Leanne Simpson: Indigenous Philosophy of Regeneration

Leanne Simpson is a philosopher, storyteller and activist of Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg ancestry with roots in Alderville First Nation; she suggests that the Anishinaabeg concept, mino bimaadiziwin has a deeper meaning as ‘continuous rebirth’ wherein the purpose of life is regeneration (Simpson Dancing 20). Simpson asserts that indigenous systems are designed to promote more life:

In Anishinaabeg society, our economic systems, our education systems, our systems of governance, and our political systems were designed with that basic tenet at their core… In Anishinaabeg philosophy, if you have a dream, if you have a vision, you share that with your community, and then you have a responsibility for bringing that dream forth, or that vision forth into a reality. That’s the process of regeneration. That’s the process of bringing forth more life—getting the seed and planting and nurturing it. It can be a physical seed, it can be a child, or it can be an idea. But if you’re not continually engaged in that process then it doesn’t happen (Simpson cited by Klein Dancing).

Simpson insists that Canada’s process of reconciliation must support the regeneration of indigenous languages, oral cultures, as well as traditions of governance that place women back at the centre of their nation (Simpson, Dancing 22f). In the Paradigm of Natality, we try to do just that.