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Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions

New Perspectives from Archaeology and Ethnohistory

Edited by Lee M. Panich and Tsim D. Schneider

Publication Year: 2014

Spanish missions in North America were once viewed as confining and stagnant communities, with native peoples on the margins of the colonial enterprise. Recent archaeological and ethnohistorical research challenges that notion. Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions considers how native peoples actively incorporated the mission system into their own dynamic existence. The book, written by diverse scholars and edited by Lee M. Panich and Tsim D. Schneider, covers missions in the Spanish borderlands from California to Texas to Georgia.

Offering thoughtful arguments and innovative perspectives, the editors organized the book around three interrelated themes. The first section explores power, politics, and belief, recognizing that Spanish missions were established within indigenous landscapes with preexisting tensions, alliances, and belief systems. The second part, addressing missions from the perspective of indigenous inhabitants, focuses on their social, economic, and historical connections to the surrounding landscapes. The final section considers the varied connections between mission communities and the world beyond the mission walls, including examinations of how mission neophytes, missionaries, and colonial elites vied for land and natural resources.

Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions offers a holistic view on the consequences of missionization and the active negotiation of missions by indigenous peoples, revealing cross-cutting perspectives into the complex and contested histories of the Spanish borderlands. This volume challenges readers to examine deeply the ways in which native peoples negotiated colonialism not just inside the missions themselves but also within broader indigenous landscapes. This book will be of interest to archaeologists, historians, tribal scholars, and anyone interested in indigenous encounters with colonial institutions.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-2

This volume began as a symposium titled “New Perspectives on Spanish Missions in the Indigenous Landscape” that we organized for the 44th annual conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology held in Austin, Texas, in January 2011. Many of the chapters are the extensions and...


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pp. 3-4

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1. Native Agency at the Margins of Empire: Indigenous Landscapes, Spanish Missions, and Contested Histories

Tsim D. Schneider and Lee M. Panich

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pp. 5-22

Between the late sixteenth and mid- nineteenth centuries, Catholic missionaries from Jesuit, Franciscan, and Dominican orders established and operated missions in what has come to be known as the Spanish Borderlands— extending from the Florida and Georgia coasts west to the...

Part I. Power, Politics, and Belief

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2. The Guale Uprising of 1597: An Archaeological Perspective from Mission Santa Catalina de Guale (Georgia)

Elliot H. Blair and David Hurst Thomas

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pp. 25-40

Franciscan missions provided a primary instrument for territorial conquest and stability across the Spanish Borderlands, which stretched from St. Augustine (Florida) westward to San Francisco (California). But the mission effort across the Borderlands in America has received decidedly mixed...

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3. Missionization, Negotiation, and Belief: The Role of the Acuera Chiefdom in Colonial Seventeenth-Century Florida

Willet A. Boyer III

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pp. 41-56

The editors’ introduction to this volume notes that “the overarching goal . . . is to highlight the agency of Native peoples living in the Spanish Borderlands of North America, where missions were the primary institution of colonization.” I consider this approach to mission studies to be an...

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4. Missions Untenable: Experiences of the Hasinai Caddo and the Spanish in East Texas

Paul Shawn Marceaux and Mariah F. Wade

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pp. 57-76

The establishment of Spanish colonial missions among the Hasinai Caddo of East Texas in the late seventeenth century marked a political and religious commitment to the territory east of Coahuila (for a discussion of Coahuila and the Texas- Mexico border, see chapter 6, this volume)...

Part II. External Connections

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5. Who Were the Guale?: Reevaluating Interaction in the Mission Town of San Joseph de Sapala

Christopher R. Moore and Richard W. Jefferies

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pp. 79-92

The discovery, identification, and excavation of Spanish towns, mission sites, and forts have long been emphases of early colonial historical and archaeological research on the Georgia and Florida coasts (Lanning 1935). Although this emphasis has started to shift in the last several de cades...

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6. “Countless Heathens”: Native Americans and the Spanish Missions of Southern Texas and Northeastern Coahuila

Tamra L. Walter and Thomas R. Hester

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pp. 93-113

As the Spanish frontier advanced into the region of South Texas and northeastern Mexico, Franciscan missionaries encountered nomadic hunter and gatherer bands that they were eager to convert. Already feeling the effects of European- introduced diseases, Native groups were also coping with...

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7. Indigenous Landscapes: Mexicanized Indians and the Archaeology of Social Networks in Alta California

Rubén G. Mendoza

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pp. 114-132

The indigenous landscapes of precontact California were decidedly diverse— both ecologically and culturally— and these were in turn cross- cut by an amazing array of language groups, traditional technologies, and economic, political, and social networks (Davis 1963; Farnsworth 1989...

Part III. Outside the Mission Walls

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8. Depriving God and the King of the Means of Charity: Early Nineteenth-Century Missionaries’ Views of Cattle Ranchers near Mission La Purísima, California

Glenn J. Farris

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pp. 135-153

This chapter focuses on the importance of the mission hinterlands as a source of foodstuffs for both the Indians who remained in their villages (rancherias) and those who actually took up residence in the missions. The subject matter resonates with the case study provided in chapter 6 of this...

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9. Points of Refuge in the South Central California Colonial Hinterlands

Julienne Bernard, David Robinson, and Fraser Sturt

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pp. 154-171

Colonial- era research, especially in the past two decades, has revealed the complexity and diversity of indigenous– Spanish interactions and the range of active, resistive, and dynamic responses to this period of enormous cultural and sociopolitical upheaval. As several papers in this collection...

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10. Toward a Historical Ecology of the Mission in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico

Mark T. Lycett

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pp. 172-188

During the seventeenth century, Pueblo people were subject to the active manipulation of a variety of colonial strategies. Through these, the Pueblo first became part of what Rodríguez (2006) has called “acequization,” or the proliferation of irrigation technologies linking Hispano and Pueblo...

Conclusion: Reflections on Spanish Missions in the Native Landscape

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11. A Cubist Perspective of Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions

Kent G. Lightfoot

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pp. 191-208

The goal of this concluding chapter of Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions: New Perspectives from Archaeology and Ethnohistory is to underscore how the contributors of this volume are breaking new ground in mission archaeology across the Spanish Borderlands of North America. This...

References Cited

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pp. 209-243


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pp. 244-249


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pp. 250-256

E-ISBN-13: 9780816598892
E-ISBN-10: 0816598894
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530519
Print-ISBN-10: 0816530513

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 7 photos, 12 illust, 6 tables
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 874965354
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions