Chautauqua Topic: "Strategizing Indigenous Life against Settlement in the Late 20th Century"

Simpson photo

“Colonialism,” said Dr. Audra Simpson, “is often thought of as something of the past, something that is now over. It is rarely imagined as a process that is still ongoing.”

But Simpson will do just that when she delivers a Chautauqua lecture at Eastern Kentucky University on Thursday, Nov. 20. The educator and author will address “Mohawk Interruptus: Strategizing Indigenous Life against Settlement in the Late 20th Century” at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building. Her talk, free and open to the public, also serves as the keynote address for National Native American Heritage Month.

Simpson said she will discuss the project that became her book, “Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of Settler States,” published earlier this year, and “how deeply imbricated the politics of Mohawk life are in colonial processes that are ongoing. I argue that Iroquois or Haudenosaunee politics and life are very much this struggle with the structure of settler colonialism, a structure that has sought indigenous land and sought as well to modify if not destroy indigenous governance.”

She will also discuss the meaning of “settler colonialism,” as a form of colonialism in the U.S. and Canada that “affects very deeply the ways in which indigenous people live their lives, their struggles to find freedom and justice in the present with recourse to Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve community in what is now Southwestern Quebec, that has sought at every time to find and assert their freedom and rights through time.”

Simpson, a Kahnawake Mohawk, is an associate professor of anthropology at Columbia University, where in 2010 she won the School of General Studies Excellence in Teaching Award. The recipient of numerous other awards and fellowships, she is also the editor of Syracuse University’s reprint of Lewis Henry Morgan’s anthropological classic, “League of the Haudenosaunee,” and co-editor with Andrea Smith of the 10-chapter collection “Theorizing Native Studies.”

Her lecture is sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work; the Cultural Center; and the Honors Program.

For more information, visit or contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Minh Nguyen at

Published on October 31, 2014

Quick Links