Author(s): Jill Bennett Gaieski; Theodore G. Schurr

Year: 2015


Conversations about history have a way of shaping historical narrative, often unintentionally and usually in unexpected ways.  Similarly, identity is an ongoing enterprise where individuals adapt, adopt, discard, and change in relation to the vagaries of a remembered past and to realities in the present.  This paper focuses on Bermuda’s St. David’s Islanders, and examines how this geographically isolated and culturally distinct community (re)created an American Indian identity more than three centuries following forced relocation of its ancestors.  Using archival, genealogical, oral historical, and genetic data, I show how these conversations have been instrumental in recovering an indigenous American past and creating an American Indian identity in the present.  From early inquiries about "missing Indians" to modern attempts at reconnection, from conjecture about native origins based on exclusively on phenotypes to sharing memories and family traditions, these ideas have collectively served as the building blocks for a meta-narrative about indigeneity.

Cite this Record

THE ST. DAVID’S ISLAND PROJECT: ETHNOGENESIS IN REAL TIME. Jill Bennett Gaieski, Theodore G. Schurr. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434229)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 252