Presentation on theme: "Who are the Indians? Defining the real object of archaeological study."— Presentation transcript:
Who are the Indians? Defining the real object of archaeological study
To say that Europeans (or Chinese!) discovered America must be an unbelievable joke to Native Americans— Their existence has had tremendous significance for European and Euroamerican philosophical thought, politics and economics
—and still is!
Their existence has had tremendous significance for European and Euroamerican philosophical thought, politics and economics. But claiming the Americas for Spain brought almost unimaginable tragedy to the Indians.
Intellectual Excitement— Ethnocentric Interpretation 16th century intellectuals were profoundly excited, and their imaginations were stirred, raising a number of pressing questions 1. Who are the Indians? Varied and plentiful answers 2. Where did they come from? Were they children of God? The historic Papal Bull of Pope Paul III in 1537 and the work of Antonio de Montesinos and Bartolomé de las Casas, Indians were declared to be human beings, which must have been news to "the people“ Implication was that they should be missionized…and they were. Heavily.
1582: Pedro de Lievano Dean of the Cathedral of Guatemala ‘what causes the Indian to die and diminish in number are secret judgments of God beyond the reach of men’ 1620: Bradford, Colonist ‘the good hand of God favored our beginnings by sweeping away great multitudes of the natives…that he might make room for us’ 1630: Cotton Mather, Puritan Elder ‘the Book of Genesis authorizes the descendants of Adam or Noah to come inhabit where there is a vacant place without purchase or permission’ Some ideas, with damaging consequences Cotton Mather William Bradford
1763, PA: ‘you will do well to try to innoculate the Indians by means of blankets as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this exorable race ‘…we gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect’ 1881 Henry Price, US Commissioner of Indian Affairs “Savage and civilized life cannot live and prosper on the same ground. One of the two must die…we are fifty millions of people, and they are only one-fourth of one million. The few must yield to the many” 1885: Lyman Abott, reformer: –“It is sometimes said that the Indian occupied this country and that we took it away from them; that the country belonged to them. This is not true. The Indians did not occupy this land. A people do not occupy a country simply because they roam over it…the Indians can scarcely be said to have occupied this country more than the bisons and buffalo they hunted. Three hundred thousand people have no right to hold a continent and keep at bay a race able to people it…”
Diseases in ‘New World’ and ‘Old World’ Huge depopulation impact from diseases Endemic: TB, dysentery, staph and strep Epidemic: smallpox, measles, diphtheria, typus, typhoid, bubonic plague, malaria : Smallpox killed 4,000 out of 10,000 Comanche Early 1830s: Pawnee lost half of their population of 20,000, Mandan, Arikara, Hidatsa from 35,000 to under 2,000 Smallpox – an ancient ‘childhood disease’ 1700s: 10-15% deaths in Western Europe 80% of deaths under the age of 10 70% under the age of 2 Impact: 90-95% Mortality What were the effects and repercussions of epidemic devastation? Major shifts in social life, family life, economy, politics, religion, psychology
What were the effects and repercussions of epidemic devastation? Major shifts in social life, family life, economy, politics, religion, psychology Many long-term traditions lost See ‘Timeline of European Disease Epidemics Among American Indians’‘Timeline of European Disease Epidemics Among American Indians’ Images Both from Jaune Quick-to-See SmithJaune Quick-to-See Smith Top: Paper Dolls for a Post-Columbian World with Ensembles Contributed by the U.S. Government, in the Eiteljorg Museum Bottom: Famous Names
But like it or not, as Children of God, The implication was that they should be missionized…and they were. Heavily.
—and still are! St. Labre Mission, Montana St. Joseph Indian School, South Dakota
There have always been complex threads of thought regarding Indians. The early views: They were not in the Bible, therefore were not human, but were the spawn of Satan. They were human and children of God who needed to be brought to God. They were descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel. They were destroyers of the lost race of Moundbuilders. They descendants of people who had migrated across the Bering Straits.
The Moundbuilder Myth 1.Explorers who were used a natural scientific approach which is still reflected in the fact that Indians and archaeology tend to be in natural history museums instead of history museums 2. Most were not directly on the scene or as involved Armchair explorers using a literary approach
Indians became objects of natural history Thomas Jefferson cautioned Lewis and Clark to "treat [the Indians] in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit." Many ethnographic objects were painstakingly gathered, described, and preserved for their journey east. Hide clothing, woven hats, buffalo robes, calumets, feather badges, baskets, bows and arrows, and ornaments, like the natural history specimens, were carefully prepared to make the journey to the nation's capitol. Jefferson transferred some of the expedition materials to the Peale museum, retaining others at his home, Monticello. At Monticello, artifacts from the Corps of Discovery were displayed in Jefferson's "Indian Hall," along with other objects given to or collected by Jefferson.
—and still are! Indiana State Museum Natural History Pages Biology Geology Historical Archaeology Prehistoric Archaeology Vertebrate Paleobiology and Quaternary Studies Note that Indians are right there with the rocks and extinct animals!
Indians weren’t taken out of the museum cabinet of curiosities until 1989! The National Museum of the American Indian Act (PL ) was passed in NMAI opened in Before then Indian materials had been in the National Museum of Natural History.
Were Indians Disappearing? The view by the 1800s Whatever their origins, the dominant view is that Indians would be disappearing soon after the turn of the 20 th Century Countless paintings were based on a sculpture, The End of the Trail, by James Earle Fraser,
Most Americans still have that view
Frank Hamilton Cushing Lewis Henry Morgan Salvage Ethnography An 1889 photograph of Chief Joseph speaking to ethnologist Alice Cunningham Fletcher Francis Densmore Francis LaFlesche James Mooney
Salvage Archaeology John Wesley Powell Cyrus Thomas Jesse Walter Fewkes William Henry Holmes
When Indians became “objects of historic or scientific interest” American Antiquities Act of USC Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bonafied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States. Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums. Approved, June 8, 1906
In his 1839 Crania Americana, anthropologist Samuel George Morton reported that the mean cranial capacity of the skulls of Whites was 87 in³ (1,425 cm³), while that of Blacks was 78 in³ (1,278 cm³).Samuel George Morton Based on the measurement of 144 skulls of Native Americans, he reported an a figure of 82 in³ (1,344 cm³). Samuel G. Morton ( ) Crania Americana, 1839 Skulls and Bones The Development of Craniometry
Morton’s descriptions of Native Americans The American Race is marked by a brown complexion; long, black, lank hair; and deficient beard. The eyes are black and deep set, the brow low, the cheekbones high, the nose large and aquiline, the mouth large, and the lips tumid [swollen] and compressed.... In their mental character the Americans are averse to cultivation, and slow in acquiring knowledge; restless, revengeful, and fond of war, and wholly destitute of maritime adventure. They are crafty, sensual, ungrateful, obstinate and unfeeling, and much of their affection for their children may be traced to purely selfish motives. They devour the most disgusting [foods] uncooked and uncleaned, and seem to have no idea beyond providing for the present moment.... Their mental faculties, from infancy to old age, present a continued childhood.... [Indians] are not only averse to the restraints of education, but for the most part are incapable of a continued process of reasoning on abstract subjects.... See a simulation of Morton’s techniques for measuring cranial capacity at
The Skull Collecting Frenzy By order of the Surgeon General, September 1st, The officers of the medical staff are informed that a craniological collection was commenced last... The chief purpose had in view in forming this collection is to aid in the progress... will evince even greater zeal in collecting for their own muse ums... It is chiefly desired to procure a sufficiently large series of adult crania of the principal Indian tribes to furnish accurate average measurements. That single request resulted in the collection of some 4,000 skulls. Brought to the point of destruction by starvation, war and disease, Native Americans were seen as a doomed people. A collecting frenzy began, driven by the romantic notion that a vanishing culture could be saved. Dozens of museums were built to house the collections, where the remains have rested until now. US Army Medical Museum Skull Collection
Ales Hrdlicka Franz Boas poses for a model of a Kwakiutl dancer (ca. 1900). Franz Boas was noted for stating that it was "most unpleasant work to steal bones from graves, but what is the use, someone has to do it." When four Eskimos died at the American Museum of Natural History in 1896, Hrdlicka directed that all four be macerated, boiled, and reduced to skeletons at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University." The remains were then sent to the museum's collection where they could be studied. “…but what is the use, someone has to do it."
The idea of skull measurements and race haven’t really gone away [Kennewick] man lacks definitive characteristics of the classic mongoloid stock to which modern Native Americans belong. The skull is dolichocranic (cranial index 73.8) rather than brachycranic, the face narrow and prognathous rather than broad and flat. Cheek bones recede slightly and lack an inferior zygomatic projection; the lower rim of the orbit is even with the upper. Other features are a long, broad nose that projects markedly from the face and high, round orbits. The mandible is v-shaped,with a pronounced, deep chin. Many of these characteristics are definitive of modern-day caucasoid peoples, while others, such as the orbits are typical of neither race. Dental characteristics fit Turner's (1983) Sundadont pattern, indicating possible relationship to south Asian peoples. James Chatters James Chatters & Kennewick reconstruction
What can be said about physical variation? Stereotypic—Red-brown skin, dark brown eyes, prominent cheek bones, straight black hair, and scantiness of beard—but huge variation Skin color—Very light in some tribes, as the Cheyenne, to almost black in others, as the Caddo and Tarimari. In a few tribes, as the Flatheads, the skin has a distinct yellowish cast. Hair—varies dramatically in amount, texture & color Eyes—Generally dark Body shape—great variation in height, weight, physique Blood type—generally O Other features—shove-shaped incisors, Inca bones, but these are variable Size—a wide range, from 5.5 to 6.5 feet tall
So, who is an Indian? Ways to define “Indianness” Population Legal Indians are from now, not just back then! We need to understand that in spite of all the hardships of contact, there has been continuity. John-Bennett-Herrington- Chickasaw Nation (Commander,-USN)NASA Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Northern Cheyenne Winona LaDuke, Environmental activist, 2004 Green Party VP Candidate, White Earth Anishinabeg (Ojibwe)
US Census: Person having origins in any of the original peoples of North, Central and South America and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. Includes people who self-reported ‘American Indian and Alaska Native’ or wrote their principal or enrolled tribe Who gets counted as being Indian? Self-Identification Card-carrying Indians and tribal rolls Blood quantum DNA
Race on the 2000 census is by self-identification
Enrollment requirements Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 1977 Supreme Court ruled that no federal agency or any entity except an Indian tribe could determine who its people are. For even longer, the Sup. Ct. has held that Indian nationhood & tribal citizenry are political, not racial matters An exercise of Tribal SOVEREIGNTY Blood Quantum – Navajo 1/4 Lineage Social/Cultural – connection to the community? Speak the language? Have a name from the tribe? Cherokee: Eastern Band: 1/16 Blood quantum Oklahoma bands: lineage Tribes didn’t always have BQ enrollment requirements: Used to adopt other members from other tribes or non-Indians Kinship rather than blood Enrollment evolved to provide fair distribution of benefits: land, resources, voting, compensation, etc. Examples of group identity criteria
American Indian and Alaska Native Population in 2004 (as single race): 2,151,322
Distribution of Native American Languages
Language Variation For such a small population, Indian languages are extremely diverse. 57 families grouped into 9 macro-families or phyla 300 distinct languages 2000 dialects California—at least 20 families West of Rockies—17 more Rest of the continent—20 more Several sign and trade languages Today English is the most commonly spoken language, and many native languages are gone or will soon be so.
Indian Views of Land Stereotypes abound regarding Indian views of land. Generally: Land could not be individually owned Land could be controlled by family units, such as clans The operating principle was usufruct The earth was sacred and to be cared for, but it could be used, albeit carefully. Mother Earth seems a common concept, but it has been called into question. Sacred places were a key; sacredness can be difficult to understand
For information about Indian views of land and environment, see Native Americans and the Environment.Native Americans and the Environment Assorted land images…
Cultures Areas or Food Areas?
The Culture Area Concept
The Problem with Culture Areas Actually, these categories have entered into the popular culture in a big way. They are now the main descriptors of Indian groups. One needs to question whether it is still a useful concept: It may be that it locks Indian groups in time, using descriptions of groups at the time of Contact. Pan-Indian cultural activities and massive influences of media have "blended" lots of cultural traits.--Plains and Southwest stereotypes are dominant Doesn't account for the ability of groups to adjust to white and other Indian influence.
Kinship was the social organization core for most Indian nations Small scale societies Initially after first habitation, small populations of hunters and gatherers were the norm. Most were nomadic, with small populations of +/- 200 Major unit was extended family, usually patricentric Microband/macroband seasonality Groups were nearly acehpalous (without a head), but leaders developed with achieved status Mostly egalitarian, with rule by consensus These patterns survived until well past European Contact especially in marginal areas or those with minimal contact.
Hunting and Gathering Life
Settled village life Greater emphasis on gathering and use of cultivars caused changes circa 7,000 years ago Cultivars and intensive gathering allowed small surpluses Surpluses allowed larger surpluses and more settled life In the rich eastern woodlands, Primary Forest Efficiency allowed substantially larger populations (+/- 1000) Beginnings of social stratification Still kinship based and some use of micro/macroband in marginal areas Kin based, clan structured organization still mostly patricentric
Horticulture has a 3000 year history in Indian Country
Horticulture brought major changes After 3000 BP, emphasis on domesticated plants allowed greater surpluses With surpluses came dramatic population growth ( ,000) in villages and “cities” Gardening shifts cultural emphasis to matricentric Large populations keep clan structures, but often added a layer of social control at chiefdom level Social stratification became substantial A shift toward urban life Emergence of “pre-state” structures
Changes in Social Structure since Contact Detribalization, migration, and urbanization Reservation and social structure Kinship and the family Political resurgence - reservations as a power base Contemporary political organization - tribal and urban
Courses toward urban life
A very wide range of social organizations and political ideologies at European Contact Social organization ranged from nomadic, patricentric, egalitarian hunters and gatherers with completely kin-based systems to nearly urban, socially stratified, matricentric horticulturalists with both kin and non-kin-based systems. Much of this broke down during the next 500 years. Social organization is still in flux. At Contact, there was immense diversity
What do we know about Indians? A lot—yes, but much of it is wrong or at least there is another view Etic vs. emic Outside vs. inside Real vs. ideal Scientific epistemologies vs. traditional epistemologies So, then, do we really know much about Indians? Yes, but mostly from a scientific perspective Knowing what it means to be Indian is a very different matter! Knowing that our archaeologically derived scientific perspectives have an impact on contemporary Indians is crucial for us to understand!