ERICA VIOLET LEE, MOONTIMEWARRIOR.COM
Erica Violet Lee introduced the world to the term “academic aunties” in 2016. Since then, my world has shifted—the idea that we build and maintain beautiful, weighty, strong and dynamic kinship relations through our resolute, disruptive and tender presence in the academy as Indigenous philosophers is a lifeline. We are kin. We occupy these spaces relationally. Lee’s oeuvre is just that: a collection of poems, stories and deeply moving intellectual interventions that weave together her experiences living and working within Treaty Six Territory in Saskatoon, and her international climate- and Indigenous feminist–advocacy work.
Working as a “nehiyaw philosopher queen,” Lee interrogates the violence of settler colonialism, lays bare a vulnerable and beating heart
that tends to lives and stories across vast territories, and fundamentally re-envisions prairie lands and waters as thinking spaces—spaces worthy of care and attention and, to borrow a term from scholar Cutcha Risling Baldy, “(re)storying.” Lee also advances wasteland theory, tending specifically to the power and presence of nehiyaw law in lands being violated by settler-colonial paradigms of extraction and erasure. This quote from her November 2016 piece in online magazine GUTS sums up her philosophical work beautifully:
But the heart of wastelands theory is simple. Here, we understand that there is nothing and no one beyond healing. So we return again and again to the discards, gathering scraps for our bundles, and we tend to the devastation with destabilizing gentleness, carefulness, softness.
In Lee’s work, she returns again and again to stories and spaces long ignored and forgotten by white-settler thinkers intent on asserting a Eurocentric vision of life and law in prairie landscapes. Instead, she brings her vast intellect, care and attention to bear on prairie lands, waters and atmospheres. Moontime Warrior is a catalogue of longing, life and liberation, and Lee’s work is a necessary salve in the post-apocalypse. —ZOE TODD
askiy: an offering for the stream PHOTO ERICA VIOLET LEE