A Path Forward: Casa Grande as Metaphor

Author(s): Brett Hill

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Why Platform Mounds? Part 2: Regional Comparisons and Tribal Histories" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Two of the most iconic cultural symbols in the American Southwest are the O’odham Man in the Maze and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. In this paper I illustrate a possible connection between them that might resolve some of their enduring mystery. From the merging of these symbols, a new perspective on the relationship between heritage and archaeology is outlined. Throughout the recorded history of O’odham heritage and archaeological interest in the Southwest, Native perspectives were routinely dismissed as an inferior kind of knowledge. The disappearance of the Hohokam, and other claims of collapse, are metaphors for failure and are supposed to offer lessons, but mostly inspire debate among scholars. In contrast, Native heritage programs approach the past with an emphasis on success and life in an ongoing generational movement. The implications of this approach are taking hold in archaeology as Native insights and premises are integrated into scientific thought. Integration was once suspected of undermining basic principles of knowledge, but rather they suggest a deeper and more accurate sense of the connection between living and ancient people. Looking at the past in different ways illuminates the nature of past societies and our relationships to them.

Cite this Record

A Path Forward: Casa Grande as Metaphor. Brett Hill. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451561)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24350