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Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Wayfinding with Beavers: Generating Theory Together
Native American Heritage Month Keynote Address
Thursday, November 18, 7:30 PM
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Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics, story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light and sovereign creativity. Working for two decades as an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Leanne has lectured and taught extensively at universities across Canada and the United States and has twenty years experience with Indigenous land based education. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and teaches at the Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning in Denendeh.

Leanne is the author of seven books, including her new novel, Noopiming (Minnesota University Press, 2021), which was named a best book of the year by the Globe and Mail. This Accident of Being Lost,  won the MacEwan University Book of the Year; was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium Book Award; was long listed for CBC Canada Reads; and was named a best book of the year by the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Quill & Quire.  As We Have Always Done:  Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance was awarded Best Subsequent Book by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.  A Short History of the Blockade: Giant Beavers, Diplomacy and Regeneration in Nishnaabewin was published by University of Alberta Press in February 2021, and her new project a collaboration with Robyn Maynard, Rehearsals for Living is forthcoming from Knopf Canada in 2022. Leanne’s new critically acclaimed and Polaris Prize short-listed album, Theory of Ice, was released by You’ve Changed Records in March 2021.

In this presentation, award-winning writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson uses Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg stories, storytelling aesthetics, and practices to explore the generative nature of Indigenous blockades through our relative, the beaver—or in Nishnaabemowin, Amik. Moving through genres, shifting through time, amikwag stories become a lens for the life-giving possibilities of dams and the world-building possibilities of blockades, deepening our understanding of Indigenous resistance as both a negation and an affirmation.

Sponsored by the Department of Language & Cultural Studies, Anthropology and Sociology, the Office of Diversity, the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Honors Program

Published on November 18, 2021

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