Settler Colonialism In Johawk Simpson

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Simpson’s book tells the story of the Mohawks and their story of survivance amid the radical transformation brought about by settler colonialism. Her book discusses their struggle, fighting to keep their right to sovereignty as a Nation, separate from the US and Canada. Simpson illustrates the lives of the Mohawks in their reservation, and shows that they are more than the ironworkers that have come to be the stereotype for the Mohawk people. She argues that the Mohawks’ ongoing struggle proves that Settler Colonialism continues to exist, and continues to fail to eliminate and assimilate Indigenous people. Simpson begins by addressing the “question of membership,” that is, the criteria for political membership and formal recognition within…show more content…
The first is that sovereignty may exist within sovereignty, as the Mohawk Nation exists within the United States. However, as she points out, this system comes with jurisdictional and normative challenges: “Whose citizen are you? What authority do you answer to? One challenges the very legitimacy of the other.” (Simpson 10) These questions denote the fundamental issues that Native Americans are forced to deal with. Simpson’s second claim is that there is an alternative to recognition: refusal. By this, she means that instead of fighting for recognition as a sovereign Nation, Indians can also refuse to be categorized and treated otherwise. Her third and final claim is that anthropology and political science must come to challenge things that are perceived as “settled,” especially when it comes to the politics and culture of indigenous people. Simpson points out that Indians and settler colonialism has not yet been “settled” and should not be regarded as such. This “unsettled” state of settler colonialism has forced Indians to take an offensive position against the US, the settler nation. Simpson specifically points to the Kahnawa’kehrò:non as an example of refusal. “Their political consciousness and actions upend the perception that colonization, elimination, and settlement are situations of the past. Kahnawa’kehrò:non are not settled; they are not done; they are not gone.” (Simpson
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