Appointed As

Program on Race, Migration, and Indigeneity


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


Indiana University Bloomington

PhD Field of Study

PhD, History, University of California, Davis

Dissertation Abstract

"Kaniatarowanenneh Crossings: Indigenous Power and Presence in the St. Lawrence River Watershed, 1534-1842"

This dissertation combines ethnohistory, political ecology, digital mapping, and theoretical framing from Native American and Indigenous Studies to explore the history of Seven Fires confederacy, an Indigenous alliance of Catholic Iroquoian and Algonquian mission communities along the St. Lawrence River. Indigenous peoples called the St. Lawrence River “the Great Waterway,” translated as Kaniatarowanenneh in Mohawk or Ktsitegok in Abenaki. Diverse Native peoples forged alliances around common ties to the river, and this dissertation maps historical continuities in Native social and political organization from pre-contact Iroquoian and Algonquian societies to the development of the multiethnic mission villages at Wendake, Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Odanak, Akwesasne, and Oswegatchie. In contrast to English or Spanish mission complexes in North America, the francophone St. Lawrence missions’ population steadily increased from the late seventeenth century onward. By reestablishing stable Native population centers along the St. Lawrence, the Seven Fires maintained their political and economic autonomy within their homelands by collectively managing common hunting territories and securing free-mobility rights through a shared riverine network. European empires and later American nation-states recognized Native Americans’ sovereign rights to move freely mobility across colonial boundaries in international law through the Jay Treaty (1795) and the Treaty of Ghent (1815).