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As We Have Always Done

Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance

2017
Author:

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

As We Have Always Done

WINNER OF THE BEST SUBSEQUENT BOOK AWARD FROM THE NATIVE AMERICAN AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES ASSOCIATION AND HONORABLE MENTION FOR THE LABRIOLA CENTER AMERICAN INDIAN NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

How to build Indigenous resistance movements that refuse the destructive thinking of settler colonialism

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson locates Indigenous political resurgence as a practice rooted in uniquely Indigenous theorizing, writing, organizing, and thinking. She makes clear that the goal of Indigenous resistance can no longer be cultural resurgence as a mechanism for inclusion in a multicultural mosaic, calling for unapologetic, place-based Indigenous alternatives to the destructive logics of the settler colonial state. 

"This is an astonishing work of Indigenous intellectualism and activism—by far the most provocative, defiant, visionary, and generous of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's impressive corpus to date."—Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation), University of British Columbia

"I have learned more about this battered world from reading Leanne Betasamosake Simpson than from almost any writer alive today. A dazzlingly original thinker and an irresistible stylist, Simpson has gifted us with a field guide not to mere political resistance but to deep and holistic transformation. It arrives at the perfect time."—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything

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 locates Indigenous political resurgence as a practice rooted in uniquely Indigenous theorizing, writing, organizing, and thinking.

Indigenous resistance is a radical rejection of contemporary colonialism focused around the refusal of the dispossession of both Indigenous bodies and land. Simpson makes clear that its goal can no longer be cultural resurgence as a mechanism for inclusion in a multicultural mosaic. Instead, she calls for unapologetic, place-based Indigenous alternatives to the destructive logics of the settler colonial state, including heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation.

Awards

Best Subsequent Book Award from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association

Honorable Mention: Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award

As We Have Always Done

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a writer, activist, faculty member at the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University. She is author of several books, including Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, The Gift Is in the Making, Islands of Decolonial Love, and This Accident of Being Lost. She is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg, holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, and is a member of Alderville First Nation.

As We Have Always Done

This is an astonishing work of Indigenous intellectualism and activism—by far the most provocative, defiant, visionary, and generous of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's impressive corpus to date.

Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation), University of British Columbia

I have learned more about this battered world from reading Leanne Betasamosake Simpson than from almost any writer alive today. A dazzlingly original thinker and an irresistible stylist, Simpson has gifted us with a field guide not to mere political resistance but to deep and holistic transformation. It arrives at the perfect time.

Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything

A remarkable achievement that illuminates what is possible when we engage in the revolutionary act of indigenous self-love, As We Have Always Done asks the simple question, ‘What if no one sided with colonialism?’ The many possible answers to that question are reflected in Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s beautifully written book in which she kindly challenges indigenous people to reclaim their lives and bodies from the settler colonial state.

Sarah Deer (Muscogee [Creek] Nation), author of The Beginning and End of Rape

Incisive. Unmitigated. Inspiring. Simpson gives no quarter to colonialism. No quarter to a nasty Western narrative. She provides a pure, Indigenous lens—a lens that the white man tried to kill and bury. This book is a reminder that they failed in that rotten endeavor. It belongs on every Canadian bookshelf. On every American coffee table. Simpson's words are an affirmation of Indigenous resilience and resolve.

Simon Moya-Smith (Lakota and Chicano), culture editor at Indian Country Media Network

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson confronts colonialism from the perspective of indigenous nationhood, but goes beyond arguing for changes in politics, writing in a way that enacts changes in our thinking about politics.

Indian Country Today

While her intended audience is other Indigenous peoples, I think non-Indigenous Canadians will find it inspiring as they take up her challenge of decolonization.

Watershed Sentinel

As We Have Always Done is an in-depth look into indigenous resistance and what is possible when that resistance embraces indigenous culture. It gives us a glimmer of hope. Hope that there is another way to live. That we can forge relationships, be with each other, and live for much more than what neo-liberal capitalism tells us life is about.

The Collective

This book will not only offer the Indigenous community much courage, but it will also open the eyes of many non-indigenous people. We have here not just a description of a state of affairs, but also a practical guide. A very important, successful publication.

Amerindian Research

The book is essential for anyone studying any aspect of Indigenous decolonization, politics, law, and settler colonialism, and signals a vital shift away from current neoliberal discussions and policies of indigenization and reconciliation in order to rebuild and recover indigenous nationhoods.

Transmotion

As We Have Always Done

Contents
Introduction: My Radical Resurgent Present
1. Nishnaabeg Brilliance as Radical Resurgence Theory
2. Kwe as Resurgent Method
3. The Attempted Dispossession of Kwe
4. Nishnaabeg Internationalism
5. Nishnaabeg Anticapitalism
6. Endlessly Creating Our Indigenous Selves
7. The Sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples’ Bodies
8. Indigenous Queer Normativity
9. Land as Pedagogy
10. “I See Your Light”: Reciprocal Recognition and Generative Refusal
11. Embodied Resurgent Practice and Coded Disruption
12. Constellations of Coresistance
Conclusion: Toward Radical Resurgent Struggle
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index