Kazim Ali Online Book EventFriday May 21 2021 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Zoom, Virtual
Join us as Kazim Ali explores the questions of land, power, and justice and reads from his latest book, Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water (Goose Lane Editions). Featuring a conversation hosted by Michael Hutchinson.
The child of South Asian migrants, Kazim Ali lived as a child in Manitoba before making a life in the United States. Finding himself recalling the boreal forests of his childhood home of Jenpeg, a community thrown up around the building of a hydroelectric dam, Ali wondered: Does the town still exist? Is the dam still operational?
When Ali goes searching, however, he finds not news of Jenpeg, but of the local Pimicikamak community facing environmental destruction and broken promises from the Canadian government. Troubled, Ali returns north, looking to understand his place in this story and eager to listen.
A celebrated poet, editor, and prose writer, Kazim Ali is the author of seven poetry collections, two novels, and three works of non-fiction. He teaches at the University of California, San Diego.
Michael Hutchinson is a citizen of the Misipawistik Cree Nation in the Treaty 5 territory. He has worked with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, and as host of APTN National News. He is currently a co-host on CTV Morning Live Winnipeg.
- by Kazim Ali
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"It begins to rain as we fly, falling in solid sheets, water from sky to earth -- a free system of exchange."
Kazim Ali's earliest memories are of Jenpeg, a temporary town in the forests of northern Manitoba where his immigrant father worked on the construction of a hydroelectric dam. As a child, Ali had no idea that the dam was located on the unceded lands of the Indigenous Pimicikamak, the "people of rivers and lakes."
Northern Light recounts Ali's memories of his childhood and his return to Pimicikamak as an adult. During his visit, he searches for the sites of his childhood memories and learns more about the realities of life in Pimicikamak: the environmental and social impact of the Jenpeg dam, the effects of colonialism and cultural erasure, and the community's initiatives to preserve and strengthen their identity. Deeply rooted in place, Northern Light is both a stunning exploration of home, belonging, and identity and an immersive account of contemporary life in one Indigenous community.