Assembling indigeneity: Rethinking innovation, tradition and indigenous materiality in a 19th-century native toolkit

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines a collection of iron artifacts from the Sarah Burnee/Sarah Boston Site, a late 18th- and early 19th-century Nipmuc home site in Grafton, Massachusetts. While the objects represented have a broad spectrum of purposes, the assemblage is assessed for its utility in the practice of woodsplint basketmaking, an emerging Native trade in 19th-century New England. Native woodsplint baskets were desired and prized by Anglo-American consumers for their authenticity and tradition, yet many of their forms, decorations and the associated toolkit were all developed in the specific economic conditions of post-revolutionary New England and are thus entangled with Euro-American materialities. DeLanda’s (2006) “assemblage theory” is examined as an appropriate concept with which to reconcile the apparent tension of innovation and tradition apparent in this collection, and in Indigenous historical archaeology at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-360
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • assemblages
  • basketry
  • indigeneity
  • innovation
  • materiality
  • New England
  • tradition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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