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Dancing on Our Turtle's Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence
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Dancing on Our Turtle's Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  447 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Many promote Reconciliation as a "new" way for Canada to relate to Indigenous Peoples. In Dancing on Our Turtle's Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence activist, editor, and educator Leanne Simpson asserts reconciliation must be grounded in political resurgence and must support the regeneration of Indigenous languages, oral cultures, and ...more
Paperback, 164 pages
Published April 15th 2011 by Arbeiter Ring
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Leah Horlick
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A must-read for anyone (but especially activists) seeking to decolonize their movements; reminded me very much of the work being done on emergent strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown and the Octavia's Brood collective. Simpson's writing is so beautiful and clear while being layered and complex. Really wonderful writing by Saskatoon folks quoted in here too! ...more
Lisa Faye
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This books is so, so good. It is hopeful and encouraging and a real education. I came away with some real solid ideas around actions that I can take in my life to nurture resurgence - in my family, in my community, and in myself. I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in understanding Canadian history, understanding the real effects of colonization in present day Canada, and committed to playing a role in decolonizing and resurgence.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: decolonisation
Dancing on our Turtle's Back is a beautifully, clearly written, personal, insightful, and enlightening work that addresses Anishinaabe resurgence and decolonization, through returning to the life ways of Simpson's ancestors. The book is written for and to Nishnaabeg people and should be read respectfully as such, but it is also a way for non-Indigenous people to understand how to decolonize our daily lives and our movements in harmony with such a resurgence. I look forward to reading this book a ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just reread this and heavily annotated it many years after first reading it. It's still got lots in it that I think is worth thinking deeply about. Basically, it's an exploration of "resurgence and resistance" through the lens of Nishnaabe thought, which Simpson offers up as an example of how other Indigenous communities might make similar explorations.

She starts with the creation story and how it works as a framework through which Nishnaabe people can enact creations of our own. Then she goes
Jenn (Jenn’s Bookshelf)
Quick read, one that felt intriguing and intuitive however did go over my head in places. I also felt disconnected from the book because it really wasn’t written for someone like me. As the end chapter says, “it is a call for Indigenous Peoples to delve into their own cultures stories, philosophies, theories and concepts to align themselves with the processes and forces of regeneration, revitalization, remembering, and visioning.” Other than that, it is Informed and informative, which is always ...more
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Read it while doing my master's. Really helped me visualize possibilities for educational decolonization both in terms of my own studies and the school system. ...more
May 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Somehow gentle and tough as hell at the same time. One of those books you can feel opening up your brain while you’re reading it, you know? Lots to chew on in here, but I’m especially enamoured with the reading of breastfeeding as a form of treaty-making and treaty-upholding, and the ramifications of this idea of treaty-making when applied on a broader scale — the ideas of care and balance that inform it, and so rarely inform our politics. This book should be required reading for any politician ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book makes a great case for an integrated resurgence of Indigenous cultures in North America as part of a strategy both of decolonization and of cultural, political, and social reconstruction. One of Simpson's major arguments is that resurgence must be localized, locally-grounded, and rooted in networks of relationships (both human and with non-human animals, plants, environments, etc.). She uses specific Nishnaabeg stories, wisdom, and insights to ground her own argument, and to begin mode ...more
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I saw a video review on this book a few days ago, and decided to read it. Although I don't anything really about the Indigenous Peoples of Canada or their struggles with past and current colonialism, I found this book to be fascinating. ...more
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
there’s a lot of interesting stuff in here — much of which isn’t particularly applicable for me specifically or my work, not being Anishinaabe, but some of which definitely is, or at least is a pointer in directions that I think will be productive.

that said, it’s poorly edited even for an academic book, which put a bit of a damper on my enjoyment of it sometimes.
Aug 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written and powerful book that everyone should read. Not only is there clear messaging on decolonization and revitalizing Indigenous traditions on Turtle Island, but there is also a call for settlers to seriously engage with Indigenous perspectives to create shared ways of living and co-existing (along with decentering settler perspectives). This book does make me wonder about my own cultural heritage and what it could mean to engage that with Indigenous thought while shedd ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, bookclub
Not gona lie, I really struggled to get through this book, partly because it was a pretty heavy academic text to read before bed, but more so because it was not written for me - a white woman. This book about Indigenous resurgence was written by a native woman for native people, and that takes some getting used to when you've grown accustomed to being spoon-fed whitewashed literature. Loved the concepts of Indigenous parenting as a form of decolonization and transformative justice within First N ...more
lire au féminin
a beautiful collections of stories/essays. to be read, over and over again.
A profound and compelling treatise. Excellent suggestions for living from a new/old perspective: “…our goals have been consistent throughout history: to restore balance, justice and good health to our lands and our peoples and to have good relations with settler governments and peoples based on respect for our sovereignty, independence and jurisdiction over our territories.”
“…Creating was the base of our culture. Creating was regenerative and ensured more diversity, more innovation and more life
An interesting view of how we should tackle Indigenous/non-Indigenous issues in Canadian society, promoting resurgence and regeneration of Indigenous communities as opposed to immediately going to reconciliation.
Emily Kimball
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I needed this book. Leanne Simpson's beautiful mixture of academic theory with personal stories, and the honoring of other people's experiences as well, made the content and delivery incredibly holistic. ...more
Jacob Wren
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
easily the most important thing i've read in years. so grateful to have access to a basic introduction to teachings & knowledge indigenous to the land i live on & near. ...more
Raquel Kay-Doubleyou
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I took my time with this one, I wanted to fully enjoy and understand it. It’s great. Really, really great.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indigenous, to-buy
I would need to read this book again to fully absorb it. There were a lot of ideas and information packed into this small volume.

Simpson isn’t interested in reconciliation. She isn’t interested so much in holding the government to account either although she recognizes the work of other indigenous people who are doing this. She is interested in a Nishaabeg resurgence movement, in re-claiming Nishaabeg language traditions and philosophy. It is only through these that sovereignty would be possib
Brenda D
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Small book, packed full of insights - particularly on resurgence of Indigenous Peoples!

The author references Haudenosaunee legal scholar Patricia Monture (another author I will have to look up) in making the argument that "self-determination and sovereignty begin at home. It begins with how we treat ourselves and our family members - how we make decision that honour the voices of all of our family members ... how we relate to human and non-human entities in a manner that embodies respect, respo
Ann Douglas
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully thought-provoking book. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is both a deeply creative thinker and a highly evocative writer. I deeply appreciate how much of herself she brings to this book -- and how the book is enriched immeasurably as a result.

Consider, as an example, this passage in which she draws parallels between the reciprocity of breastfeeding and how treaties between sovereign nations should work: "Nursing is ultimately about a relationship. Treaties are ultimately about a relati
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Read this for class. A pretty enlightening read for someone who doesn't know much about current Indigenous affairs in Canada. I agreed with some if not all of the points that Simpson made. On the whole it was well-written and did a fair job of not making the text too inaccessible. Unfortunately, that didn't stop me from being bored the whole time I was reading it. ;-; sorry freya my dude ...more
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent on so many levels.
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great stuff and very inspiring!
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
this is an amazing book! pairs very well with adrienne maree brown's Emergent Strategy. highly recommend; we need more indigenous voices in political theory. ...more
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I can’t count the number of times I found tears streaming down my face while reading this book. This is some deeply moving and empowering writing, grounded in and informed by Indigenous language.
ianridewood is on Storygraph
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The act of visioning for Nishnaabeg people is a powerful act of resurgence, because these visions create Shki-kiin, new worlds. Neal McLeod writes, 'We just attempt to dream and have visions. Without dreams and idealism, we will truly be a conquered people.'"
A theory book unlike any other I've ever read. It's truly essential for imagining otherwise on Turtle Island.
Emma Tillman
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read for class.
Laurie Siblock
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a non Indigenous person who woke up to the realities of colonialism in 2014 when I attended a Reconciliation Event in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, a fly-in only Northern First Nation reserve. For one week I lived with an Oji-Cree family and participated in community activities to learn about their lives - "both the good and the bad". It was a shock to my system to discover that there was a vast history of colonization that I was ignorant of. Since that trip, I have worked hard to re-educate ...more
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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 sc

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