Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg artist based in Peterborough, Ontario who merges story-song and dreamy techno in "Under Your Always Light," and the track's music video premieres today on The FADER. Simpson stars in what's essentially a mini-documentary of a boxer's training placed in her own cultural context. And as soon as Simpson's voice cracks through the music, barely above a whisper, the song urges us to continue searching for deeper meaning than your standard Rocky-style training montage.
Just today it was announced that the Canadian federal government had lost a $1.3 billion lawsuit brought by the survivors of the '60s Scoop, another shameful chapter in Canada's history of destroying the cultural identity of its Indigenous population. In this light of victory, Simpson's first lyrics become even more of an inspiring rally: "After they stole you and you fought your way out, no one was going to fuck with you ever again."
Over email, Simpson told The FADER about the song's themes. "'Under Your Always Light' is about escaping the ongoing violence of colonialism and into the love, beauty, strength and compassion of Indigenous spaces. It is an unapologetic celebration of the strength of Indigenous peoples, particularly women and Two Spirit/Queer people, and it places our struggle at the heart of Indigenous resistance and resurgence. I am grateful for the vision of the brilliant Blackfoot/Sámi filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and for the fierce love of the Nuxalk/Kwakwaka'wakw boxer Ivy Richardson, featured in the video."
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's new album f(l)light is out now on RPM Records.
Thumbnail photo by Nadya Kwandibens