Saturday, March 20, 2021

Review: Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies

Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was first introduced to this author at AWP a few years ago, and enjoyed her collection, This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories.

From the publisher summary:
"Noopiming is Anishinaabemowin for “in the bush,” and the title is a response to English Canadian settler and author Susanna Moodie’s 1852 memoir Roughing It in the Bush. To read Simpson’s work is an act of decolonization, degentrification, and willful resistance to the perpetuation and dissemination of centuries-old colonial myth-making. It is a lived experience. It is a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits, who are all busy with the daily labours of healing — healing not only themselves, but their individual pieces of the network, of the web that connects them all together."
I would like to invite the reader into a work that may not feel like it's for them, unless they come from the Anishinaabe tradition or something similar. You may not understand all the concepts at first. You can read it like poetry, let the words flow over you and then go back in. Try to put yourself in the place where the spirits/beings/presences of the natural world are present and play an active role in how you see yourself and your community.

I don't believe you have to have an ancestral understanding of this tradition to appreciate the beauty of the work. I probably spent as much time reading reviews and looking up terms as I did reading the work because I want to grasp it. I get closest when I think back to the Erdrich novels I've read, since she writes from a shared tradition, their patterns through the natural world and with each other. It's like another facet of that place, and was worth the journey.

This book came out last year in Canada but only in February 2021 in the USA. I had a review copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.

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