Indigenous Knowledges Reading Series (CTE9502)

Thursday, November 23, 2023 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Location: Online

Facilitator: Nahannee Schuitemaker


Book: "The Clay We Are Made Of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River" – Susan M. Hill (2017)

Join Nahannee for a discussion of The Clay We Are Made of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River. Participants should read the introduction, and chapter 1 if possible, before attending. The ebook is available through the library. Reading the entire book is encouraged but not required.

From the publisher: If one seeks to understand Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) history, one must consider the history of Haudenosaunee land. For countless generations prior to European contact, land and territory informed Haudenosaunee thought and philosophy, and was a primary determinant of Haudenosaunee identity.

In The Clay We Are Made Of, Susan M. Hill presents a revolutionary retelling of the history of the Grand River Haudenosaunee from their Creation Story, through European contact, to contemporary land claims negotiations. She incorporates Indigenous theory, Fourth world post-colonialism, and Amerindian autohistory, along with Haudenosaunee languages, oral records, and wampum strings to provide a comprehensive account of the Haudenosaunee relationship
to their land.

Hill outlines the basic principles and historical knowledge contained within four key epics passed down through Haudenosaunee history. She highlights the political role of women in land negotiations and dispels their misrepresentation in the scholarly canon. She guides the reader through treaty relationships with Dutch, French, and British settler nations—including the Kaswentha/ Two-Row Wampum (the precursor to all future Haudenosaunee-European treaties), the Covenant Chain, the Nanfan Treaty, and the Haldimand Proclamation—and details outstanding land claims. Hill’s study concludes with a discussion of the current problematic relationship between the Grand River Haudenosaunee and the Canadian government, and reflects on the meaning and possibility of reconciliation.


  • SHORTLISTED, The François-Xavier Garneau Medal, Canadian Historical Association (CHA) (2020)
  • WINNER, Best First Book, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) (2018)
  • NOMINEE, The Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, Canadian Historical Association (CHA) (2018)
  • WINNER, Aboriginal History Group Book Prize, CHA (2018)
  • WINNER, Ontario Clio Prize, CHA (2018)


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Many of our workshops have waiting lists, so if you've registered but can't attend, please cancel your registration well in advance through the registration system, so that someone else can fill your spot.


The University of Waterloo is committed to achieving barrier-free accessibility for persons with disabilities who are studying, working, or visiting at Waterloo. If you have questions concerning access, such as parking, building layouts, or obtaining information in alternative formats, or wish to request accommodations for a CTE workshop or event, please contact CTE via email ( or phone (ext. 33857) and include the session’s title and date. Our workshops typically involve a mix of presentation and discussion-based activities, and we encourage a scent-free environment. We also welcome accompanying assistants, interpreters, or note-takers; notify us if accommodations are needed in this regard. Please note that some accommodations may require time to arrange.