In this deeply engaging oral history, Doug Williams, Anishinaabe elder, teacher and mentor to Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, recounts the history of the Michi Saagiig Nisnaabeg, tracing through personal and historical events, and presenting what manifests as a crucial historical document that confronts entrenched institutional narratives of the history of the region. Edited collaboratively with Simpson, the book uniquely retells pivotal historical events that have been conventionally unchallenged in dominant historical narratives, while presenting a fascinating personal perspective in the singular voice of Williams, whose rare body of knowledge spans back to the 1700s. With this wealth of knowledge, wit and storytelling prowess, Williams recounts key moments of his personal history, connecting them to the larger history of the Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous communities.
Doug Williams, is Anishnaabe and former Chief of Mississauga's Curve Lake First Nation. He is now currently Co Director and Graduate Faculty for the Indigenous Studies Ph.D. Program and oversees the cultural and spiritual component of the program. He is a member of the Pike Clan, and was one of the first graduates of what is now called Indigenous Studies at Trent University in 1972. He is a Pipe Carrier, Sweat Lodge Keeper, and ceremony leader. He is a language speaker and considers himself a trapper, a hunter and a fisher. Beyond his work in the academy, he is active at the community level and works to ensure that Indigenous Knowledge is maintained within the community.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Leanne's books are regularly used in courses across Canada and the United States including Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, The Gift Is in the Making, Lighting the Eighth Fire (editor), This Is An Honour Song (editor with Kiera Ladner) and The Winter We Danced: Voice from the Past, the Future and the Idle No More Movement (Kino-nda-niimi editorial collective). Her paper "Land As Pedagogy" was awarded the Most thought-provoking 2014 article in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Her latest book, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance is being published by the University of Minnesota Press in the fall of 2017. As a writer, Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King. She has published extensive fiction and poetry in both book and magazine form. Her second book of short stories and poetry, This Accident of Being Lost is a follow up to the acclaimed Islands of Decolonial Love and was published by the House of Anansi Press in Spring 2017. Leanne is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and a member of Alderville First Nation.
This book gives us an alternative perspective on historical record that is both personal and collective. Doug Williams reminds us of the generations of Indigenous knowledge keepers and of a history that stretches back prior to European contact-including the disruption of contact. This book is his gift to the Michi Saagiig and to all Anishinaabek. It is also a gift to Canadians who want to help decolonize this country. - Armand Garnet RuffoStorytelling is not just a gift. It's not just an art. It's also a responsibility: the weaving together of history, philosophy, culture and humour frequently highlighting a cultures perspective on the world. Doug Williams has been doing this as long as I can remember. He lives the culture, not just talks about it. The people and places he talks about in Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg are more a part of our history then all the things going on in Ottawa - Drew Hayden Taylor
Tell us what you think!
Sign Up or Sign In to add your review or comment.
Related Blog Posts