by Susan M. Hill
University of Manitoba Press
If one seeks to understand Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) history, one must consider the history of Haudenosaunee land. For countless generations prior to European contact, land and territory informed Haudenosaunee thought and philosophy, and was a primary determinant of Haudenosaunee identity.
In The Clay We Are Made Of, Susan M. Hill presents a revolutionary retelling of the history of the Grand River Haudenosaunee from their Creation Story through European contact to contemporary land claims negotiations. She incorporates Indigenous theory, fourth world post-colonialism, and Amerindian autohistory, along with Haudenosaunee languages, oral records, and wampum strings to provide the most comprehensive account of the Haudenosaunee's relationship to their land. Hill outlines the basic principles and historical knowledge contained within four key epics passed down through Haudenosaunee cultural history. She highlights the political role of women in land negotiations and dispels their misrepresentation in the scholarly canon. She guides the reader through treaty relationships with Dutch, French, and British settler nations, including the Kaswentha/Two-Row Wampum (the precursor to all future Haudenosaunee-European treaties), the Covenant Chain, the Nanfan Treaty, and the Haldimand Proclamation, and concludes with a discussion of the current problematic relationships between the Grand River Haudenosaunee, the Crown, and the Canadian government.
"Susan Hill's prize-winning book offers a comprehensive history of land and governance that is rare in its framing, its focus, and its execution, rendering it one of the most important studies to emerge on Haudenosaunee history to date." -- Audra Simpson "Native American and Indigenous Studies"
"The Clay We Are Made Of incorporates Indigenous knowledge, oral records, wampum belt teachings, and historical research to tell the historical and contemporary story of the Grand River Haudenosaunee. This multi-layered approach to research represents the level of relationship building and community engagement that all historians approaching Indigenous history should strive toward." -- Krista McCracken "Unwritten Histories"
About the Author:
Susan Hill is a Haudenosaunee citizen (Wolf Clan, Mohawk Nation) and resident of Ohswe: ken (Grand River Territory). She is an assistant professor of Indigenous Studies and Contemporary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford.