Accepted Paper:

The building of tomorrow through renewal and historical analogy  

Author:

Samuel Rose (State University of New York at Buffalo)

Paper short abstract:

This paper draws from Sider's (2014) notion of the building of tomorrow through the daily life of today along with the Iroquois spiritual concept of renewal to explain the means and process by which the Kanatsiohareke Mohawks have attempted to develop an alternative present and future for Mohawks.

Paper long abstract:

This paper draws from Sider's (2014) notion of the building of tomorrow through the daily life of today along with the Iroquois spiritual concept of renewal to describe and explain the means and process by which the Kanatsiohareke Mohawks have attempted to develop an alternative present and future for Mohawk people. The community was established in 1993 in their ancestral homelands in the Mohawk river valley in New York State following the social and ecological devastation among the St. Lawrence Mohawk communities caused by the creation of the seaway and the casino economy at Akwesasne. This paper examines how these Mohawks have utilized the spiritual metaphor of renewal to describe and explain their movement as a renewal of relationships to the ancestral homelands and renewal of Mohawk identity and peoplehood through the reconnection with each other and with the land (and the agrarian use of the land). This metaphor of renewal also involves their relationships with local non-indigenous people and the bonds of social solidarity that have been developed along the lines of a shared moral economy. This contemporary relationship with non-indigenous locals is expressed in the historical analogy of the relationship between the Mohawks and the Palatine Germans in the Eighteenth Century. This paper therefore examines meanings involved in this conceptualization and its translation into a practice of agrarian solidarity across ethnic and religious lines as all try to build a new life for themselves with each other within the context of the shifting political economy of late capitalism.

Panel WIM-WHF01
Hope, futures and worldmaking: critical anthropology beyond the tropes of suffering