Mohawk Interruptus

SKU: 9780822356554

Audra Simpson
Grade Levels:
College, University
Iroquois, Mohawk, Woodland
Book Type:
Duke University Press
Copyright Date:

Sale price$36.95


Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States by Kahnawake Mohawk scholar Audra Simpson is a welcome addition to the recently released books by Ongwehowe thinkers.  Audra Simpson is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Anthropology. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Fulbright, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Dartmouth College, the American Anthropological Association, Cornell University and the School for Advanced Research (Santa Fe, NM). In 2010 she won Columbia University's School for General Studies "Excellence in Teaching Award." This volume challenges the so-called dominant thinking in the fields of Native or Indigenous Studies and anthropology. By combining political theory with ethnographic research among the Mohawks of Kahnawake, a First Nation or (reserve) community in what is now southwestern Quebec, Audra Simpson examines her community’s struggles to voice and retain their political sovereignty and identity through centuries of colonialism. Kahnawake Mohawks are part of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy. Like many Iroquois peoples, they insist on the integrity of Haudenosaunee governance and refuse American or Canadian citizenship and identity.  Keeping one’s identity and maintaining the sovereignty of their Nation is the focus for this Mohawk community. Using the example from the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, the author makes it clear that Ongwehowe individuals and organizations face day to day issues as basic as crossing the Canadian and American border. The author examines the long history of outsider ethnologists and anthropologists such as Lewis Henry Morgan, J.N.B. Hewitt, William Fenton, and Annemarie Shimony, among others who have attempted to study some particular aspect of Haudenosaunee society and culture through outdated methods. Topics included in this 280-page book include membership, clan system, cigarette trade, St. Lawrence Seaway, Oka, land, the Great Law, treaties, and women. The book functions as part history of a Mohawk community, and examination and critique of the tools used by academic historians and anthropology when studying a unique people. The author effectively employs the words and conversations of community members throughout the text to make her points. Although this book is aimed at a scholarly audience, the author should be congratulated for her attention to maintaining the book’s accessibility. Highly recommended.

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