices and the dominant language of the film is visual. This was obviously an artistic and political choice. Audiences may make assumptions about Biidaaban’s and Sabe’s ability to hear, or speak, or process language, but whether or not these characters can hear or speak, or whether they are neurotypical, is left to the viewer to decide.

Q

The White Review

— I love that. It’s a reminder that where we as indigenous peoples come from isn’t ablenormative, that the normativity has been imposed. And, your move to creative work as a way to go beyond the limitations of academia really resonates with me, too. There is much conversation about artmaking in marginalised communities, and the relationship of it to trauma and joy. Naomi Klein describes your fiction collected in THIS ACCIDENT OF BEING LOST as ‘irresistible love stories in the jaws of genocide’. Could you describe your practice’s relationship to trauma and joy?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— One of the things I love about my community and my family is that we are always laughing. Even in the most trying of circumstances. Humour as a practice is a practice of joy. In my work, I try and remember that.

 

When I’m reading, I don’t particularly enjoy reading about trauma and violence, although I do understand it is necessary to understand the violent systems that make up this world. I find it triggering, and I think that I read or turn to art as a flight path out of colonialism. This isn’t true for everyone – a lot of Indigenous people feel affirmed and less alone while reading other personal stories of trauma and suffering. In my work, I’ve tried to not shy away from truth-telling, but to also tell those truths gently. I think my intervention is to cut through the violence of colonialism and realise different ways of living and being in the world, so to amplify joy, connection, love, gentleness, kindness, not in some utopian way, but because those things are present in our communities alongside the violence and trauma, and those things are part of our collective resistance.

 

I’m also sensitive to the consumption of Indigenous pain by white publishers and white audiences, and also by governments for that matter – it’s something that I find really hard to witness. I try and keep the processing of my own pain and trauma out of my artistic and academic practice as a way of protecting myself and my family. For me, they are off limits. It’s not a performance, it is intimate and private, and it is not up for public debate or critique.

Q

The White Review

— How does what you chose to write about in your earlier fiction compare to what you work on now?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I hope that I have gotten better at the execution of my ideas over the last decade, but I think my values and ethics and practices have remained the same. Of course, the world has changed and as someone who responds to issues and circumstances, my responses have changed. My work is now more creative, and less based in the academy. I have also learned to trust myself, and protect the part of me that creates.

Q

The White Review

— I was about to describe your work as ‘interdisciplinary’ but I had to stop to ask: do you perceive that word as inherently anti-Indigenous? ‘Disciplines’ are colonial categories, and your work, to me, feels like it sits in resistance to neat categories?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— Western academic disciplines and genres don’t really carry any parallel meaning in Indigenous thought systems. A lot of important work is instead generated through the interstitial spaces between genres and disciplines, and to be honest, outside of the academic and art worlds.

Q

The White Review

— What are your thoughts on interpretations of forms of Indigenous resurgence through the use of words like ‘discipline’, ‘genre’, ‘holistic’ and ‘interdisciplinary’? These terms may on the surface seem amenable to Indigenous frameworks, but aren’t necessarily doing that work.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— For me, Indigenous resurgence is an ongoing practice. I care a lot less about terminology and language and how that is performed, and a lot more about how the structures of power operate and how I operate within and against those structures. Of course these two things are related, but sometimes there is an over focus on terminology on the internet, or in the academy, because of the nature of those two things, and less of a focus on structures of power. It is much easier to critique and change terminology and much more difficult to critique and dismantle structures.

Q

The White Review

— Is there a difference to the way colonialism is being fought now, as opposed to how it was fought in the past?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I’m not sure if I see a division between the past and present – I do think colonialism shifts, adapts, and is responsive to conditions and sites of resistance. It has been, and will always be, important to see colonialism, to name it, challenge it, and live Indigenous life in whatever interstitial spaces exist. It can be difficult to see systems of domination in isolation. It can be difficult to generate effective responses, and so the past becomes a tool and a source of knowledge. Living in the present requires both past and the future worlds. We carry these worlds with us.

Q

The White Review

— You’ve made a distinction, in your work, between talking about ‘resurgence’ as opposed to a ‘radical resurgence’. Could you describe what you see as the difference between the two, and how they relate to the current political moment?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— This was a responsive decision in relation to how the word ‘resurgence’ is being taken up in the academy, and to some extent, by the state. For some, the modifier ‘cultural’ softens the term – as in ‘cultural resurgence’ – meaning there are institutions and structures that see Indigenous languages, spiritual practices, and artistic practices as compatible with current nation states and the infrastructure of colonialism, while at the same time, demands for land, autonomy, and political power, are not. In other words, a ‘political resurgence’ is not compatible or palatable in the same way. In other words, resurgence, like everything else, can be co-opted.

 

‘Radical’ as a modifier is a reclamation. It is an unapologetic refusal of colonialism, and a reclamation of the Indigenous life that refuses. It is thinking and practice that gets to the root of domination and violence and builds otherwise. It is a beautiful, embodied practice of love, of my people, land and life.

Q

The White Review

— Your book NOOPIMING is a brilliant interlocking of multiple character narratives, which form a connected whole, of living things going through life grounded in place and Nishnaabeg philosophy. In AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE, you write about how colonialism moves lived experience, ‘to the realm of neoliberalism so that it isn’t so much a way of being in the world but a quaint cultural difference that makes one interesting.’ Struggles for our rights are often dismissed as ‘identity politics’ by people who won’t take the time to do something as simple as, for instance, understand that when you refer to yourself as Kwe, it’s a different gender signifier than ‘woman’.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— To me it is important to live and practice Nishnaabeg ethics and politics in all aspects of my life because those practices impact how I relate to living beings. Collectively, this is how we form a nation (not a nation state). This is what makes me Betasamosake or Kwe. This is my identity. It is identity as practice. The beauty is that whiteness, heteropatriarchy and capitalism can’t take that away from me.

Q

The White Review

— As a disabled woman, online solidarities are really important to me, but come with a whole host of issues. At the end of AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE you explain the relationship between the colonial infrastructure of tech and data extraction, and social media’s emphasis on individualism. You write, ‘I wonder how the Internet, as another structure of control whose primary purpose is to make corporations money, is at all helpful in building movements. I wonder if the simulated worlds of the Internet are simulations that serve to only amplify capitalism, misogyny, transphobia, anti-queerness, and white supremacy and create further dependencies on settler colonialism in the physical world.’ I wonder if you have spoken to younger Indigenous people about this, or to your children. How is the younger generation navigating this?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— We talk about these issues all the time in my house. My partner is hearing-impaired so we’ve always relied on hearing aids and texting for family communication. I can’t speak to how younger people are navigating this, but I think they’re very articulate in how they are doing it. I can say that our family has been enhanced by the use of these technologies – it is how we stay connected to each other in daily life.

 

For myself though, my experience with social media has been overwhelmingly negative and I’m much healthier and happier without being involved, while also recognising that for many comrades of mine, those online connections and solidarities are affirming and meaningful. I think for all of us, it is important to think through our use of technologies – especially the internet and social media – in terms of their structural power logic, because these things are still very new, they are born out of capitalism, and they are controlled by powers and peoples that do not have our best interests in mind. I’m interested in moving away from individual experience to an analysis that is structural, and includes thinking about the collective impact of our social media practices on our communities, organising and movements.

Q

The White Review

— What are your thoughts on how phrases like ‘climate emergency’ and ‘climate crisis’ are increasingly employed around the world, but in ways that at times maintain the status quo? For instance, in my native Indonesia, the state and private sector are enforcing carbon offset projects that dispossess Indigenous people, by paving the way for corporations to buy Indigenous land. There has been an emergency for hundreds of years for so many of us, the climate crisis is not new.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— Yes, many people have experienced continual colonial emergencies, and Indigenous peoples have been articulating, resisting and mobilising against colonial-induced global warming and environmental collapse forever. We will continue this struggle, and in our resistance insist on building new worlds that promote, nurture and sustain more life.

Q

The White Review

— It can be so difficult to avoid the co-optation of movements and terms. What has been your observation on the viability of employing the term ‘solidarity’ in activism without, as you’ve addressed, foregrounding whiteness? In AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE, you write how ‘Indigenous grief can be managed, exploited, and used by the state to placate Indigenous resistance. …] The politics of grief place white Canada in a position of moral authority, a position they have not earned, particularly with regard to Indigenous peoples.’

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I’m not interested in responding to the demands of whiteness. All terms eventually will be white-coopted if they become meaningful, and that can be a distraction. I’m actually more interested in making new worlds, and embodying, practicing, generating and organising grounded solidarities through relational collective struggle with other movements and communities. In other words, I care less about what it is called, and more about doing it. Every time we engage in resistance we learn something, we generate new knowledge, and this, alongside reflection and strategic thinking, seems to me to be more powerful.

Q

The White Review

— In AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE, you describe the Nishnaabeg system of governance as something that is living, breathing and anti-hierarchical. What does it mean to enact this ‘breathing’ governance in Indigenous resurgence?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— The academic literature on resurgence initially was very ‘man on the land’ in how it was employed. In AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE I make the intervention that we must centre a spectrum of genders and sexual orientations in order to build Indigenous worlds. Queer Indigenous writers and activists, particularly those younger than myself, have also been employing and generating these kinds of interventions through their own practice. I like the idea of grounded solidarity, and the Indigenous practice of internationalism, in terms of seeking out co-resistance with other anti-colonial movements and communities.

Q

The White Review

— You’ve written in AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE about Indigenous men being targeted to uphold heteropatriarchy: ‘Hierarchy had to be infiltrated into Indigenous constructions of family so that men were agents of heteropatriarchy and could therefore exert colonial control from within …] The rigidity of the colonial gender binary was a prominent part of policy and practice’. Sadly, I also recognise this in Southeast Asia; resisting hierarchy and patriarchy within movements is difficult. What does one do when encountering an insistence on hierarchy within our own communities, perhaps within programmes based on place-based allegiances, such as land-based programmes on what settlers might know as Canada and the US, but for Indigenous peoples is Turtle Island?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— Resisting hierarchy and patriarchy within movements and communities is difficult and often overwhelming. It is difficult in land-based programmes. It is the struggle. This is where our communities and movements are, and so I believe in working through these issues in a way that both addresses the injustice, and minimises harm to the community. This is not easy or perfect.

 

So I challenge it – not necessarily in the way people want me to, but I challenge it. I have resisted participating in online call-out culture, for instance, and so sometimes an assumption then gets made that because I’m not performing online, I’m not challenging injustice. I entered the academy in 1989, and since then, every year, I have confronted patriarchy, homophobia and racism, despite not having the protection of a union, legal representation, or a full-time job, despite a personal cost to myself and my family. This has meant having difficult offline conversations with colleagues, friends and university administrations. It has also manifested in the refusal of employment; doing a large amount of unpaid emotional and intellectual support for Indigenous students; taking over the supervision of graduate students, and the instruction of classes as professors have been removed from teaching duties; and doing a lot of upfront work in classes and programmes I’m a part of to undo the work of oppression, and setting up systems where we can address these issues without disposing of people.

Q

The White Review

— You’ve described your written work as not being beholden to traditionally academic, masculine, cisheteronormative, white supremacist conventions of citations and academic writing. What was your journey to rejecting these conventions?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I completed my PhD at a time when there was very little Indigenous presence in the academy. It was therefore crucial to base my work in community and with Indigenous thinkers who were categorically not present at universities. In the 1990s, there was very little space for Indigenous thinking in the academy, and it was never a goal of mine to be an academic or a professor. I wanted to learn to think within Nishnaabeg thought processes, and for that I needed to spend a lot of time with Elders, Knowledge Holders and practitioners of the land. I moved back to my own territory, I quit a tenure track position, and have worked outside of the academy for the last 15 years. I think my body of work was generated and exists because of those decisions.

Q

The White Review

— They’re beautiful decisions. It’s not always easy to act in the direction your spirit and bodily intuition move you to. You’ve described, in AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE, needing to withdraw ‘our considerable collective efforts to “Indigenise the academy” in favour of a resurgence of Indigenous intellectual systems’ – refuting the need academia has to reify and validate Indigenous knowledge according to its own metrics, which ultimately reinforces settler colonialism: this pressures young people into colonial educations and away from land-based movements towards Indigenous liberation.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I often wonder what would happen if Indigenous peoples were to withdraw their participation in the university and build our own systems of education outside of the bounds of the western academy, that meet the needs of our communities and nations. I wonder what we would have today if we had done that 20 years ago.

 

To my Indigenous colleagues working within the university system, I’d ask what our collective vision is – what are we trying to achieve? What are our goals? How are we organising to influence the academy? The vast majority of Indigenous professors are working so very hard to support Indigenous students, to develop and teach relevant curriculum, and to influence policy. There isn’t much emotional capital or labour left over to organise collectively as well, but I do wonder if that would be a more effective strategy for advancing our agendas.

 

Land-based programmes challenge colonial foundations at their core, and so, while universities on the surface might appear to support field schools or programmes that are land-based, they still insist on using colonial forms of evaluation, and privilege western forms of knowing over Indigenous Knowledge. While we might all be out in the bush, learning in a hands-on way from Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Holders, at the end of the day, we are still required to submit marks, evaluate student’s learning in a systemic and standard way, to have the same number of contact hours, and to have a required number of written assignments and so on. To have the metrics, rigour and evaluative characteristics of one system applied to another system – especially an Indigenous Knowledge system that generates, shares and interacts with knowledge in a fundamentally different way, and is continually undermined by colonialism – is a problem. Land-based education that takes place without the confines of western institutions is often the most powerful, generative and useful in providing learners with the skills needed to live in community. But this kind of education is difficult to fund, and occurs without accreditation or recognition from the state.

Q

The White Review

— I am moved by your different assertions of alternatives to coloniality, your work is able to bolster other possibilities. In AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE you write, ‘Raising Indigenous children in a context where their consent, physical and intellectual, is not just required but valued goes a long way to undoing the replication of colonial gender violence.’ With the stories in NOOPIMING I am thrilled by how you weave the inherent interconnectedness of human, animal and plant life, where their relationality doesn’t need to be stated out loud, but breathes through the characters with humour and grace.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— Indigenous peoples, our knowledge systems and the theories we generate are particularly ethical, rigorous and complex. This holds true in the face of a near-constant diminishing of those same ethics, rigour and complexity elsewhere. To become knowledgeable within these systems takes decades of dedicated and careful practice and living, it is not something that one can gain access to by attending a class, completing a graduate degree, reading books or just engaging with it in a strictly intellectual way. For land-based cultures, there are very real consequences of sloppy, hurried, careless work. Think about the building of a canoe, and all of the technological, ceremonial, spiritual, scientific, theoretical and relational knowledge that goes into that task. If you don’t strive for excellence, your canoe is not going to work, and when potentially your life and your family’s well-being depends upon that canoe, the consequences of careless work are profound. Then there is also the reality that these systems are simultaneously very old and brand new – so there is a collective historic and contemporary consideration of knowledge. Indigenous Knowledge systems are deeply relational.

Q

The White Review

— I admire how you maintained that Anishinaabemowin words weren’t going to be translated into English in your song and story collection THIS ACCIDENT OF BEING LOST, whereas there were English translations in your previous work. It begs the question, what have you come to learn about translation?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— Miigwech. This happened after long discussions with the editors. Earlier in my career, I refused to italicise Anishinaabemowin, as convention would dictate, to normalise the use of my language in my writing. That was the first step. The next step was to refuse in-text translations so readers unfamiliar with Anishinaabemowin would have to search out footnotes or endnotes to find literal translations, privileging the reading experience of Anishinaabeg. There are some implicit assumptions. The book is written first and foremost of Anishinaabeg, and thus, there is no need to translate. The majority of the words are rudimentary, so one needs only the most basic knowledge to gain meaning. There are no italics or translations that disrupt the audience’s experience or signal that the work is for white audiences.

 

There is also a wonderful online dictionary, the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, where readers willing to do the work can search out all the words and learn for themselves. I think the decision signals that this is a layered work, and that full meaning requires a literacy in the artistic practices from which this work comes. Anishinaabeg articulate in our stories, and the cultural meanings of language, will gain full meaning. Readers with rudimentary Anishinaabemowin, or access to the dictionary, will experience an adequate level of meaning. Readers who just skip over the words will still understand the narrative, but will miss a deeper experience.

Q

The White Review

— I would love to hear you speak about your new book, NOOPIMING: THE CURE FOR WHITE LADIES. What moved you to write it, and how did it find its final form? I was enchanted by its structure, by the web of relationality between the various dwellers of Nishnaabeg spirituality and land – elder men and women, young Nishnaabeg, trees, birds, even raccoons are purposeful and grounded in a processes of living that defies settler colonialism.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— Miigwech. I wanted to write a longer work. I wanted to explore world building in the present, to animate Nishnaabe consciousness, and have deep relationality as a setting. The characters in the book are young, old, human and non-human, and they live in urban and bush settings. They use they/them pronouns. There is a lot of satire and humour in the book. There are a lot of layered meanings in the book. Time and space function differently. The book is a different reading experience, which was of course deliberate.

It’s a challenging book. It wasn’t written for commercial success. It requires a deeper engagement on the part of the reader. It was written to do different work in the world. I’m interested to see what will come in its wake.

Q

The White Review

— How does your fiction relate to your academic work, and vice versa?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— In NOOPIMING, I take many of the concepts that are present in AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE and build a world with them. In some ways, this is a centering of the worlds Nishnaabeg are already building in the present time. In academic work, you tell the reader what you show and build in the creative work. Both require different tools and different interventions. The themes of both books are the same – refusal, deep reciprocity, relationality as cosmology, rejection of the gender binary, and a centering of Nishnaabeg aesthetics and intellectual practices.

Q

The White Review

— I loved the music video work for ‘How To Steal A Canoe’, in which a Kwe character is in dialogue with stolen canoes in a warehouse. The dreamlike stop-motion animation is textured and visceral – from the protagonist’s skin to the ‘dehydrated rage’ of the tree bark, as the lyrics go. How she prays to those old ones by ‘dipping her fingers into a plastic bottle of water, and rubbing the drops on the spine of each canoe’ and teaches the security guard ‘to smudge the canoe bodies’ – it’s magical. I am always in tears when I hear ‘Kwe sings the song, and she sings back’, ‘she’ being the canoe.

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I really like working with Métis filmmaker Amanda Strong. ‘How to Steal A Canoe’ was our first animation collaboration. It was a very labour intensive world building practice, but I like how easy it was to layer different meanings into the film. We’ve gone on to create the short film BIIDAABAN based on three of my stories together, and another video for the song ‘Break Up’ from my new record THEORY OF ICE. We are also working on a feature length film for NOOPIMING.

Q

The White Review

— With all that has happened in our recent past, how have you and your communities experienced Nishnaabeg resurgence and resistance, especially in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic – with all its attendant injustices and settler ‘innocence’? Have you come across unexpected lessons from this time?

A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— At the beginning of the pandemic, Robyn Maynard, author of POLICING BLACK LIVES: STATE VIOLENCE IN CANADA FROM SLAVERY TO THE PRESENT (2017), engaged in a Black feminist methodology of letter writing to make sense of the pandemic, its impact on Black and Indigenous communities, and to chronicle the summer of Black Lives Matter revolt in Canada and beyond. This practice became so important to both of us during the stay at home orders. Over time, the project grew and it is now a book project called REHEARSALS FOR LIVING: CONVERSATIONS ON ABOLITION AND ANTI-COLONIALISM, forthcoming from Knopf Canada.

Q

The White Review

— The Dechinta Centre for Education and Learning, where you currently teach, sounds wonderful as a land-based educational establishment. Do you feel differently about teaching at this institution as opposed to other kinds of universities?
A

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

— I think I understand Dechinta not so much as an institution but a collective or a formation. We centre land and local Indigenous Knowledge and Knowledge Holders in our programming. Our programme is grown from relationships with community, and is designed to meet those needs. Sometimes this is state-accredited and sometimes not, but either way, it always looks and feels different than what is being done in southern institutions. The Dene already have their own knowledge system, Knowledge Holders and ways of recognising someone’s wisdom and skills, and so I don’t think we need to legitimise that, it is already legitimate.

 

 

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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

LEANNE BETASAMOSAKE SIMPSON is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer, musician and member of Alderville First Nation. She is the author of seven previous books, including the newly released, A Short History of the Blockade, and the novel Noopiming.  Leanne has released four albums including f(l)ight and Noopiming Sessions, and her new work, the Polaris short-listed, Theory of Ice. Her latest book, co-authored with Robyn Maynard and entitled Rehearsals for Living is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in June 2022.

KHAIRANI BAROKKA is a Minang-Javanese writer and artist from Jakarta, now based in London, whose work is presented widely internationally. Among Okka’s honours, she has been Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Writer-in-Residence and Associate Artist at the UK’s National Centre for Writing. Centering disability justice as anticolonial praxis, her works includes her most recent book Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches), shortlisted for the Barbellion Prize.

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