Embodying Survivance: Western Apache Production Practices in the Reservation Era

Author(s): Mairead Poulin

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Beyond Ornamentation: New Approaches to Adornment and Colonialism" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Archaeological narratives of settler colonialism often characterize Indigenous survival strategies dualistically, encompassing either active rebellion against or total acquiescence to colonial power. Consequently, amendments to the production and design of traditional clothing and jewelry items are interpreted as evidence of Native assimilation into Western commercial culture. This approach reinforces problematic dichotomies (i.e. prehistory vs. history, authentic vs. assimilated) which deny agency to Indigenous actors. Drawing on the concept of persistence, this paper traces the dynamic production practices of Western Apache craftspeople during the 20thcentury. I explore the reservation era production of ornamental objects from the E. Edgar Guenther collection, considering uniformity with and divergence from their older forms in terms of individual object trajectories. By reframing these materials as objects of survivance, I seek to illuminate the tactics Indigenous actors used to negotiate with and ultimately benefit from the Western capitalist system which sought to marginalize them.

Cite this Record

Embodying Survivance: Western Apache Production Practices in the Reservation Era. Mairead Poulin. 2020 ( tDAR id: 456851)


Temporal Keywords
20th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 328