Friday April 21, 2017

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson wants us to reconsider what we know about Indigenous literature

(Zahra Siddiqui)

Listen 11:46

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's new book, The Accident of Being Lost (out now), is a disorienting read and that's exactly what the writer, poet and musician was aiming for. 

The Nishnaabe artist wanted to show a range of emotions and experiences that her people have, not just the one-dimensional portrayals of Indigenous life that most Canadians have been used to hearing.

"When I think about my life as an Indigenous woman, one of the things that I circle back to is this feeling of being lost or fragmented which, I think, comes from the experience of the violence of colonialism," Simpson explains. "And one of the things that has saved me over and over again is continually coming home and finding these pockets of love and connection and language and ceremony." 

Simpson hopes that her book, which comes with a companion album called f(l)ight, will make people reconsider what they know about Indigenous literature and continue to help Indigenous works break into the wider spectrum of Canadian culture. "I hope this is a gateway into our amazing storytellers," she says. "There's been sort of a crack opened and I think there's more of an opportunity to have conversations and to experience this sort of diversity."

— Produced by Sarah Grant