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Classic '70s Posters: Ganienkeh, the Mohawks Who Took the Land Back

Two vintage posters that capture the spirit of a defiant group of Native Americans, and an exciting era.
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Forty years ago, a group of Mohawk Indians took over a former girls' summer camp in upstate New York and claimed the land as sovereign, answerable not to the laws of the United States but to the Kaianerehkó:wa, the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy. They called their territory Ganienkeh, and to this day the community maintains its independence. ICTMN contributor Alex Jacobs, who was with the seminal Mohawk newspaper Akwesasne Notes at the time, recalls that during an exciting time, Ganienkeh was emblematic of victory: "The Indians won, reclaiming land back from the United States." For more, see Jacobs' piece "Sovereignty Without Compromise, Since 1974: The Story of Ganienkeh."

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Here are two remarkable posters from the era that capture some of its spirit. The first comes from Akwesasne Notes, and the second is archived at the official site ganienkeh.net.


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Ganienkeh poster from Akwesasne Notes. The quote from Deskaheh reads, 'We have a little territory left—just enough to live and die on. Don't you think your governments ought to be ashamed to take that away from us by pretending it is part of theirs?' Click to open a larger version. Source: Library of Congress.



Poster from Ganienkeh.net. Click to open a larger version.