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ERIC Number: EJ912994
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
De'ni:s nisa'sgao'de?: Haudenosaunee Clans and the Reconstruction of Traditional Haudenosaunee Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood
McCarthy, Theresa
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v34 n2 p81-101 2010
Among the Haudenosaunee, the clan system is an ancient tradition of matrilineal descent that has maintained the social, political, economic, and spiritual cohesion of the people for centuries. Following the American Revolution and the relocation of large numbers of Haudenosaunee people from America's traditional homelands in what is now New York State, this system became disrupted. Much of the damage was enacted through nineteenth-century federal policies supporting the dispossession of territories, which imposed definitions of citizenship and leadership on the nations or tribes. As a result, many Haudenosaunee gradually lost a sense of who they are as a distinct people with relationships and responsibilities to each other that transcend the Canadian/American border, as well as their currently bounded reserve/reservation communities. Although it is important to enumerate these consequences, it is also critical to recognize that disruptive colonial frameworks continue to reside in a context in which the Haudenosaunee paradigms that anchor cultural, political, and land-based relationships have never been successfully effaced. Illuminating this continuity through the lens of a community-based clan research and education initiative at Six Nations of Grand River in Ontario, this article presents a fuller expression of the meaning of clans evidenced by attention to Haudenosaunee languages and translation and the cultural narratives comprising historic Haudenosaunee traditionalism. The following examination of grassroots and scholarly interventions, alongside contexts of displacement and relevance, corresponds with the concomitant pedagogical processes of reflection, action, and transformation encouraged by the clan research educational initiative. Emphasizing the viability of clan-based knowledge in transforming and transcending conceptual boundaries and more tangible borders that continue to affect the Haudenosaunee today, this article explores the ongoing practical relevance of this ancient system to current challenges involving assertions of citizenship, leadership, territorial mobility, and land rights. (Contains 43 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; New York