Alkidaa' da hooghanee (They Used to Live Here): An archeological study of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Navajo hogan households and federal Indian policy
AuthorThompson, Kerry Frances
AdvisorMills, Barbara J.
Committee ChairMills, Barbara J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAs Athapaskan-speaking people with a lifestyle distinct from other Southwestern groups, Navajos, upon entering the Southwest in the sixteenth century, are thought to have begun a process of culture change that persists to this day. The anthropological view of Navajo culture is that it is a synthesis of Athapaskan and Puebloan culture traits, and early archaeological studies of Navajo culture reinforced this view. Navajo archaeology continues to suffer from a general lack of Navajo perspectives on their own history andarchaeological record. I examine Navajo identity expressed in the built environment and the negotiation of intrusive federal Indian policies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries using narratives from a ceremony called the Blessingway and theories of agency, practice, history, and structuration. Environmental, architectural, dendrochronological, artifactual, and historical data collected from 393 hogan sites recorded in the Four Corners area during the Navajo Land Claim Project in the 1950s comprise the basis for my study. Data analyses indicate that in spite of the imposition of policies designed to alter Navajo lifeways and relationships with the landscape, American colonial interactions did not dramatically alter the core of nineteenth and twentieth century Navajo culture. The dialectic between colonial policy and traditional Dine culture resulted in persistent architecture, settlement patterning, and decision making about movement over landscapes in spite of conflicts over land and water. Historically, theories and methods arising from the Western tradition have been the main avenues through which archaeologists interpret and make sense of the Indigenous past in North America. The growing body of modern literature in Indigenous archaeology now consciously includes, and often takes as its starting point, Indigenous perspectives on the past, and the practice of archaeology in America. Practitioners of Indigenous archaeology seek to strike a balance between Western perspectives and Indigenous worldviews and to increase the participation of Indigenous people in the discipline. My study is an attempt to weave together Indigenous and Western philosophies in a mutually beneficial manner.