Award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson returns with a bold reimagination of the novel, one that combines narrative and poetic fragments through a careful and fierce 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.
About the author
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. Leanne's books are regularly used in courses across Canada and the United States including Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, The Gift Is in the Making, Lighting the Eighth Fire (editor), This Is An Honour Song (editor with Kiera Ladner) and The Winter We Danced: Voice from the Past, the Future and the Idle No More Movement (Kino-nda-niimi editorial collective). Her paper "Land As Pedagogy" was awarded the Most thought-provoking 2014 article in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Her latest book, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance is being published by the University of Minnesota Press in the fall of 2017. As a writer, Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King. She has published extensive fiction and poetry in both book and magazine form. Her second book of short stories and poetry, This Accident of Being Lost is a follow up to the acclaimed Islands of Decolonial Love and was published by the House of Anansi Press in Spring 2017. Leanne is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and a member of Alderville First Nation.
- Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction
- Short-listed, ReLit Award for Novel
Other titles by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
A Short History of the Blockade
Giant Beavers, Diplomacy, and Regeneration in Nishnaabewin
Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg
This is our Territory
Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters
Writers on Writing in Canada
This Accident of Being Lost
Songs and Stories
The Gift Is in the Making
Dancing On Our Turtle's Back
Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence