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Crafting History in the Northern Plains

A Political Economy of the Heart River Region, 1400–1750

Mark D. Mitchell

Publication Year: 2013

The histories of post-1500 American Indian and First Nations societies reflect a dynamic interplay of forces. Europeans introduced new technologies, new economic systems, and new social forms, but those novelties were appropriated, resisted, modified, or ignored according to indigenous meanings, relationships, and practices that originated long before Europeans came to the Americas. A comprehensive understanding of the changes colonialism wrought must therefore be rooted in trans-Columbian native histories that span the centuries before and after the advent of the colonists.
In Crafting History in the Northern Plains Mark D. Mitchell illustrates the crucial role archaeological methods and archaeological data can play in producing trans-Columbian histories. Combining an in-depth analysis of the organization of stone tool and pottery production with ethnographic and historical data, Mitchell synthesizes the social and economic histories of the native communities located at the confluence of the Heart and Missouri rivers, home for more than five centuries to the Mandan people.
Mitchell is the first researcher to examine the impact of Mandan history on the developing colonial economy of the Northern Plains. In Crafting History in the Northern Plains, he demonstrates the special importance of native history in the 1400s and 1500s to the course of European colonization.
The histories of post-1500 American Indian and First Nations societies reflect a dynamic interplay of forces. Europeans introduced new technologies, new economic systems, and new social forms, but those novelties were appropriated, resisted, modified, or ignored according to indigenous meanings, relationships, and practices that originated long before Europeans came to the Americas. A comprehensive understanding of the changes colonialism wrought must therefore be rooted in trans-Columbian native histories that span the centuries before and after the advent of the colonists.
In Crafting History in the Northern Plains Mark D. Mitchell illustrates the crucial role archaeological methods and archaeological data can play in producing trans-Columbian histories. Combining an in-depth analysis of the organization of stone tool and pottery production with ethnographic and historical data, Mitchell synthesizes the social and economic histories of the native communities located at the confluence of the Heart and Missouri rivers, home for more than five centuries to the Mandan people.
Mitchell is the first researcher to examine the impact of Mandan history on the developing colonial economy of the Northern Plains. In Crafting History in the Northern Plains, he demonstrates the special importance of native history in the 1400s and 1500s to the course of European colonization.

Published by: University of Arizona Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-x

List of Tables

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pp. xi-xii

Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xviii

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1. Archaeology, Native History, and Colonialism

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pp. 1-18

For most of the twentieth century, historians and social scientists studying colonial-era native culture change in North America asked a seemingly straightforward research question: How were indigenous societies affected by the advent of Europeans? After all, they reasoned, American Indians and First Nations peoples, sole possessors of the continent in 1500, were by 1900 mostly confined to isolated reservations, their numbers dwindling...

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2. Writing Archaeological Histories

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pp. 19-44

A broad interest in historical analysis is one of the most important trends in archaeology today (Arkush 2011). But special circumstances blunt this trend’s influence on the study of recent native societies. Among archaeologists studying time periods remote from Europe’s colonial expansion, debate on the value and content of history is part and parcel of a long-running intellectual contest within the discipline itself (e.g., Hodder...

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3. Prior Heart Region Histories

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pp. 45-55

New historical questions reference established views of the past. Two histories in particular shape archaeologists’ thinking about the Middle Missouri’s native farmers. These histories are influential because they offer coherent frameworks for explaining long-term changes, including those indigenous societies experienced during the centuries spanning the advent of Europeans. Other histories exist, but they are concerned mainly with events and...

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4. The People on the Bank: Community and Economy in the Heart Region, 1200–1750

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pp. 56-90

Aggregated farming villages—compact settlements housing at least 100 people—first appeared in the southern part of the Middle Missouri subarea in the eleventh century (Johnson 2007a; Tiffany 2007a; Toom 1992a). Archaeologists assign these settlements to a culture-historical unit called the Initial variant of the Middle Missouri tradition. Like other Plains farmers, Middle Missouri–tradition groups practiced a mixed hunting...

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5. Building an Archive for Archaeological History in the Heart Region

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pp. 91-135

Because archaeological assemblages possess two distinct temporal properties—age and duration—archaeologists need to consider both chronological and formation process data when assembling material archives for answering archaeological historical questions. The northern Middle Missouri archive consists of “analytic units” that merge individual provenience lots sharing spatial, depositional, and temporal attributes. For...

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7. Pottery Production in the Heart Region, 1400–1750

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pp. 136-163

Inferences about the organization of stone tool production bolster the conclusion drawn from settlement and subsistence data that economic productivity increased in the Heart region beginning in the mid-to- late 1400s. The stone tool data further show that intensification continued in the 1500s and 1600s. Data on the organization of ceramic production can be compared to the stone tool production data to gauge the breadth and...

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8. An Archaeological History of the Heart River Region

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pp. 164-208

Menoken Village, the founding of Extended Middle Missouri communities in the Heart region in the 1200s nevertheless was a watershed that inaugurated many of the economic, social, and cultural traditions Northern Plains farmers would reiterate for 30 generations. Central to this new configuration was aggregated village life itself (Wood 1974). In many parts of the ...

Appendix 1. Time, Space, and Taxonomy in the Northern Middle Missouri

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pp. 209-215

Appendix 2. Site Data

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pp. 216-226

References Cited

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pp. 227-262

Index

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pp. 263-269

About the Author

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p. 289-289


E-ISBN-13: 9780816599837
E-ISBN-10: 0816599831
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816521296
Print-ISBN-10: 0816521298

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 51 figures, 27 tables
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: The Archaeology of Colonialism in Native
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- First contact with Europeans -- North Dakota -- Heart River Region.
  • Indians of North America -- North Dakota -- Heart River Region -- Antiquities.
  • Indians of North America -- Colonization -- North Dakota -- Heart River Region.
  • Ethnohistory -- North Dakota -- Heart River Region.
  • Social archaeology -- North Dakota -- Heart River Region.
  • Social change -- North Dakota -- Heart River Region.
  • Heart River Region (N.D.) -- Antiquities.
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