Leora Gansworth

Faculty, Undergraduate Studies
Residency Site: Plainfield VT

Email
leora.gansworth@goddard.edu

Biography

Leora Gansworth’s training as a scholar of literature has informed her practice and approach to academic learning. She has been published in multiple areas including hybrid and cross-genre creative work, most recently as a featured contributor to both the Center for Humans and Nature and the Canadian Association of Geographers. Her creative thesis from her time as a student with Goddard, “Dark Swimming,” was published in 2012 through Salt Publications, UK, in the chapbook series Effigies II. Her work with Antioch University examined citizen-engaged water quality improvement strategies alongside Indigenous community concerns related to environmental contamination of traditional food and water sources. Leora has also worked in the context of student services and Indigenous-focused support programming.  She designed and collaborated on several innovative programs including a de-pave and rain garden installation project, intercultural education concerning Pacific salmon and native plants, a visiting elder series, Native american culture fair with focus on Indigenous youth, and a series of courses and community events based on Indigenous health and the environment.  

Education

MFA in Creative Writing, Goddard College
MA in Environment and Community, Antioch University-Seattle
BA in English, SUNY-Buffalo

Areas of Expertise

My pedagogy does not support or endorse the notion of “expertise” as defined by the academy, but I am interested in contributing to scholarship and literature in the areas of:

  • Creative and critical writing that engages with social change and conditions
  • Indigenous notions of land and community
  • Anishinaabeg knowledge and worldview
  • Indigenous futurity
  • Environmental health
  • Any and all aspects of human relationships to water
  • Critical human geography

Personal Statement

I primarily see the world as Anishinaabe kwe—a niece, daughter, auntie, granddaughter, in relation to all those who have come before me and those who have yet to walk upon the earth. I am interested in the work of people, but also interested in the other nations which compose life on earth—fish, trees, stone, water, for example–and how we affect one another. The realm of academic learning is a place where I seek to unpack the ways that internalized being and knowing can be challenged through processes of inquiry and deep reflection. I come from intergenerational survivors of Indian residential school histories, genocidal subjugation, environmental destruction and spiritual oppression, and yet have emerged, like many of my Indigenous brothers and sisters, as one who loves life and has immense hope for the future. I was raised to know my families and our stories and experiences as Anishinaabeg people through reservation life. We will always love and care for our families and our lands. Educational systems are not an end-all, be-all for me, but contain useful tools with which to share my ideas, commitment, and love of learning, though I critically examine the history and implementation of educational practices I support—to ensure I am engaging on my own terms.

As a teacher, I love to witness students pursue their passions and my focus is being an active listener, questioner, and supporter as students undertake the work that drives them. I operate from an anti-oppressive framework. I encourage respect and courtesy as complements to critical rigor and dedication in a context where multiple knowledges and learning styles are celebrated and welcomed. Students who work with me can expect courtesy, kindness, frankness, deep questioning, and continued support through their questioning and project development.  

I live and work from Anishinaabe territory, am a member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg, and have a great love of wild plants and native bird species. Poetry and sewing are a natural blend for me, so I create a lot of handmade items as I am tinkering with the written word. I enjoy swimming and hiking. I look to the land and water of my ancestors and future generations for guidance and inspiration when designing and creating new pieces. I grew up on Onkwehonwe territory and spent a good deal of time living and working on Coast Salish territory. I am now pursuing a PhD with York University, Toronto in the area of human geography. My research examines Indigenous water governance.

Publications

  1. Effigies IISalt Publications2012