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How to Read Noopiming – Listen

Image of Leanne Betasamosake with the Noopiming book cover

Jun 17, 2022

When I first started reading Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, I found it was a challenge to get into. Maybe it was the unexpected pages with a lot of white space, the fragments of text that seem unconnected.  My own expectation of finding a linear narrative. Talk about having expectations!

For me, the key to unlocking Noopiming was to listen to the audiobook, to hear the Anishinaabemowin names and words scattered throughout, and the images, the subtext, the humour. It’s just three hours of listening, but well expressed by audio narrator, Tiffany Ayalik.

Find what you understand (Mindimooyenh’s “bargoons” and different uses for Canadian Tire tarpaulins) and grow into the rest.  Tunnel through the ice with Mashkawaji – be discomforted while also feeling “the ice like a warm, weighted blanket”.  Nestle into Ninaatig, a sugar maple, just like the old man Akiwenzii does at the tree’s base and watch the Tour de France together. 

Hopefully like me, you’ll be loving the prose and stories in a short time…..

Listen on all the levels that Leanne Betasamosake Simpson exposes.  I have listened to it once and am now starting again.  My own listening process became fragmented (I was travelling, my mind wandered), but it didn’t matter.  The writing has multiple entry points because there are passages that impress on their own. 

I’m dipping in again – with a deeper appreciation.  Each time I look through the book or open the audio, I find Indigenous literary gifts waiting.