Monacans and mountaineers: A comparative study of colonialism and dependency in southern Appalachia
AuthorCook, Samuel Robert, 1965-
AdvisorWilkins, David E.
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.
AbstractFor scholars of underdevelopment, Appalachia is an enigma. The vast and diverse natural resources of the region offer the potential for local prosperity, but much of the region is characterized by widespread poverty. Accordingly, many writers have tended to characterize Appalachia as a homogeneous region, in spite of its cultural, environmental, and economic diversity. This study assesses the causes and consequences of underdevelopment in Appalachia through a controlled comparison of two mountain communities: the Monacan Indians of Amherst County, Virginia, an aboriginal community located in the Blue Ridge foothills; and a mining community in Wyoming County, West Virginia, located in the rugged plateau coalbelt. Two mutually related theoretical approaches are used: the internal colonialism and dependency models. This study is concerned with the relationship between colonial processes within the region and the variable ways in which these have been related to conditions of economic dependency. The study begins with the hypothesis that each community is an internal colony, but that the extent of colonization and dependency may vary between the two, and that the historical processes of colonization and dependency may also vary profoundly between the two. To test this, several variables are examined, including who the initial colonizers were, salient cultural patterns of each community prior to and after colonization, traditional subsistence patterns, and local environmental factors which may have effected exploitative processes differentially in each community. It is shown that the differences in these variables between the two communities have had profound effects on their colonial experiences. Although doctrines of racial/ethnic superiority were used to justify colonial endeavors in both cases, these were much more salient in the case of the Monacans. While the Monacan's engagement with colonial forces began much earlier than that of the Euro-American settlers and their progeny in Wyoming County, various social, economic, and political changes have converged in recent years to allow the Monacans to break away from the bonds of colonialism and dependency. In Wyoming County, however, land alienation and a corporate controlled state government have severely crippled the possibility of local grassroots empowerment.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies