Refuge and support: Historical Archaeologies of Multiracial Native American and African American Sites and Communities

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  • Community Archaeology, Essentializing Identity, and Racializing the Past (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Bradley D Phillippi. Eiryn Sheades.

    As anthropologically guided archaeologists, we like to think we are beyond searching for romanticized images of "Natives," "Africans," or any essentialized "other," but despite our best efforts, we still fall victim to its simplicity. Collaborating with descendent communities broadens our perspective, but their perceptions of the past and their ancestors can further complicate the dilemma. This paper explores two mixed-heritage communities in Setauket and Amityville, both on Long Island, New...

  • Constructed Differences And An Archaeology of Material Practices in Antebellum Communities of Color (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Russ Handsman.

    Slavery and the Atlantic economy created mixed Native/African communities in southeastern Massachusetts, a reality which widened after the Revolution. Historical archaeologists can deepen our understandings of the differences and interactions amongst such communities. As color lines became more rigid in such places, their inhabitants often made common cause. Yet the ancestral differences amongst them also lead to the emergence of groups of "coloured foreigners" on Indian reservations, mostly...

  • A Creole Synthesis: An Archaeology of the Mixed Heritage Silas Tobias Site in Setauket, New York (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christopher N. Matthews.

    Research on the Silas Tobias site in Setauket, New York has identified a small 19th century homestead with a well-preserved and stratified archaeological context. Documentation of the site establishes that the site was occupied from at least 1823 until about 1900. Based on documentary evidence, the Tobias family is considered African American, though the mixed Native American and African American heritage of the descendant community is also well-known. Excavations in 2015 exposed both...

  • The Cultural Pluralism of Indigenous and African American Households in Colonial New England (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephen Mrozowski.

    During the 18th and early 19th centuries many Native American women formed households with freed African Americans. Political forces surrounding issues of identity and federal recognition in the case of indigenous communities have complicated the historical narratives of these households. This paper outlines what the archaeology of such households can tell us about lives of those who faced and continue to face the vagaries of racism and the complicated nature of their responses to those forces....

  • Exploring Processes of Racialization in Nineteenth Century Nantucket, Massachusetts (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nedra K. Lee.

    As Nantucket, Massachusetts became the center of a global whaling industry in the nineteenth century, the island’s Native American and Black populations formed the mixed-race community of New Guinea.  The Nantucket African Meeting House played a critical role in New Guinea’s adoption of a shared African identity as it became the center of the community’s social and political activities.  Using archaeological materials from the African Meeting House and the neighboring Seneca Boston-Florence...

  • MAPPING MEMORIES OF FREETOWN: the Meanings of a Native American House in a Black Neighborhood (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Allison J.M. McGovern. Anjana Mebane-Cruz.

    The rediscovery of a 20th century Montaukett home in what is remembered as an "historically-black neighborhood" sheds new light on the silenced histories of people of color on Long Island. While efforts are underway to preserve and restore the Fowler house and property, the authors are working with residents, descendants, and community members to understand the relationships that formed around this property, and throughout the Freetown neighborhood. In this paper, landscape and space are...

  • The Origins of the Caribbean ‘Diaspora’: Archaeological Signatures of Forced Transfer of Indigenous Peoples in the Early Colonial Caribbean (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marlieke Ernst. Andrzej Antczak. Corinne Hofman.

    This paper focuses on the enslavement and displacement of indigenous peoples in early 16th century Caribbean. Historical sources mention the transfer of Amerindian and African enslaved peoples between different areas of Spanish Caribbean since Columbus’ landfall in 1492. Important sites of destination were the gold mines around Concepción de la Vega (Hispaniola) and the pearl fisheries of Nueva Cádiz (Cubagua), where colonial multicultural societies were created. Intercultural encounters...

  • Public Face and Private Life: Identity Through Ceramics at the Boston-Higginbotham House on Nantucket (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Victoria A Cacchione.

    As an African American-Native American family living on Nantucket in the late-18th and early-19th centuries, the household of Seneca Boston and Thankful Micah faced many challenges of race and class. Through their ceramic assemblage it becomes clear that in order to successfully navigate their diverse identities in a predominantly white society the Boston-Micah family adopted both a public and private persona. The presence of European manufactured ceramics such as hand painted and transfer...

  • Seeing African-Native American Identities Through Gendered, Multifocal Lenses (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only terrancw weik.

    African Seminole and African Chickasaw archaeologies present us with opportunities to explore the multiplicitousness of identity and facets such as gender that have cocreated social beings, material culture practices, and communities.  Much work remains to be done to address the silences and biases that chroniclers and scholars have perpetuated in their writings on enslaved people and women in Native American territories. Interpretation and analysis can be advanced by a theoretically plural...