A North American aboriginal articulation of “Buen Vivir”

I am not a nation state!
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson


Doug Williams, a Missisauga Nishnaabeg elder from Curve Lake First Nation calls our nation, Kina Gchi Nishnaabeg ogamig – the place where we all live and work together. Our nation is a hub of Anishinaabe networks. It is a long kobade [a word we use to refer to our great grandparents and our great grandchildren – it means a link in a chain] which cycles through time. It is a web of connections to each other, to the plant nations, the animal nations, the rivers and lakes, the cosmos and our neighbouring Indigenous nations. Kina Gchi Nishnaabeg ogamig is an ecology of intimacy.

My Ancestors wanted our generation to practice Anishinaabe governance over our homeland, to partner with other governments over shared lands, to have the ability to make decisions about how the gifts of our mother earth would be used for the benefit of our people and in a manner to promote her sanctity for coming generations. I believe my ancestors expected the settler state to recognize my nation, our lands and the political and cultural norms in our territory.

My nationhood doesn’t just radiate outwards, it also radiates inwards. It is my physical body, my mind, and my spirit. It is our families – not the nuclear family that has been normalized in settler society, but big, beautiful, diverse, extended multi-racial families of relatives and friends that care very deeply for each other.

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