Born in 1965, Gerald Taiaiake Alfred is known for his scholarly work on Indigenous nationalism, Iroquois history and Indigenous traditions of government. While holding a Canada research Chair at the University of Victoria, Alfred, from Kahnawake in the Mohawk Nation, was touted as one of the most influential figures in a new generation of First Nations leaders. His history of Mohawk militancy and nationalism, Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors (1995), was followed by an extended essay on ethics and leadership entitled Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto (1999) and Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom (2005). Taiaiake is a Mohawk name meaning "He's Crossed Over from the Other Side."

In 2019, he announced his surprising resignation from the university on the grounds that he felt compelled to renounce his own "toxic masculinity." A UVic spokesperson confirmed he was no longer affiliated with UVic, having accepted an unspecified off-campus position in Victoria. “I have listened carefully to those who have criticized me and my work, and I have taken their messages to heart,” he wrote on his website, admitting he "embodied toxic masculinity." He said he would recommit to making positive contributions to the decolonization movement but "I know that even as an Indigenous man who has battled against racism and colonialism, I carry old and harmful ways of thinking." An Indigenous governance program was launched at UVic in September 1999 with 12 students. In 2017, UVic hired external experts to examine the learning environment after student concerns were raised. Admissions to the program were put on hold April of 2018. An internal report could not be released for privacy reasons.

Also known as Kanien'kehaka, Alfred was born at Tiohtie (Montreal) in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory where he has since served as an advisor on governance and land issues. Schooled by Jesuits, Alfred also had a stint as a machine-gunner in the U.S. Marine Corps. Alfred earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Concordia University in Montreal and a Master’s and PhD in comparative politics and political theory from Cornell University in New York state. While living in Songhees Nation Territory on southern Vancouver Island, he began his work as Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria. Indigenous Governance, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria BC  V8P 5C2 Canada.


Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors: Mohawk Politics and the Rise of Native Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 1995)

Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto (Oxford University Press, 1999, second edition 2009)

Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2005)

It's All About the Land: Collected Talks and Interviews on Indigenous Resurgence (AEVO UTP, 2023) $29.95 978-1487552831. Introduction by Ann Rogers.


Best Columns in a Native Publication, 2001 Native American Journalists Association

[BCBW 2023]