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Chapter 1

Muckle Ch.1.doc

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University of Guelph
ANTH 3650
Edward Hedican

Muckle Chapter 1: Prehistory of North America pg.1 to 12 Chapter 1- Situating the Indigenous peoples of North America • There are close to 6 million people living in North America who identify themselves as indigenous, or one of the other popular labels such as aboriginal, Indian or na- tive American • The extreme diversity of indigenous cultures is reflected in the fact that more than 1000 distinct tribal entities or nations continue to exist today North America Defined: • There are multiple ways of viewing the land, based on a variety of physical and cul- tural characteristics • For some, the entire landmass in the western hemisphere is simply divided into two continents of North America and South America separated by the Panama Canal • Others believe there are three (North, Central and South America) • Anthropologists typically view the western hemisphere as being divided into three broad cultural regions of North America, Mesoamerica, and South America • The arbitrary line between North America and Mesoamerica excludes the people of some of the well-known indigenous civilizations, such as the Maya, and the Aztec from North America • It is most common for anthropologists specializing in the Indigenous people of North America to view North America from a cultural rather than geographical perspective • North America in this book refers to Canada, US, Greenland and Northern Mexico • Hawaii is not usually considered to be part of North America by anthropologists in- terested in the prehistory, traditional lifeway’s, and impacts of European colonial- ism • Greenland’s indigenous people also have a common origin and continue to show cultural similarities with the Indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic • It is worth noting that some indigenous people reject the very label of North Ameri- ca based on the notion that the label itself is a product of European Imperialism —Some refer to it as Turtle Island • in this book, indigenous is used as a collective term to describe those who trace their ancestry to the inhabitants of North America before the arrival of the Euro- peans in the early 1500s • indigenous has become increasingly popular in its usage to describe the decedents of a lands original inhabitants, both globally and within North America • those who claim ancestry from a self-governing society that inhabited a region be- fore the invasion, conquest, settlement, or other form of occupation by people of different cultures who then became dominant • indigenous peoples are also characterized by being both economically and socially marginalized within the dominant societies which they exist • indigenous serves as a political strategy and provides them with a voice on the world stage such as the UN • the UN recognized indigeneity around the globe, making no distinction pertaining to place • some recognize the experience of New world indigenism as being distinct from the oppression suffered by some less powerful ethnic groups under more powerful ones • they do not necessarily reflect how indigenous people identified themselves before the labels began to appear, or how they identify themselves today • in many cases, the indigenous people reject labels imposed on them by the Euro- peans and those of European decent • Common Labels listed on Page 7 (Indigenous, Aboriginal, Eskimo, First Nation, In- dian, Inuit, Native American) • It is commonly held that the label Indian was imposed upon the indigenous peoples of all the Americas following the belief that Christopher Columbus had reached India in 1492 • Natives, or native people is common terminology in Canada and the US • Aboriginal is used in the Canadian constitution to include Indian, Inuit and Metis • First nations people are common descriptors of those formerly or otherwise known as Indians, but not Metis or Inuit • Although the descriptions first nations and first peoples have readily been adopted by many in Canadian society, Indian and native have not been totally replaced • Most indigenous groups in the far North have been called Eskimo • There is a much larger % of people with indigenous ancestry in Mexico, and it has been reported that about 20% of the population is fully indigenous, 75% is mixed indigenous, and 5% have none Overview of the Indigenous peoples of North America Today: Identity • It is common for indigenous people in North America to identify with being citizens of both the country in which they reside as well as an Indigenous nation • The very existence of a powwow is part of the contemporary North American In- digenous world, with roots extending back into prehistory • Indigenous people and anthropologists recognize that cultures are in a continual state of change, elements of tradition and modernity co-exist • In Canada, there are three kinds of Indigenous peoples that are recognized • Aboriginal is the collective term: Indian, Metis, Inuit • The federal bureau of Indian Affairs acknowledges that there is no single federal or tribal standard for considering someone an Indian or Alaska Native • The various governments agencies that have programs for Indians and Alaskans use different criteria to determine who ineligible and who is not • Being recognized as a member of a tribal entity is often the first step towards being recognized by the federal government and obtaining benefits of that recognition • Those in this second grouping are sometimes called the Outalucks or Wannabees • There are also two broad divisions within the Indian community in Canada: the reg- istered and non-status Indians • Registered(also known as status) means that their name appears on a register maintained by the government • A non-Indian lady could obtain status by marrying a status Indian, and in the past registered Indians could lose their status if they obtained university education or joined the military • *status cards issued* • Recognition also provides access to social, health, and educational programs, and may bring economic benefits through treaties, other agreements and indigenous- run business ventures • In some cases, groups may require a person’s blood quantum to be specific to the group they seek membership in • Some groups require blood quantum be determined through either the paternal or maternal line (either one) • The basic unit of economic and political organization of most organized indigenous people in Canada today is the band or first nation • Band and tribe are terms often used to describe traditional forms of political organi- zation based on a variety of criteria including group size, interaction spheres, and forms of leadership • The Canadian government defines band as a body of Indians for whose use and benefit common, lands, the legal title to which is vested in her Majesty, have been set apart • First nation or nation is now commonly used by governments, indigenous people anthropologists, other academics and the public • Federally recognized groups in both Canada and the UC usually have a structural organization similar to various non-indigenous governments (elected representa- tives =chief) • There are 615 Indian bands or first nations recognized by the Canadian govern- ment- approx. 630 000 people identify as registered • 1.2 million people claim aboriginal identity, accounting for about 4% of the Canadi- an population • In the US there are 564 recognized tribal entities – 1.5% of American population • Many indigenous groups have multiple reserves or reservations, and some have none • In Canada there are more than 2300 reserves, totaling a land area of 6.8 million acres but most are relatively small and unoccupied • Although almost all Indian lands in Canada are reserves, there are some expecta- tions • Known as Nunavut, meaning our land, in the Inuit language, the territory is sub- stantial- size of western Europe • The population is approx... 30 000 with more than 80% identifying as Inuit • The global indigenous movement began in the late 20th century when various groups of indigenous peoples around
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