Books·Canadian

Dancing on Our Turtle's Back

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's book explores how to promote the resurgence of Indigenous culture in Canada.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

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 that reconciliation must be grounded in political resurgence and must support the regeneration of Indigenous languages, oral cultures, and traditions of governance.

Simpson explores philosophies and pathways of regeneration, resurgence, and a new emergence through the Nishnaabeg language, creation stories, walks with Elders and children, celebrations and protests, and meditations on these experiences. She stresses the importance of illuminating Indigenous intellectual traditions to transform their relationship to the Canadian state.

Challenging and original, Dancing on Our Turtle's Back provides a valuable new perspective on the struggles of Indigenous peoples. (From ARP Books)

From the book

On June 21, 2009, a community procession of Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg dancers, artists, singers, drummers, community leaders, Elders, families and children walked down the main street of Nogojiwanong. With our traditional and contemporary performers gently dancing on the back of our Mikinaag, we wove our way through the city streets, streets where we had all indirectly, or directly, experienced the violence of colonialism, dispossession and desperation at one time or another. Our drummers provided the heartbeat; our singers provided the prayers. Settler-Canadians poked their heads out of office buildings and stared at us from the sidelines. "Indians. What did they want now? What did they want this time?" But that day, we didn't have any want. We were not seeking recognition or asking for rights. We were not trying to fit into Canada. We were celebrating our nation on our lands in the spirit of joy, exuberance and individual expression.


From Dancing on Our Turtle's Back by Leanne Simpson ©2011. Published by ARP Books.

Author interviews

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a weath of stories, and ways to tell them. What she doesn't have is a lot of down time. Leanne is a professor, award-winning writer, musician, activist and a mom. Her second album (f)light just came out. 9:27