Indigenous Perspectives on Historical Archaeology of Colonialism

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2017

Colonial encounters between indigenous peoples and European state powers are overarching themes in the historical archaeology of the modern era. Postcolonial historical archaeology has repeatedly emphasized the complex two-way nature of colonial encounters. In this session, we focus on comparative indigenism – a theoretical approach which includes both emic and etic interpretations and compares indigenous cultures around the world. We hope to find common trajectories in indigenous colonial histories. We also wish to explore new ways to understand cultural contact, hybridization and power relations between indigenous peoples and colonial powers from the indigenous point of view. We hope to bring together researchers working on indigenous archaeology from all over the world to discuss new ways to

"provincialize" historical archaeology – to emphasize local histories and interpretations over Eurocentric ones

find new multivocal interpretations of colonial histories

understand the role of material culture in transformation of indigenous cultures in colonial contact.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-9 of 9)

  • Documents (9)

  • Colonial Encounters Reflected by the Contemporary Material Culture – Or What Happened When Miss Finland Wore a Sámi Clothing (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tiina Äikäs.

    In the studies of colonial relations, historical archaeology usually concentrates on the early encounters between European settlers and indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, colonial relations are evident in the contemporary culture too, e.g. in the use of indigenous symbols in commercial connections and in tourism. Archaeology can study also this contemporary colonialism through material culture. In this paper, I first give some background on the topic of the session, comparative indigenism – a...

  • Conquest of the South Sea: The Long-Term Historical Archaeology of the Port of Huatulco, Mexico (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Danny Zborover.

    In April of 1522, Pedro de Alvarado conquered and claimed the Port of Huatulco in the name of the Spanish King Carlos V. Among the best natural harbors on the Pacific Ocean, Huatulco soon became the main port-of-trade for the Hapsburgian Empire between New Spain, Central America, and Peru up until the late 16th century. But this conquest was only one of many-- and one of the last-- of such dramatic cycles of domination and colonialization in southern Mexico. Drawing from Indigenous documents...

  • Finding The Indigenous – A Study Of Locally Made Earthenware In Early Spanish Manila, The Philippines (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ellen Hsieh.

    The Spanish colonists created the first urban landscape in the Manila area during the late 16th century and certainly changed the lives of the Tagalog people. Although the ethnic-based residential policy makes it possible to compare lives of different groups in the colonial society, there are no archaeological sites representing indigenous settlements in the early colonial period to date. This paper shows that locally made earthenware found in non-indigenous settlements sheds light on the...

  • Finishes and Flourishes: Ceramic Encounters at the Edges of Empire in Spanish Colonial Central Mexico (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lisa M Overholtzer.

    Spanish colonialism introduced a host of new pottery types to Indigenous peoples in central Mexico, creating material entanglements not present in the preceding Aztec imperial context. However, the possibilities afforded by these newly-arrived objects were not inevitable. This paper examines how several households at the peripheral Indigenous town of Xaltocan selectively and creatively consumed, appropriated, ignored, and rejected Spanish iconographic and technological elements. This analysis...

  • Icelanders, Germans and Danes – Triangulating colonial encounters in Iceland during the 15th to 17th centuries (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Natascha Mehler.

    During the 15th to the 17th centuries, many Germans from Hamburg and Bremen spent their summer in the many trading stations along the extensive coast lines of Iceland. Although Iceland was a part of the kingdom of Denmark, German merchants and sailors, clerics and physicians dominated economic and cultural life, granted by Danish authorities. The paper tries to untackle the different colonial aspects and explores the triangular power relations between Icelanders, Germans and Danes in the early...

  • Seeking the Indigenous Perspective: Colonial Interactions, Archaeology and Ethnohistory at Fort St. Pierre, 1719-1729, Vicksburg, Mississippi (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only LisaMarie Malischke.

    French Fort St. Pierre was a completely failed colonial endeavor from start to finish. Applying a post-colonial approach to the site, I realized that the power dynamic between the French ‘colonizers’ and the ‘colonized’ Yazoo, Koroa, and Ofogoula peoples was essentially reversed. To understand this reversed power dynamic from an indigenous viewpoint, I took an ethnohistorical approach to the written record. To understand the events that unfolded between the French and Native peoples of the Yazoo...

  • Sámi animal offering rituals in Fennoscandia: Religious change and local responses to colonial contact (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anna-Kaisa Salmi.

    The paper focuses on the archaeology of religious ritual of the Sámi, an indigenous group populating the northern parts of Fennoscandia. I will discuss how religious ritual, especially animal offerings, transformed in response to colonial contact with the Swedish and Norwegian settlers. The animal offerings, given to negotiate success in hunting, fishing, and reindeer husbandry among other things, reflected the shifting economic and religious importance of various animal species. I will argue...

  • "Their complaint was that they did not get enough to eat": Landscape of Child Labor at the Blackfeet Boarding School, Montana (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William White. Brandi E. Bethke.

    The boarding school system of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was designed by the United States government as a formal program to eradicate Native American cultural identities and lifeways. It was a system that removed Native children from their families and forced them into to a way of life that garishly clashed with their traditional beliefs and culture. One of the primary goals of the Cut Bank Boarding School on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana was to transform...

  • The ‘Very Stillness of Things’: Object Biographies of Sailcloth and Fishing Net from the Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission (Burgiyana) Colonial Archive, South Australia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maddy E Fowler. Amy L Roberts. Lester-Irabinna Rigney.

    This paper details the discovery of early 20th century sailcloth and fishing net samples pertaining to the lives of Aboriginal peoples on Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission (Burgiyana). Biographies for the samples are explored, from which it is argued that these objects may have many viewpoints assigned to them. The sailcloth and fishing net samples allow the telling of complex stories from the past and present. These stories include the resilience, adaptability and strength of Narungga culture...