There's No Such Thing as "Prehistory": What the Longue Durée of Caddo and Pueblo History Tells Us about Colonial America
- The William and Mary Quarterly
- Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
- Volume 74, Number 2, April 2017, 3rd series
- pp. 203-240
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- Additional Information
Caddo and Pueblo responses first to the rise and fall of Cahokia and Chaco and then to Spanish colonialism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries reveal how the centuries of history generated by these Native places and people must be reckoned with in order to understand the historical trajectories that they set in motion and that still reverberated in 1492 … and 1592, and 1692. Such a project involves putting potsherds and oral traditions on an equal playing field with archival documents. And, more critically, it involves a question of time. The key here is to see "colonial America" as one point, a late point, along a much longer continuum of North American history. If we place colonialism within the greater timescale of indigenous history, we may avoid the confines of a history that all too often casts the post-1492 trajectory of American Indians as one defined by decimation and declension. A longer time depth allows us to put both destruction and regeneration in context, and it reminds us that the heritage of colonialism that reaches into our present is paralleled—and shaped—by the heritage of indigenous history.