Leanne Simpson is a writer and academic of Mississauga Nishnaabeg ancestry with a PhD from the University of Manitoba. She is the editor of Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence & Protection of Indigenous Nations and This is an Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Blockades (with Kiera Ladner). Leanne is the author of Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence (Arbeiter Ring) and The Gift Is in the Making, a re-telling of traditional stories, forthcoming Spring 2013 (Debwe Series, Highwater Press). Her first collection of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Loveis forthcoming from Arbeiter Ring Fall 2013. www.leannesimpson.ca
To me, Ferguson is a call not only to indict the system but to decolonize the systems that create and maintain the forces of Indigenous genocide and anti-blackness. I have a responsibility to make space on my land for those communities of struggles, to centre and amplify black voices and to co-resist. We both come from vibrant, proud histories of mobilization and protest, and it is the sacrifices of our elders and our ancestors that ensured that our communities of struggle continue to exist today. They believed in their hearts that there is no justice and no peace until we are all free, and so must we.
The kind of stories I learned in Mi'gmagi will never make it into the mainstream media, and most Canadians will never hear them. Instead, Canadians will hear recycled propaganda as the mainstream media blindly goes about repeating the press releases sent to them by the RCMP designed to portray Mi'kmaw protestors as violent and unruly, in order to justify their own colonial violence. So we are faced with a choice. We can continue to show the photos of the three hunting rifles and the burnt out cop cars on every mainstream media outlet ad nauseam and paint the Mi'kmaq with every racist stereotype we know, or we can dig deeper.
10/22/2013 08:40 EDT
Aboriginal children are the face of a homegrown, attempted genocide. And tehy are still starving -- many living in poverty without the basic necessities of life, because land and resources continue to be stolen from their territories, with just as many starving for meaning, their culture, their language and their land. The children of those that survived the nutritional experiments, torture, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, and the assimilative and genocidal policies of Canada still live with the consequences and the trauma. Every day. There are more Native children in the child welfare system than were in the residential school system at its height because of the cycles of violence and trauma they inflicted on our families.
07/24/2013 12:27 EDT
I know intimately the importance of standing in one's territory, freely practicing our ceremonies at our sacred places, harvesting our foods, and telling our children their stories of creation in the exact spot creation happened and is happening. I know that living as Anishinaabe is one of the most important things we can do, on reserve, off reserve, in the middle of the bush or in the middle of the city. So I know that the reclamation of PKOLS is an extraordinarily important act for the SȾÁUTW, Songhees and the WSÁNEĆ because it physically connects them to a powerful place, alive with story, and breathing with history.
05/23/2013 11:42 EDT
Fish broth has been cast by the mainstream media as "the cheat." Upon learning Chief Spence was drinking tea and fish broth coverage shifted from framing her action as a "hunger strike" to a "liquid diet", as if 32 days without food is easy. Of course this characterization comes from a place of enormous unchecked privilege and a position of wealth. It comes from not having to fight for one's physical survival because of the weight of crushing poverty. It comes from always having other options. This is not where indigenous peoples come from.
01/20/2013 11:04 EST
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