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Exhibiting Native American Cultures: Points of Contact Museum Studies Special Topics, A460/560 Larry J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., RPA Indiana University-Purdue.

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Presentation on theme: "Exhibiting Native American Cultures: Points of Contact Museum Studies Special Topics, A460/560 Larry J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., RPA Indiana University-Purdue."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exhibiting Native American Cultures: Points of Contact Museum Studies Special Topics, A460/560 Larry J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., RPA Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis An Overview of American Indian Diversity

2 The functional prerequisites of culture People Language Territory/Technology Social Organization Ideology (belief systems)

3 The People

4 America's native population in 1492 Most people lived south of the Rio Grande River with total hemispheric populations as high as 75,000,000 North America—lower populations Henry Dobyns —18,000,000 Ubelaker & Thornton —1,800,000 Thornton—7,000,000 Most now accept that on the eve of European Contact populations was less than 10,000,000

5 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 1815-1816: 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

6 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

7 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

8 Race on the 2000 census is by self-identification

9 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

10 Contemporary Populations



13 Total Reporting: 2,475,956100% Cherokee281,06911.4% Navajo269,20210.9 Sioux108,272 4.4 Chippewa105,907 4.3 Choctaw 87,349 3.5 Pueblo 59,533 2.4 Apache 57,060 2.3 Lumbee 51,913 2.1 Iroquois45,212 1.8 All other tribal groupings753,40624% More than 1 tribe rptd 52,4252.1 No tribal affiliation rptd511,96020.7 The 10 Largest American Indian tribal groupings in the US

14 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

15 Languages

16 Distribution of Native American Languages

17 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 Today English is the most commonly spoken language, and many native languages are gone or will soon be so.

18 Territory and Technology

19 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

20 From Chief Seattle’s speech 1854 * ‘Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.’ *For complete text of the speech see Do be aware that there is controversy about this speech. See About the Chief Seattle Speech. the Chief Seattle Speech. Suquamish Chief Seattle

21 "The common field is the seat of barbarism, while the separate farm is the door to civilization. Sen. Henry Dawes, Massachusetts He also noted that selfishness was the root of advanced civilization, and he could not understand why the Indians were not motivated to possess and achieve more than their neighbors Congress sought to break up Indian communal lands by giving Indian families 160 acres of land, backed by a 25-year tax-free trust from the government. At the end of the term, Indians could either keep the land or sell it. In 1887, the tribes had owned about 138 million acres; by 1900 the total acreage in Indian hands had fallen to 78 million Dawes Severalty Act. (1887) See the precise language of the law at Henry Dawes



24 For information about Indian views of land and environment, see Native Americans and the Environment.Native Americans and the Environment Assorted land images…

25 The Culture Area Concept

26 Cultures Areas or Food Areas?

27 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.

28 Social Organization

29 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.

30 Hunting and Gathering Life

31 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

32 Horticulture has a 3000 year history in Indian Country

33 Horticulture brought major changes After 3000 BP, emphasis on domesticated plants allowed greater surpluses With surpluses came dramatic population growth (1000- 30,000) 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

34 Courses toward urban life

35 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

36 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

37 The Indian Wars: Resistance was futile

38 The Reservation Period

39 Churches attacked both family structure and belief systems

40 Boarding School Blues1 Words and Music by Floyd Red Crow Westerman You put me in your boarding school filled me with your White man’s rules Be a fool ay hey hey hey heya You put me in Chicago one cold and windy day Relocation Extermination ay hey hey hey heya You took me from my home, my friend Think I’ll go back there again Wounded Knee Want to be free ay hey hey hey heya2. Boarding Schools attacked family structure

41 The Depression and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934

42 Indians as U.S. citizens, 1924 President Calvin Coolidge with four Osage Indians after Coolidge signed the granting Indians full U.S. citizenship

43 The impact of World War II

44 Getting something back: The Indian Claims Commission US—1946 Canada—1991Canada—1991 but with earlier versions since 1927

45 Termination and Relocation

46 Activism and the resurgence of tribal power

47 1970s Activism

48 Casinos and economic resurgence

49 Ideology

50 Pre-contact belief systems Animatism: belief in a supernatural power not part of supernatural beings Animism: belief that natural objects are animated by spirits the spirits are thought of as having identifiable personalities and other characteristics such as gender Everything in nature has a unique spirit or all are animated by the same spirit or force Both present in some societies For Native Americans, animism dominates We see some evidence in material remains, but most information comes from post-Contact ethnography

51 Variations Ancestral spirits After death, spirits retain an active interest and even membership in their family and society. Like living people, they can have emotions, feelings, and appetites. They must be treated well to assure their continued good will and help to the living. Gods/goddesses Powerful supernatural beings with individual identities and recognizable attributes Rare in Native America—Creator, Mother Earth, but these are often ill-defined Hero/trickster figures Beings with some supernatural abilities such as transformation—coyote, raven, spider are examples

52 Time and Cosmology The power of the circle Cyclical nature of time The sacred directions Sacred colors Medicine Wheels abound on the Plains Quillwork medicine wheel Ojibwe lodge Pawnee lodge

53 Belief system change did occur Beliefs form a stable core, but do adapt to natural and social environments Example: Old vs new Lakota beliefs Inyan Kara—rock maker White Buffalo Calf Woman and the spread of the calumet (pipe) Bison herd near Wind Cave, where Iktomi tricked the people into coming from the underground

54 Post-Contact ideology Contact and syncretism Nativistic movements The Good Message of Handsome Lake A syncretic combination of traditional Seneca and Quaker beliefs and practices Purpose: to draw the Seneca back toward “the old ways” and to “protect” them from whites

55 Revitalization movements The Ghost Dance (see Edison 1894 film)see Edison 1894 film Bole-maru, California Pawnee ghost dance drum Wovoka with Plains delegation

56 The Christian struggle for control Grant’s reservation policy and churches Boarding schools and breakdown of families Bans on many religious practices Woodrow Crumbow--Sundance

57 The Native American Church Peyote cactus For a good history, see the Religious Movements page on NACReligious Movements page on NAC Peyote song: Primeaux and Mike

58 American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 Title 42 - The Public Health and Welfare Chapter 21 - Civil Rights SubChapter I - Generally American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 § 1996. Protection and preservation of traditional religions of Native Americans On and after August 11, 1978, it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.

59 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

60 Pan-Indian Trends Powwow Eklutna (Alaska) Annual Powwow Crow Fair, Montana Gathering of Nations, Albuquerque

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