Being 'Post-Indian' in 19th Century New England

Author(s): Heather Law Pezzarossi

Year: 2018


In the decades following the American Revolution, Native people throughout Southern New England took part in the development of a Native basket industry specifically targeted for settler consumption. Scholars have long acknowledged that basket styles communicated tribal and even familial affiliation among basketmakers and Native community members. But for customers, the objects represented a connection with a Native artisan who filled the role of the "Vanishing Indian," an emerging trope in popular culture and politics in the early decades of the Republic. Vizenor reminds us that his concept of the "post-indian" condition is often a study in the "simulation of absence," in which the absence of "ontologically "real" persons that conform to the stereotype of Indians circulating in the hegemonic US culture, Native American people simulate those images (Vizenor and Lee 2003: 161), the "post-indian" being a subject willing to engage with and push the accepted boundaries of a stereotypical Indian identity (Vizenor and Lee 2003). In this paper, I’ll take a closer look at basketmakers’ engagement and adept manipulation of developing colonial tropes of Indianess in light of Vizenor’s ideas about what it means to be "post-indian".

Cite this Record

Being 'Post-Indian' in 19th Century New England. Heather Law Pezzarossi. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445197)

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Abstract Id(s): 21823