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32402f18 - Introduction to Archaeology Class 18 Archaeology...

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Introduction to Archaeology: Class 18 Archaeology and Native Americans Copyright Bruce Owen 2002 Who are Native Americans in the US? when Europeans arrived, there were thousands of separate groups of Native Americans in the US speaking hundreds (thousands?) of languages and dialects extremely diverse, most mutually unintelligible these were people like any others, neither subhuman as some Europeans viewed them, nor “noble savages” some very large groups with complex and organized politics some built monumental architecture or large, permanent towns some had very sophisticated art and iconography some took and kept slaves many of the groups were at war within themselves or with other groups some stayed in the same region for many thousands of years, others moved around, captured territory from existing groups, etc. this was all terribly disrupted by plagues of European diseases then by Europeans taking over virtually all the land leaving some Native Americans on reservations and others to live among the Europeans and integrate, or not. through all this, lots of Native Americans married or had children with Europeans Most people who consider themselves Native Americans today have a lot of European (especially but not only hispanic) ancestors Most Native Americans today do not live on reservations Highly variable ethnic and political identification and activism but some are very serious about their ethnicity and culture and some (sometimes but not always the same ones) are very politically active demanding restitution and rights of various kinds like freedom from prohibitions against casinos on reservations in California so some Native American issues are not just cultural and religious, but have strong political and economic implications, too legal definition “Blood quotient”: must be able to show 1/16 Native American ancestry to have legal standing Federally recognized tribes an imperfect procedure some groups claim descent from real historical tribes but have not been federally recognized due to not doing the paperwork long ago due to complex and slow bureaucracy today due to inability to convince officials of the legal criteria
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Introduction to Archaeology F 2002 / Owen: Native Americans and archaeology p. 2 in at least one case (in Canada, but the same idea), it is now clear that a legally represented tribe was basically invented based on modern people’s misunderstanding of history there apparently never was such a tribe in that location was this a well-meaning mistake, or an intentional manipulation? US government does not impose any form of organization or governance within tribes so it is often unclear who actually can represent a tribe legally often factions, dissident groups, etc.
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