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Susan Hill

Susan Hill

The Indigenous History Book Prize


With The Clay We Are Made Of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure On the Grand River (University of Manitoba Press), Susan Hill offers a path-breaking re-interpetation of the history of the Haudenosaunee.  Hill’s work speaks to a wide-range of scholars in history as well as to scholars in Indigenous Studies. Hill’s contribution is significant because it models how historians can engage with Indigenous ontologies and thereby reorient their interpretive tools and Indigenize their practice.  She draws upon diverse sources that go well beyond the colonial record to include oral records, Creation stories, wampum strings, and linguistic analysis.  She firmly grounds the history of the Haudenosaunee within the context of overlapping relationships: relationships with the earth and relationships with the ancestors.  By doing so, she decenters and reinterprets the relationship that has more commonly dominated the field of Indigenous history, that between Indigenous peoples and Europeans.  By situating her chronological history of Haudenosaunee interactions with Dutch, French, and British colonizers within a Haudenosaunee relational worldview, Hill irrevocably changes how historians interpret written colonial records.  Moreover, she extends her work to connect past and present—showing how the past endures in the present—and thus underscores the contemporary import of the work in which historians engage.

Honourable Mention

Marianne Ignace & Ronald E. IgnaceSecwépemc People, Land, and Laws: Yerí7 re Stsq’ey’s-kucw. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017.

Marianne Ignace and Ronald E. Ignace make a major and unique contribution with their monumental book Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws: Yerí7 re Stsq’ey’s-kucw.  With this work, the Ignaces make available to readers many decades of work, research, knowledge, and life experience.  The authors speak to scholarly conversations in a wide array of disciplines including history, law, anthropology, Indigenous Studies, and beyond.  Their book offers a deep history of the Secwépemc across millennia. It does so through the lens of an Indigenized methodology that draws together both Secwépemc knowledge—in the forms of lived experience, oral knowledge, ontology, and law among others—and knowledge produced through the disciplinary conventions of the Western academy—in the forms, for example, of ethnobotany, archaeological findings, and colonial documents.  The authors underscore the long-standing, enduring nature of Secwépemc collective identity and emphasize the strategies of resilience the Secwépemc have employed in the face of settler colonialism.  The Ignaces have authored a book that provides an unparalleled exemplar for Indigenized, collaborative scholarly practice.