Revisiting Like-A-Fishhook: Coalescence and Community on the Missouri River, North Dakota

Author(s): Wendi Field Murray

Year: 2015


Critical attention to the concept of "community" in archaeological research over the last decade has recast communities from homogeneous groups of people living at a site to emergent networks of social interaction that both derive from and are reproduced by a sense of common interest and affiliation (Wernke 2007). Coalescent communities are in a constant state of becoming, as residents must continuously negotiate aspects of their identities in ways that mitigate conflict. Historical records describing the coalescence of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people at Like-A-Fishhook village in North Dakota during the nineteenth century often refer to it as the "uniting" of these tribes, implying a sense of community that has never been critically examined. Integrating archaeological, archival, and ethnographic data, this paper problematizes the essentialized Like-A-Fishhook "community" construct that permeates the written record. I resituate the village as an "imagined community" (Anderson 1991), in which the threat of a common enemy (the Dakota), the shared experience of epidemic devastation, and the imposition of a singular "tribal" identity by the U.S. government created an ideological-historical (rather than a socio-spatial) basis for long-term co-residence.

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Cite this Record

Revisiting Like-A-Fishhook: Coalescence and Community on the Missouri River, North Dakota. Wendi Field Murray. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397280)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;