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Farming and Foraging at the Crossroads: The Consequences of Cherokee and European Interaction Through the Late Eighteenth Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Amber M. VanDerwarker
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106-3210 (vanderwarker@anth.ucsb.edu)
Jon B. Marcoux
Affiliation:
Cultural and Historical Preservation Program, Salve Regina University, 100 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island 02840-4192 (jon.marcoux@salve.edu)
Kandace D. Hollenbach
Affiliation:
Archaeological Research Laboratory, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 (kdh@utk.edu)

Abstract

The material remains of daily subsistence within Cherokee communities reflect strategies that households enacted while adapting to disruptions associated with European colonialism. Plant subsistence remains dating from the late Pre-Contact period through the end of the Revolutionary War (A.D. 1300–1783) reveal how Cherokee food producers! collectors fed their families as they navigated an increasingly uncertain landscape. Framing our analysis in terms of risk mitigation and future-discounting concepts from human behavioral ecology, we argue that Cherokee households responded to increasing risk and uncertainty by shifting towards subsistence strategies that had more immediate rewards. Although Cherokee plant subsistence remains exhibit continuity in how people farmed and foraged, our study shows that households made strategic decisions to alter their food production and collection with respect to looming uncertainty. Archaeobotanical analysis from multiple sites spanning the Colonial period (ca. A.D. 1670–1783) reveal a stepwise process of declining maize production, increased foraging, and overall diversification of the plant diet. This case underscores the relevance of concepts from human behavioral ecology to complex colonial situations by demonstrating that strategies of risk prevention and mitigation have applicability beyond ecological factors.

Resumen

Resumen

Este documento estudia los restos materiales de la subsistencia cotidiana de las comunidades Cherokee para identificar las estrategias que los hogares promulgada mientras se adaptan a los interrupciones asociadas con el colonialismo europeo. Nuestro análisis se orienta sobre la subsistencia de plantas que datan desde los últimos años antes de contacto con los españoles a través del período final de la Guerra de la Independencia de los Estados Unidos (d.C. 1300–1783). Consideramos cómo los Cherokee productores de alimentación/colectores, alimentaron a sus familias, mientras navegan un paisaje cada vez más incierto, enmarcando el análisis en términos de mitigación de riesgos y conceptos descontar el futuro de la ecología del comportamiento humano. Sostenemos que las familias Cherokee respondieron a creciendo riesgo y incertidumbre con un cambio de estrategias de subsistencia por una que tendrá recompensas más inmediatas. Mientras que la subsistencia de plantas Cherokee exhibe continuidad temporal claro en que la gente continuó cultivando y forrajeando por plantas, nuestro estudio muestra que las familias tomaron decisiones estratégicas para alterar la producción de alimentos y la recolección con respecto a la inminente incertidumbre. Análisis arqueobotánico de varios sitios que abarca el período colonial (ca. 1670–1783) revelan un proceso gradual de disminución de la producción de maíz, el aumento de forraje, y la diversificación de plantas en la dieta. Finalmente, este caso también pone de manifiesto la relevancia de los conceptos de ecología del comportamiento humano a la compleja situación del colonialismo mediante la demostración de que las estrategias de prevención y mitigación de riesgos tienen una aplicabilidad fuera de los factores ambientales.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by the Society for American Archaeology.

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