Video: Leanne Betasamosake Simpson | An online reading of Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies | Prairie Art Book Fair 2020
On September 12, 2020 at 5pm Plug In ICA presented an online reading by acclaimed Nishnaabeg storyteller, writer, and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson as part of the 2020 Prairie Art Book Fair. Simpson presented an online reading from Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, a novel that combines narrative and poetic fragments in a reclamation of Anishinaabe aesthetics.
Mashkawaji (they/them) lies frozen in the ice, remembering a long-ago time of hopeless connection and now finding freedom and solace in isolated suspension. They introduce us to the seven main characters: Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator’s will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman who represents their conscience; Sabe, the giant who represents their marrow; Adik, the caribou who represents their nervous system; Asin, the human who represents their eyes and ears; and Lucy, the human who represents their brain. Each attempts to commune with the unnatural urban-settler world, a world of SpongeBob Band-Aids, Ziploc baggies, Fjällräven Kånken backpacks, and coffee mugs emblazoned with institutional logos. And each searches out the natural world, only to discover those pockets that still exist are owned, contained, counted, and consumed. Cut off from nature, the characters are cut off from their natural selves.
Noopiming is Anishinaabemowin for “in the bush,” and the title is a response to English Canadian settler and author Susanna Moodie’s 1852 memoir Roughing It in the Bush. To read Simpson’s work is an act of decolonization, degentrification, and willful resistance to the perpetuation and dissemination of centuries-old colonial myth-making. It is a lived experience. It is a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits, who are all busy with the daily labours of healing — healing not only themselves, but their individual pieces of the network, of the web that connects them all together. Enter and be changed.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, scholar, and musician, and a member of Alderville First Nation. She is the author of five books; This Accident of Being Lost (MacEwan Book of the Year, Peterborough Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Indigenous Author, finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium Book Award, longlisted for CBC Canada Reads, a best book of the year by the Globe & Mail, National Post, and Quill & Quire,) As We Have Always Done, Islands of Decolonial Love, The Gift Is In The Making, and Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back. She has released two albums, including f(l)ight, which is a companion piece to This Accident of Being Lost.
Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
978-1-4870-0764-5, trade paperback, $22.95, 368pp
Click here to buy Noopiming from House of Anansi Press
You can listen to the Noopiming Sessions here: https://leannesimpson.bandcamp.com/