The Mohawk Warrior Society: Book Launch and Screenings on Indigenous Sovereignty and Survival
Join us for the launch of an unprecedented book, a public roundtable with members of the Kanien'kehá:ka Kahnistensera, an activist group of Mohawk women from Kahnawake, and film screenings in celebration of Indigenous culture and resilience. The Mohawk Warrior Society: A Handbook on Sovereignty and Survival, is the centrepiece of our events. Containing new oral history by key figures of the Rotisken'rhakéhte revival in the 1970s, this compilation tells the story of the Warriors’ famous flag and other art, their armed occupation of Ganienkeh in 1974, and the role of their constitution, the Great Peace.
This book launch is part of a two-day series of events and film screenings that foreground Kanien'kehá:ka activism, culture, and current issues within the broader rubric of Indigenous sovereignty.
Ateronhiatakon Francis Boots is a Kanien’kehá:ka knowledge keeper and speaker for the Snipe Clan. He has acted as Akwesasne’s Aión:wes, keeper of the house, since 1974. Ateronhiatakon’s deep knowledge of Kanien’kehá:ka traditions brings him to travel to various Native communities across Turtle Island to teach the native language and culture, as well as to officiate Thanksgiving Festivals, marriages and condolences. Ateronhiatakon played a central role in creating the Akwesasne-based journal of Indigenous struggles, Akwesasne Notes, before getting involved in the White Roots of Peace initiative, sharing Indigenous traditions across the Americas and beyond.
Kahentinetha Rotiskarewake is a Kanien’kehá:ka from the Bear Clan in Kahnawà:ke. Initially working in the fashion industry, Kahentinetha went on to play a key role as speaker and writer in the Indigenous resistance, a role which she has fulfilled consistently for the last six decades. During this time, she witnessed and took part in numerous struggles, including the blockade of the Akwesasne border crossing in 1968. She has published several books, including Mohawk Warrior Three:
The Trial of Lasagna, Noriega & 20–20, and has been in charge of running the Mohawk Nation News service since the Oka Crisis in 1990. She now cares for her twenty children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Kahentinetha means she who is always at the forefront.
Kanasaraken Loran Thompson
Kanasaraken Loran Thompson was born to a Roiá:ner father and an Iakoiá:ner mother. He spent his youth traveling between Akwesasne and various construction sites, where he worked as an ironworker on bridges and high-rise buildings for over forty years. After becoming a council member representing the Bear Clan in 1974, he found himself at the forefront of local resistance efforts directed against the erection of a fence around Akwesasne in 1979. As a result of a grand council decision, his house at Raquette Point was designated as a headquarters for that resistance, and his property became the site of an armed siege on the part of local anti-warrior vigilantes and New York state troopers that lasted for two years. In 1990, Kanasaraken was chosen to lead a delegation sent to Kanehsatà:ke Mohawk territory, as it was being surrounded by the Canadian army, to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Oka Crisis, wherein he earned his nickname “Warrior General”.
Tekarontakeh Paul Delaronde
Tekarontakeh Paul Delaronde is a Kanien’kehá:ka from the Wolf Clan. He was raised speaking his native language by traditional grandparents from Kahnawà:ke, who had been part of an effort during the 1950s to re-establish an autonomous traditional community in the Mohawk River Valley, his people’s original homeland. These childhood experiences helped Tekarontakeh develop the crucial knowledge and understanding of his people’s traditional ways, which he inherited from his elders. His profound attachment to Indigenous independence brought him into various confrontations with colonial authorities at an early age. He played a leading role in rekindling the fire of the Rotihsken’rakéhte’ (Mohawk Warrior Society) in the early 1970s. Since then, Tekarontakeh has taken part in virtually all the major struggles of the Rotihsken’rakéhte’ up until the 1990s. Today, he travels throughout Rotinonhsión:ni (Iroquois) territory and beyond, imparting some of the ancestral wisdom that he received directly from his grandparents and elders. Tekarontakeh’s fluency in his native language, his intimate knowledge of the Kaianerehkó:wa (Great Peace) and his vast personal experience building Mohawk autonomy in the late twentieth century make him an invaluable resource in better comprehending both the history of his people and the uniqueness and depth of their traditional political philosophy and worldview.
Philippe Blouin writes, translates and studies political anthropology and philosophy in Tionitiohtià:kon (Montréal). His current PhD research at McGill University seeks to understand and share the teachings of the Teiohá:te (Two Row Wampum) to build decolonial alliances. His work has been published in Liaisons, Stasis and PoLAR. He also wrote an afterword to George Sorel’s Reflections on Violence, and translated several books in French, including Jackie Wang's Carceral Capitalism and Sabu Kohso's Radiation and Revolution.