Review: As We Have Always Done

As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance

By Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

This book is an in-depth look into indigenous resistance and what is possible when that resistance embraces indigenous culture. It is essentially a guide, a guide for a better world, one where we wrestle with and then resist the colonialist nature of our current reality. As Simon Moya-Smith, the culture editor at the Indian Country Media Network describes the book, “She provides a pure, Indigenous lens-a lens that the white man tried to kill and bury.”

Betasamosake Simpson provides that lens with a thorough analysis of history and injustice and a deep reflection into her culture and what’s possible to learn from this. She asks, “I am asking myself, what does it mean to write with Indigenous theory? What does it mean to prioritize being with each other, being with the work, being with the possibilities, more than they prioritize the gymnastics of trying to get it right in a structure built on wrongness?” She offers hope and a vision of what alternatives could look like in a world that seems bent on unapologetic destruction.

In this book, a number of ideas and aspects of Betasamosake Simpson’s culture are introduced. She explores the importance of the land as pedagogy, two spiritedness, extractivism, and the need for an anti-capitalism analysis and fight back plan.

The world we live in right now feels cold and unwelcoming. As We Have Always Done 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. Betasamosake Simpson provides guidance for those of us on the broader left. She says, “Radical requires us to critically and thoroughly look at the roots of the settler colonial present- capitalism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and anti-Blackness.”

Yes it does.


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