Can Traditional Knowledge Survive in the Modern World?

Can Traditional Knowledge Survive in the Modern World?

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March 24, 2012

In this 30-minute lecture, Anishinabek activist, scholar and writer Dr. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson answers the question: “Can Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Survive in the Modern World?”

This lecture is part of the 2008 Ethics Speaker Series, “Advertising, Branding, Intellectual Property Issues Across the Professions” organized by Ryerson University’s Faculty of Arts.


Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a writer and scholar of Michi Saagiik Nishnaabeg ancestry and is a member of Alderville First Nation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, is an Adjunct Professor in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca University. She has also lectured at Ryerson University, the University of Victoria, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Winnipeg.

Leanne has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada and internationally over the past 15 years on environmental, governance and political issues.

She has published three edited volumes including Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of Indigenous Nations (2008, Arbeiter Ring), and This is An Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Barricades (with Kiera Ladner, 2010, Arbeiter Ring). Leanne has published over thirty scholarly articles and raised over one million dollars for community-based research projects over her career. She has written fiction and non-fiction pieces for Now Magazine, Spirit Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Anishinabek News, the Link, and Canadian Art Magazine.

Her third book, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence was published in May 2011 and turns to Nishnaabeg theory and philosophy for guidance in building and maintaining resurgence movements. It is her hope that this work will inspire the regeneration Nishnaabeg systems of governance, language, and knowledge – systems that place women back at the centre of Kina Gchi Nishnaabeg?ogaming.

Leanne is also an oral story-teller and language-learner. She has performed at the last two Ode’min Giizis festivals in addition to Nishnaabemowin Saswaansing’s Solstice Storytelling event. Dr. Simpson lives in Nogojiwanong, the inspiration for much of her work, where she homeschools her two children. She is currently the co-director of Wii-Kendimiing Nishinaabemowin Saswaansing, a language nest for Nishnaabeg families and she is also a member of O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk artist collective.

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