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This dissertation explores the integral role Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih (Haudenosaunee) (Iroquois) women had on the collection, documentation, framing, and circulation of their design work in the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth century. The Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih are an alliance of six sovereign Nations located across the upper region of what is colonially known as New York state and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. As a matrilineal society, Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women oversee the social, political, and economic welfare of the Six Nations. They decide on matters of concern such as warfare, sanction land use, establish diplomatic relations with other nations, as well as facilitate access to and travel through their traditional territories. In this dissertation, I develop the concept of articulating refusal-assertion to interpret the social negotiations that occurred between Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women and the anthropologists, missionaries, and educators whose collections they helped to co-produce at the turn of the twentieth century. I argue that the decision to serve as procurers, interlocutors, and interpreters was strategic; Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women upheld and enacted their matriarchal roles and responsibilities while negotiating the research activities and commercial ventures carried out on their traditional territories. Drawing on extensive archival- and museum-based research, I found that Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women directed the collection, documentation, and circulation of their material culture and knowledge despite the archival erasures that seek to obfuscate, silence, and erase their voices and stories. I begin by addressing how Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women refuse to recognize the legitimacy of colonial nation-states, as well as assert their nationhood through the visual and material record. Next, I focus on three forms of domestic labor (dressmaking, lacemaking, and homemaking) whereby Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women engaged in acts of refusal and assertion from 1850 to 1945. Each chapter illustrates how Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women refuted the boundaries and labels placed upon them, their bodies, and their communities amidst ongoing colonialism and capitalist expansion. I also show how they asserted their nationhood through production of textiles, regalia, and clothing. My intention is to redress archival erasures that have removed Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih women’s names, voices, and stories from their design work.

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Green, Denise

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Raheja, Natasha
Moisey, Andrew
Rickard, Jolene
McGowan, Kaja

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Fiber Science and Apparel Design

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Ph. D., Fiber Science and Apparel Design

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Doctor of Philosophy

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dissertation or thesis

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