Sunday, 13 November 2016

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

[photo from]

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a musician, poet, storyteller, and scholar of Michi Saagiik Nishnaabeg ancestry and is a member of Alderville First Nation. Leanne earned a BSc in biology from the University of Guelph, a MSc in biology from Mount Allison University, and a PhD from the University of Manitoba. She is currently an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca University, as well as faculty at the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in Yellowknife, NT. Leanne is the co-director of Wii-Kendimiing Nishinaabemowin Saswaansing, a language nest for Nishnaabeg families. She is also a member of O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk artist collective. She has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations both nationally and internationally over the past two decades on environmental, governing, and political issues. She has published more than thirty scholarly articles and has written for Now Magazine, Spirit MagazineAnishinabek News, Briarpatch Magazine, and Canadian Art Magazine, to name a few.

Leanne has authored several books and papers on Aboriginal issues in Canada, and was an active participant in the 2012 Idle No More protest movement. As an author, Leanne has tackled a striking variety of genres, from traditional storytelling to critical analysis, to poetry and spoken word. Her first book, Dancing on Our Turtle's Back, was inspired by stories she was told by Nishnaabeg elders. In 2012, Leanne won Briarpatch Magazine’s Writing From the Margins prize for short fiction. In 2014, she was named the first RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer. She was also awarded the Most Thought-Provoking Paper award by the Native American Indigenous Studies Association for “Land As Pedagogy”. In the same year, she was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Leanne released her first book of poetry and short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love, in 2013 through ARP Books, alongside a music album bearing the same title. Her works of fiction and poetry have been published in The Walrus, Arc Poetry Magazine, Geist, and Kimiwan.

As a musician, Leanne combines poetry, storytelling, and songwriting to create distinctive spoken songs and soundscapes, accompanied by a core group of musicians consisting of Cris Derksen, Nick Ferrio and Ansley Simpson. Leanne released her RPM debut LP, f(l)light, on September 30, 2016. Lyrics to the album will be published in This Accident of Being Lost in April 2017, the author’s second book of short stories and poetry.

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