Kevin J. White is an Indigenous scholar (Mohawk from Akwesasne, with family from Tonawanda Band of Seneca) whose work focuses primarily on Haudenosaunee Creation and culture. The process and act of storytelling rouses his curiosity in not only decolonizing stories collected and archived but understanding the inherent generational knowledge and wisdom in those collections of stories. His work has championed Tuscarora ethnographer J.N.B. Hewitt’s work on Iroquois Cosmologies in published works such as Rousing a Curiosity in Hewitt’s Iroquois Cosmologies. The tension between orality and textuality exists as large questions for White; though he is guided by and consults regularly with community members and scholars alike—as witnessed in his co-authored article La Salle and Seneca Creation 1678. As a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) scholar, his work, research, and curiosity are guided by community, cultural values, and a Haudenosaunee lens of analysis—often arguing that much of the epistemological frameworks were dismissed, particularly in the salvage ethnography period—when a majority of culture work was done historically.
White is currently working on his first book, Revisiting Hewitt’s Iroquois Cosmology Part I. In which he is working to adjust and lightly edit the original texts published in 1903—but largely unavailable outside of academic institutions. Hewitt’s work in Part I were the baseline for comparison to the other thirty-five versions in White’s dissertation thesis. White hopes to repatriate the epistemological knowledge contained in the three language versions to Grand River and other Haudenosaunee communities.
White is working with the Six Nations Grand River community in the Deskaheh Project and Waugh Story Collection—two community-based projects. Dr. White and Dr. Susan Hill, Director of the Centre for Indigenous Studies were awarded a Jackman Humanities Institute Scholars-in-Residence award to work with five undergraduate students and the Six Nations Grand River community Deskaheh project transcribing letters involving Deskaheh’s attempts to address and seek membership for the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee in the League of Nations; and it’s direct path to the passage of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007.
Fields of Study:
- Haudenosaunee Creation narratives and Storytelling
- Haudenosaunee Culture, History, and Knowledge Systems
- Indigenous Studies, North American focus
- Indigenous Religions and Spiritualities
Areas of Interest:
- Revitalization Movements
- Cosmological and other Sacred Narratives
- Indigenous Studies, North America
- Food Knowledge and Sovereignty
- History of the Study of Indigenous Peoples
- Decolonial Work in Orality
- Decolonization of Indigenous Culture from the Salvage Ethnography period
- Critiquing Western Religions and Colonization
- Understanding the role Western Religion plays in Colonization