Much of this book is about the labor to live a good life. The peo-
ple of the Mohawk nation at Kahnawà:ke do this work with great
verve and equanimity, while enduring and pushing against the
ongoing stress and structure of settler colonialism. Their com-
mitment to the principle of a good mind and to the struggle to
maintain and then assert that principle has inspired and forms the
core questions of this book. I am deeply, deeply grateful to them
for this, and for holding on to everything.
Kahnawà:ke, the Mohawk Nation, and the Haudenosaunee are
embedded conceptually and in different ways politically in the
global category of “Indigeneity” and of course, by extension, In-
digenous peoples. I owe an ongoing debt—a general one that is so
broad and simultaneously categorical as to seem abstract, to those
whose lives and lands brought forth the questions that animate
this book. Indigenous peoples within and beyond Kahnawà:ke
continue to strive and in so doing sustain questions of profound
theoretical and political importance—questions of persistence,
vigor, and dignity in the face of grinding power—as well as the
disavowal of staggering wrongdoing.
I am fortunate to be around people who care deeply and think
very hard about these sorts of things. I am especially grateful to
Beth Povinelli, Roz Morris, Lila Abu- Lughod, Brinkley Messick,
and Nadia Abu El- Haj for their careful readings, before which this
was a different book. I am grateful to the entire Anthropology
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