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By Gerald Robert Alfred

This ebook is the 1st finished examine of the motive force in the back of local political activism, and the single scholarly remedy of North American Indian politics which integrates an explicitly local point of view. With a extensive historic scope wealthy intimately, and drawing at the specific event of the Mohawks of Kahnawake, it bargains a proof of Indian and Inuit political activism targeting the significance of conventional values and associations in shaping local responses to the state.

The e-book explains the new upward thrust of a militant statement of sovereignty at the a part of local humans when it comes to 3 significant elements: the lifestyles of other associations within the physique of the nation's conventional tradition; the self-conscious improvement of another identification; and a continual development of adverse interplay with the country. It differs from different analyses concentrating on related elements in that it perspectives nationalism no longer as a flow which prompts in accordance with exterior elements, yet as a chronic characteristic of political lifestyles which manifests itself in both a latent or energetic shape in accordance with the interplay of the 3 elements mentioned within the version.

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Extra info for Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors: Kahnawake Mohawk Politics and the Rise of Native Nationalism

Sample text

Yet the Iroquois's Kaienerekowa-Great Law of Peace-had created a system to manage that conflict through a rigid condolence ritual and procedural protocol geared toward achiev­ ing consensus-based decisions. The newcomers as Christians intro­ duced lines of cleavage which were outside the traditional framework and which made consensus on any issue involving religion impossible. Historians recounting the migration of Kanienkehaka from the Mohawk valley to Kentake have always had to deal with the issue of reli­ gion's role in motivating that movement.

Christianity became a politic al issue for the first time. As many of the Huron that were adopte d were sincere converts, Mohawk leaders now had to deal with the problem of satisfying the additional pressure from them to allow Jesuit missionar­ ies into Kanienke. Religion in this period became a major line of cleavage among the Mohawk, although political cleavages were always a prominent feature of Iroquois society. The different bases of leaders' authority in tradi­ tional society had led to conflicts among the Peace Chiefs' traditional authority, the War Chiefs' military power, and the Pine Tree Chiefs' sec­ ular wisdom even before the newcomers had introduced additional pressures (Fenton 1955: 335) .

By establishing themselves at Kentake, the Mohawk could take advantage of the Catholic religious atmosphere to which they were drawn. But just as impo rtant, the Mohawks used this location to make themselves the intermediaries in the lucrative Albany-Montreal trade route. They were able to generate a profit out of their individual political immunity and special legal status as Mohawk people in the colonial balance of p ower. In all of their relations with European imperial p owers during the colonial p eriod, the Kahnawake Mohawks consistently staked out a position of autonomy based mainly on their advantageous location and their ties with the Iroquois Confederacy.

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