In Defense of Mohawk Land

Ethnopolitical Conflict in Native North America

By Linda Pertusati

Subjects: Social Movements
Series: SUNY series in Ethnicity and Race in American Life
Paperback : 9780791432129, 166 pages, April 1997
Hardcover : 9780791432112, 166 pages, April 1997

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



1. Introduction: Aboriginal-State Relations

2. The Framing of Politicized Ethnicity and Nationalism

3. Nations at War: History in Perspective

4. Culture, Ideology, and Organizational Formation: The Rise of the Mohawk Warrior Movement

5. The Mobilization of Mohawk Warrior Militancy

6. Nations at War: Voice, Peaceful Resistance, and Mobilization

7. Nations at War: Voice, Armed Resistance, and Maintenance of Mobilization

8. Politicized Ethnicity and Nationalism: Conclusions

Appendix: Persons Interviewed



Examines the conflict that exists between the Mohawk Warrior Movement and Canada within the context of the Mohawk nation's struggle for national self-determination.


During 1990, a land dispute between the Mohawk territory of Kanehsatake and the town of Oka, Quebec, Canada took center stage in the world community, erupting into months of intense and often violent confrontation. Rooted in the historical reality of past injustices, the events of the 1990 Mohawk-Oka conflict epitomized the relationship and struggles which exists between Aboriginal nations, ethnonationalist movements, and the state.

By examining the Mohawk-Oka conflict, this book tells a story of struggle and survival during the 1990 invasion by the Quebec provincial police and Canadian army into Mohawk sovereign land. The story is one of an embattled nation's struggle and aboriginal right to determine its political and economic destiny. Through extensive research of archived documents, newspapers, and interviews with leaders and members of the Mohawk Warrior Movement and other central figures in the Mohawk nation, the author demonstrates how politicized ethnicity and ideology can become significant factors in the repertoire of indigenous ethno-nationalist social movements for generating and maintaining social protest.

Linda Pertusati is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Bowling Green State University.


"The events described are dramatic (and tragic) and the account is compelling. The detailed exposition effectively conveys the ambivalences, ambiguities, and other complexities behind the public events. This is a story that deserves to be heard, and the analysis is insightful and persuasive. " — Robin M. Williams, Jr. , Cornell University