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As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance
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As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Across North America, Indigenous acts of resistance have in recent years opposed the removal of federal protections for forests and waterways in Indigenous lands, halted the expansion of tar sands extraction and the pipeline construction at Standing Rock, and demanded justice for murdered and missing Indigenous women. In As We Have Always Done, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by University of Minnesota Press
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Annie MacKillican
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indigenous-reads
This was a joy to read. I loved reading about Simpson’s experience of resurgence on land that I will occupy shortly; it taught me how to be respectful and to pursue resurgence and resistance on Michi Saagig territory particularly. I also loved seeing the name of the late Alex McKay pop up; a great professor deserved a spot in this great book.

This made me glad I get to read more of Simpson’s work for school this upcoming year.
Jacob Wren
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson writes:

Kinetics, the act of doing, isn’t just praxis; it also generates and animates theory within Indigenous contexts, and it is the crucial intellectual mode for generating knowledge. Theory and praxis, story and practice are interdependent, cogenerators of knowledge. Practices are politics. Processes are governance. Doing produces more knowledge. The idea is repeated over and over again in Nishnaabeg story and for me ultimately come from the Seven Fires creation st
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At first I struggled to get into it but after a while it became easier, as if I were entering into another person's stream of consciousness moving from thought to thought. It was a experience into a world I had little knowledge of. One might call the first few section a little top heavy in terms though but looking back personally I found them to be an important primer to follow the discussion that comprises the rest of the book.

Society gives many of us undeserved and wrongly privileged position
Camille McCarthy
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really well-grounded book about Indigenous freedom and what the author calls "radical resurgence." I appreciated that it is written by and for Indigenous people and takes the path of resistance through refusal, building strong relationships, and looking inward rather than toward acceptance from the occupying Canadian state. Simpson is respectfully critical of other methods of resistance and I especially resonated with her criticism of social media movements and their weaknesses. It w ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My first Leanne Simpson work. A dense but compelling read. Her arguments are well-presented if sometimes verbose.
I saw Simpson speak back in the spring, after having already been introduced to her through this book. She is a marvellous speaker and a fascinating academic. I will continue to explore her work for more insight into Indigenous resistance and resurgence.
Joy Messinger
[5 stars] Writing on Indigenous culture, organizing, and political theory and practice from a historical and contemporary Nishnaabeg perspective. I learned a lot, especially around land- and place-based praxis and analysis and Canada’s treatment of Indigenous communities and people. It was a longer read with some doubling back, both because of new language and concepts and because abstract theory can sometimes be challenging for me, but worth the added time and effort. I enjoyed reading Simpson’ ...more
Ryan G-M
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! A pathway to liberation! By far the best book I’ve read this year. Instead of seeking success, recognition, or reform for oppressed peoples, this book demands freedom (the abolition of colonialism, capitalism, heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, etc.) and says we must reach out and grab it for ourselves, without letting any neoliberal politics of legality, recognition, or grief defang our imaginations.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and important theoretical framework for decolonization.

Simpson centers Indigenous feminist and queer thought with land-based methodologies, laws and knowledge systems to propose radical resurgence as a grounding normative framework for Indigenous mobilization. Her writing is compelling and persuasive, and inspiring in the vision it presents of a resistance that has the courage to operate within a worldview and knowledge system seen as alternative to the dominant paradigm — a return to
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
An amazing look into Indigenous resurgence and resistance. Very illuminating for Western postcolonial scholars in the ways it decenters settler-colonizer action in the process of decolonization (this should be obvious, but believe me, it is not).
I felt particularly inspired by her notions of grounding and relationality.
Mary McDonough
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rifkin
This book is incredible. Everyone should read it.
Theo James
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a non-Indigenous person living in Ontario, Canada I read this book as part of a broader effort to better understand the true history of colonialism and to learn more about the experiences of Indigenous people; as such, I don’t really feel that I am in any position to provide a critique of this book. However, I enjoyed it immensely and learned a great deal from it and I wanted to capture some of what I learned here for future reflection.

In terms of history, this book is a must read for all Ca
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved the in-depth theoretical nature of this book. I was surprised, and not because it is writen by an Indigenous Female, but because I think the blurb doesn't stress the smartness of the book at all. And while readers like myself may be excited by the intellectual sharpness and rigor, others may be turned off and find it not grounded enough in Western/White People-relational theoy and praxis. I wrote down more in the first half of the book than the latter half, as I found the fist ...more
Big Al
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While this is an excellent overview of the Radical Resurgence Project, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson taught me so much about life in general throughout this generous, creative, and inspirational book. She turns scholarship on its head in the best way possible!
Sherri Anderson
I thought there was good information in parts of the book. I also thought there was a lot of redundancy. I am not sure I agree with everything she states but I don't have the same history as the writer. ...more
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful book, essential reading for anyone living on this land we call Canada, North America. Leanne Betasamosake wrote this book for Indigenous people, a bringing in to Nishnaabeg thought, to the possibility and the urgency of Indigenous resurgence. It is from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, in this book and others, that I have learned much of what I know about Indigenous (especially Nishnaabeg) thought.

As We Have Always Done reflects the power of its name - the ways of relating to eac
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the things that makes this a really impressive argument is how clear Simpson makes it that settler colonial dispossession is a comprehensive system. She details how Indigenous peoples (at least many of those in North America, like Simpson's own Nishnaabeg nation) traditionally derive their sense of ethics, community, and self from relationships--with the land, with animals and plants, with other nations, with other individuals, etc.--and how by dispossessing Indigenous North Americans of ...more
Magdalena Milosz
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"As We Have Always Done" is a stellar read into Indigenous resurgences in the present and recent past to which we should all pay attention, non-Indigenous folks included. Although, as I mentioned in the book club I'm part of, I sometimes felt that this book was not for me, in the sense that I do not constitute its main intended audience, I also feel this self-induced othering creates a healthy space of learning. Simpson is here laying out theories grounded in Indigenous intelligences and materia ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most resonating works I've ever read, forging resistance against the entwined forces of colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, with a radical resurgence centred on living relationships with the land; engaging with stories; constellating with communities that do not replicate anti-Blackness, transphobia, anti-queerness; embracing the foundational Nishnaabeg ethics of consent, noninterference, respect for self-determination, and diversity.

"Heteropatriarchy i
Arielle W
Powerful book. I want everyone to read this.

The approach to the book is centered around indigenous learning - she provides a first person account that provides a history and source for where she encountered the ideas in the book, and recognizes that her thoughts will vary from others. In this way, the book is easy to read - much more like a conversation than a formal western academic work. A lot of the concepts were familiar, but some were new to me. She talks about allowing ideas to change, an
Karen Kohoutek
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For the white people's resistance reading list: once you've read a solid book about the real history of settler colonialism, centering Indigenous people, you're going to want to read a solid book about Indigenous resistance and strength. This is a great look at resistance movements and ideas, alliance-building across nations, and the importance of full-on autonomy (as opposed to looking for help from the white majority). It's grounded in history, including re-tellings of traditional stories, whi ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me on the subject of climate change, but I was also interested in its core discussion of "indigenous alternatives to the destructive logics of the settler colonial state, including heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation."

I'm using quotes from the book jacket here rather than my own thoughts out of respect for the fact that I am not the intended audience of the book, and I would rather it speak for itself about what it is about.

One of the thin
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good book. I read it for my Humanities course on Women in American Arts and Culture. Not being Canadian myself, it gave me an entirely new perspective on Canada and what it looks like to be indigenous in Canada. It was a very eye opening book.

The reason I give it three stars is that at times it was difficult to get into and I often felt like many parts of each chapter were repetitive. I understand the necessity behind repeating how important resurgence is but as someone readin
Leigh Anne
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not like that, like this

Simpson affirms her own, and her people's, right to sovereignty within the context of what she calls "grounded normativity". As the title tells the reader right up front, this is not anything new or eye-popping, unless you don't have or respect that perspective in the first place: Indigenous people exist, she says. This is how this particular group exists, these are the constraints we suffer, these are the things that have hurt us, this is how we survive, this is how we r
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite works of scholarship, and its strengths and thematics alike remind me of Christina Sharpe's In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Simpson's focus on inserting herself through the I-form and storytelling opens up the passion undergirding her scholarship and acts as a method of community-building with the way she invites the reader into a shared-worldview. The book is humble in its explaining and working out at least one indigenous worldview+practice and I hope to fit its ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
eye-opening take on what the subtitle suggests. As a non-Canadian, I didn't understand all the references to specific laws or historical events, but unfortunately our own (USA) history of exploitation of Native people is sufficiently similar that I understood the gist.

Main drawback for me is VERY high level of abstraction. I really appreciated the occasional dip into a concrete incident or person or allusion to her teaching job, or just anything i could sink my teeth into and kind of know what h
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When you engage with this text you will find a partially and necessarily opaque process of assembling a world where the past and future speak to an Indigenous present. I read one chapter from it for my dissertation, and I returned to read the entire text this spring. I am so happy I did. This is a gift to the world. Though it does not depend on your care, you will gain more from it if you handle it with reverence and openness. She tells many of the stories she employs in this book in Dancing On ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So many things to think about, so much to absorb and so many quotes to share from this book.

“We need to be willing to take on white supremacy, gender violence, heteropatriarchy, and anti-Blackness within our movement. We need to be willing to develop personal relationships with other communities of coresistors beyond white allies. We need to develop these as place-based constellations of theory and practice because when we put our energy into building constellations of coresistance within ground
Nom Chompsky
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The only theory-genre nuisance of this book is the necessary steps Simpson has to take to refuse critiques about her writing being “soft theory,” otherwise this is an incredible ‘conceptual window’ into a lot of really great thinking and practice. My favourite chapters touch on Kwe and Indigenous Queer Normativity (where anti-queerness=auto-genecide), but the entire book builds on Nishnaabeg Brilliance / Grounded Normativity in a really great clear way. I picked this up to present a seminar on a ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you Goodreads! Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a highly educated scholar so it was a little tough to read through and understand her teachings in this book about Indigenous Peoples' rights but it was well worth the perseverance, a good read. ...more
Ruby Stacey
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Will definitely be revisiting this! Our "Flight paths out of colonialism" must come from within Indigenous thought and ways of being. For “… settler colonialism will always define the issues with a solution that reentrenches its own power.” ...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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  If you listen to NPR regularly, you’ve likely heard the voice of Shankar Vedantam, the longtime science correspondent and host of the radio...
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“… settler colonialism will always define the issues with a solution that reentrenches its own power.” 4 likes
“Recognition for us is about presence, about profound listening, and about recognizing and affirming the light in each other as a mechanism for nurturing and strengthening internal relationships to our Nishnaabeg worlds. It is a core part of our political systems because they are rooted in our bodies and our bodies are not just informed by but created and maintained by relationships of deep reciprocity. Our bodies exist only in relation to Indigenous complex, nonlinear constructions of time, space, and place that are continually rebirthed through the practice and often coded recognition of obligations and responsibilities within a nest of diversity, freedom, consent, noninterference, and a generated, proportional, emergent reciprocity.” 0 likes
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