The Clio Prizes
Lianne C. Leddy, Serpent River Resurgence: Confronting Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake. Toronto: University of Toronto, 2022.
Serpent River Resurgence opens with the stories of the lands and waters of Anishinaabeg territory, of the great serpent, her radiant eggs, and the lessons to be learned from disturbing them in unsustainable and disrespectful ways. Drawing expertly on diverse sources of historical knowledge, Lianne Leddy shares these lessons with us, detailing the history of the exploitation of uranium deposits at Elliot Lake and its impact on her own community, Serpent River First Nation (SRFN). In doing so, Leddy confronts normative historical narratives of the postwar period as a time of prosperity, growth, and development, demonstrating that “Cold War Colonialism resulted in land encroachment and pollution that compromised, with devastating consequences, Anishinaabeg stewardship of lands and waterways. Leddy unsettles the idea that colonial relationships are lessened over time; rather they are made and remade in different contexts. As the title suggests, we also learn about the various ways that SRFN resisted this encroachment, efforts led by Anishinaabe kwewag like Leddy’s grandmother, Gertrude Lewis: they articulated their concerns to state officials and to the public and forced acknowledgement and redress for the effects of uranium mining on their lands. Through their tireless commitment to steward the lands and waterways, they found ways to disrupt colonial relationships and remind all those listening in a good way of the importance of respecting the great serpent and her radiant eggs.