In 1974, a group of Kahnawá:ke Mohawk families claimed a New York State–run campsite with the intent of starting a “traditional” Indigenous community they named Ganienkeh. Residents ultimately secured a permanent space in upstate New York for the community to grow in 1979. Using newspapers, interviews, and organizational newsletters, this article argues that the sources of this takeover depended on Ganienkeh people who exercised sovereignty on their own innovative terms. Using the power of gender, kinship, and family, they maintained support from outside groups and successfully fought against and capitalized on the cultural tensions of the decade.

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