Mohawk Author documents the life of Káteri Tekahkwí:tha
AKWESASNE TERRITORY – A 17th century woman, known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” is the subject of a new biography. “A Lily Among Thorns: The Mohawk Repatriation of Káteri Tekahkwí:tha” is a bold new book about a saintly Mohawk woman whom the Pope is considering for canonization. The book has the distinction of being written, illustrated and published by her own Mohawk people. More than 300 books have been written about Tekahkwí:tha, but none from the Mohawk perspective.
Four centuries ago European colonists first arrived in Mohawk territory and these early encounters were memorialized by wampum belts. The new book examines controversies surrounding these events by exploring colonists’ written descriptions as they ventured into Mohawk country for diplomacy, trade, warfare and religious conversion. Here we encounter the Blessed Káteri Tekahkwí:tha, whose remarkable life takes over the story.
“A Lily Among Thorns” looks at the more difficult aspects of this history. Smallpox, wars with other aboriginal nations and internal rifts within the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy are examined and explain why many ancestral Mohawks left the Mohawk Valley for the St. Lawrence. The book features the French invasion of Mohawk Country in 1666, when all Mohawk villages were burned to the ground and played a role in the removal of many Mohawks to the mission village near Montreal.
Illustrations of maps, photographs and original pen-and-ink drawings show characters and scenes in the book. The portraits were based on modern day Iroquois period-specific clothing and makeup, giving the book a greater authenticity. They were drawn by artist R. Kakwirakeron Montour of Kahnawà:ke.
“We are pleased and proud that this new book has been published,” said Tribal Chief Barbara Lazore. “Telling our histories from our own perspective is important to making sure that events are accurately portrayed. This is one of the reasons that the tribe provided financial support for the publication of Darren’s new book.”
This is the second book by Darren Bonaparte, author of “Creation & Confederation: The Living History of the Iroquois.” He has written for Indian Country Today, Aboriginal Peoples and Native Americas and serves as a historical advisor for PBS documentaries.
Both books can be purchased in local stores and online at Amazon.