Persistence and Change: Evidence from the Indian Rancheria at the Third Mission Santa Clara de Asis


Recent archaeological excavations within the Indian Rancheria at Mission Santa Clara de Asís have uncovered a dense accumulation of Mission Period refuse, most conspicuously cattle bone. Analysis of these remains suggests a "matanza-like" event that was geared primarily toward supplying the indigenous community with beef. A variety of wild foods, especially fish and waterfowl, was also recovered. This variety suggests that mission Indians devoted considerable time, energy, and effort in securing their traditional resources. Analysis of the artifact assemblage suggests a similar scenario. Mission Indians were introduced to European tools; however, these new implements did not supplant the already existing Native material culture. The indigenous population continued to work stone, bone, shell, and fiber, while, at the same time, often using these new metal implements in wholly indigenous ways. Taken together, the evidence suggests that at least some Native values and lifeways persisted despite the constraints of the colonial system. Indeed, this evidence suggests that the Native inhabitants within the mission, rather than undergoing what some scholars have deemed a "cultural extinction", actively engaged and negotiated the constraints of European colonialism. We argue that this negotiation can best be viewed as a dynamic process of both change and persistence.

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Cite this Record

Persistence and Change: Evidence from the Indian Rancheria at the Third Mission Santa Clara de Asis. Thomas Garlinghouse, Sarah Peelo, Linda Hylkema, Clinton Blount. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397550)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;