Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies
By Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
January is a time of new beginnings and new challenges. In Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson challenges the reader to think about decolonization and framing a new narrative instead of the colonial myths that have perpetuated white culture for centuries.
Noopiming is Anishaabemowin 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. Set in the same place as Moodie’s colonial memoir, this genre-fluid novel is offered as a cure for Moodie’s racist treatment of Mississauga Nishnaabeg in her writing.
Mashkawaji (they/them) lies frozen in the ice, remembering a long-ago time of hopeless connection and now finding freedom and solace in isolated suspension. They introduce us to the seven main characters: Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator’s will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman who represents their conscience; Sabe, the giant who represents their marrow; Adik, the caribou who represents their nervous system; Asin, the human who represents their eyes and ears; and Lucy, the human who represents their brain.
This is 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.
These stories gather up tiny pieces, one at a time, as they slowly circle through the perspectives of different characters, in a breathtaking act of world-building that rewards patience and deep listening. This is the real world, the one where meaning accumulates through close observation and relationship. “Enter and be changed,” states House of Anansi, the book’s publisher.
Noopiming is available at WSPL in regular print format.
Coordinator of Community Engagement