American Anthropologist 1939
Aginsky, B.W. Time Levels In Societal Analysis. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41 (25): 416-432.
In this article, Aginsky is attacking the problem of comprehending the kinship nomenclature used by individuals for their relatives. The article touches base on two main levels of terminological equations, provides a schematic analysis by example, and then presents a different approach by analyzing another article. The underlying difficulty of the concept, of nomenclature, lies within which point of view is to be taken to examine the divergent perspectives.
The article commences with a short, yet complex, presentation of the methodology used for the majority of kinship systems. Depending on who is chosen as the “ego”, the nomenclature varies drastically. In previous work, the author has substituted “basic terminology” for affinal relatives and “superstructure” for consanguinal relatives and continues to use these same references in this article. A simple superstructure, analysis of consanguineal relatives, is introduced to compare the importance of the different levels of generations and descendents. The analysis of an Ego (child) and his nomenclature possibilities demonstrates the complexity of the systems. These different levels are representative of time and generation sequence, which may provide insight into historical reconstruction of different cultures.
Aginsky then examines Pomo kinship systems to show similarities and variations among different cultures. The causative factors for the deviations arise from dissimilar values and ancestral significance among societies. Upon trying to find the universal explanation of kinship terminology, Aginsky simplifies his examination to exclude the basic terms. His reasoning behind the exclusion of the basic terms is that it is possible to have six superstructures that come from one basic system, and since there are many basic systems, the issue would be terribly confusing. The phenomena of classifications are extremely complex and require a sound understanding of the theories and formation behind the terminology in order for the example to be meaningful.
The author’s final argument scrutinizes a colleague’s paper to provide a different perspective of the topic. The examination of Fred Eggan’s article focuses around the link between marriage practice and kinship terminology. Eggan shows that the changes in terminological groupings have not arisen from cultural pressures but rather from psychological concepts contained in linguistics. Examples of the psychological concepts are displayed in the discussion of matrilineal and patrilineal societies. Aginsky agrees with most of the points that Eggan makes, in particular the point that kinship terminology is influenced by and reflects social pressures and customs. The conclusion is brought about by the thought that cultures change because they have many possible directions for development and transformation. This changing of culture begets the differences and evolution in the naming systems budding from ethnicity.
ALLISON TWISS University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Aginsky, B.W.: Time levels in Societal Analysis. American Anthropologist. Vol.41 (25): 416-432
Aginsky provides an in-depth explanation of the terminologies used for kin/kinship throughout societies. Investigations in particular societies have to develop a understanding of who the individuals consider their relatives to be. Aginsky states that this paper is designed to illustrate a method of approaching the study of kinship terminologies with a view toward explaining the underlying reason for the different interpretations of kinship system. Within kinship usually lies two different terms for relatives. Affinal terms refer to the spouse and the family of the spouse to which one is married. The other terms are for consanguines or relatives by blood rather than marriage. An example of consanguineal would be a cousin. The author explains Generation Leveling for affinal and consanguineal kinships. The author states “On the basis of these two factors (1) no pure matrilineal or patrilineal cultures, and (2) all cultures have the possibility of developing to either extreme, we can say that when some additional internal or external stress comes about in culture, that culture may be pressured into swinging toward one extreme to the other.” With stresses on any culture change could be brought to the culture. Analyzing societal relationships and how they determine kin will result in more accurate understandings of family structures in society.
HILARY WHEELER Southern Illinois University
Baldwin, Gordon C. Further Notes on Basket Maker III Sandals from Northeastern Arizona. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41:223-244
In “Further Notes on Basket Maker III Sandals from Northeastern Arizona” Gordon C. Baldwin revises a previous article which appeared in American Anthropologist Volume 40. He aims to further discuss the issues which arose in the article in light of new information he received regarding sandals of the Basket Maker III period. He wishes to clear up debatable evidence which were mentioned in the first article.
The articles main purpose is to outline the sandals which were associated with the Basket Maker III period. The first article discusses the five types of sandals which existed, as well as making brief mention of the possibility of a sixth type. After the publication of the article, however, a new collection was available to Baldwin in which he discovered “a single sandal which definitely constitutes a sixth type”(41). Baldwin continues to make his basic argument that a sixth type of sandal exists. Baldwin also discusses differences between sandals of type 4 which may warrant dividing the type into two categories one of notched-toed sandals and one of scalloped-toed sandals.
The evidence supporting Baldwin’s arguments are arranged simply. He first briefly describes all the types of sandals then at length describes the three types of sandals which are affected by the evidence in the new collection Baldwin devotes much of his article to the meticulous description of the exact weaving and tying techniques used in each individual type of sandal. Though this approach in advantageous to the reader well versed in the period, it is a disadvantage to the average reader with little prior knowledge of the period; the reader would easily become bogged down in the details and be able to draw few useful conclusions from the article. This article’s intended audience then is very specific. Not only is it intended for those with an acute understanding of anthropology, it is meant for those who understand clearly, prior to reading the article, the archaeology of the Basket Maker III period and wish to use the article to richen their knowledge.
KRISTEN RUMOHR University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Baldwin, Gordon C. Further Notes On Basket Maker III Sandals From Northeastern Arizona. American Anthropologist. Jan.-Mar., 1939 Vol. 41(2):223-244.
Baldwin’s reasoning behind writing the article is clearly described in the first paragraph. A previous article was written pertaining to a collection Basket Maker III sandals, and the topic of this article is a second collection discovered in the Arizona State Museum. Baldwin’s goal is to give a complete description of the sandals of this particular period in Southwestern prehistory.
The author lists and briefly describes the five types of sandals occurring in the Basket Maker III period. The article proceeds to give a quite detailed analysis to the reader of how the sandals were made, including types of toe structure and how the heels were fastened. A number of methods of attaching the sandal to the foot are explained and illustrated. Baldwin goes on to discuss the variety of colored and raised decorations found on the sandals. The report includes the colors used and location of design on the sandal. Also noted is the evidence of repair found on several samples.
A small section is dedicated to data possibly confirming a new, sixth type of sandal. Also Baldwin offers proof concerning the appearance of “twilled” sandals at a much earlier date then had been previously reported. However, it is noted to the reader that an exact date is still inconclusive. Baldwin ends the article with a brief and concise conclusion.
AMBER NAPTON Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)
Barnes, Alfred S. The Difference Between Natural and Human Flaking on Prehistoric Flint Implements. American Anthropologist N.S., 41, 1939 Vol. 7(1): 99-112.
In this article, Alfred Barnes sets out to explain the difference between naturally made and human made flints. Barnes defines a “flint” as a specific man-made tool or supposed man-made tool, made from one of several hard brittle materials. Barnes argues that many anthropologists and archeologists wrongly identify some flints as being made by Palaeolithic humans when they were actually made by natural forces. The author includes several drawings of human made flints.
Barnes constructs his argument with precision. Barnes first explains why identifying flints is so important to the field of anthropology. Through an examination of the history of categorizing flints, Barnes concludes that the identification of flints is essential in providing indications for the rate of human evolution and the stages through which it has passed. Hence, if a flint is correctly dated, it will allow anthropologists to make assumptions about humans at this point in history based on their technology. With that conclusion, Barnes warns of the dangers of misidentifying naturally made flints as man-made flints. Obviously, currently accepted evolution patterns could become falsified if this mistake was made.
Barnes outlines the different methods that natural flints are created: fortuitous concussion, foundering, and solifluxion. The author includes illustrations of several flints made by each method. Barnes also recognizes that flints can be produced by internal methods, such as thermal changes within the rock. The author outlines a study done by George Ercol Sellers in 1885. In this study, called Observations on Stone Chipping, Sellers effects several experiments in which he recreates the flaking of stones to produce flints. Illustrations of the products of Sellers’ study are also included. If one compares the illustrations from Sellers’ experiment, the human-made flints, and the naturally-made flints, very little difference is perceivable.
Barnes’ writing is precise and clear. His prose is sophisticated and intellectual. The only drawback is that Barnes’ writing is clearly aimed at experienced anthropologists and archeologists as there are some terms and ideas that Barnes does not define. Overall, this article is informative and interesting.
ERIN QUINN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Barnes, Alfred S. The Differences Between Natural and Human Flaking on Prehistoric Flint Implements. American Anthropologist January-March, 1939 Vol.41(1):99-112.
This article gives an overview of characteristics that determine whether an eolith was formed from human alterations or natural occurrences. Alfred S. Barnes opens his article by discussing the findings of various prominent individuals, known for their analyses of eoliths, from 1868-1921 in various regions throughout the world. Anthropologist J. Reid Moir’s analyses of pre-Crag eoliths from the Tertiary age demonstrates characteristics that determine whether eoliths shaped by man or by natural causes. Moir based his prognoses on three main propositions that were later reviewed. The findings showed “natural forces were able to produce flaking similar to human-worked eoliths, and the technique differs from human work. In addition, the idea that random concussions between stones do not produce large numbers of tools with parallel flake scars has been reinforced.” Barnes goes on to differentiate the flaking characteristics caused by naturally occurring forces from those caused by human forces.
Both external and internal natural forces cause flint to fracture. Some external factors include fortuitous concussion, foundering, and solifluxion, while internal factors include the possibility of temperature changes, dehydration, expansion, inclusions, and chemical and physical changes. Barnes follows with descriptions of characteristics displayed by natural fractures. In addition, this article discusses experiments on artificial application of natural forces and its results.
Human flaking poses altered characteristics from those created by natural forces. It is believed that a majority of human-worked tools use acute angles as opposed to obtuse angles in the platform-scars in order to control flaking and it’s outcome.
Finally, the author discusses the formalities used to compare and contrast naturally occurring flaking from human-worked flaking: the method of measuring the platform-scar.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JAMIE LYNN HOLTMANN Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Dr. Jonathan Hill)
Benedict, Ruth. Edward Sapir. American Anthropologist 1939. (41): 465-477.
This obituary was written about the life and achievements of Edward Sapir. Born in Germany and later immigrating to the United States, Sapir had many achievements both in his schooling and his career. He received two scholarships, one from Horace Mann and the other from Columbia College, to further his education. He did his graduate studies on Germanics and Semitics. Sapir also studied with Boas during his graduate work on, as described by Benedict, primitive languages. Throughout his career, Sapir studied many languages including the Wishram, the Takelma, and the Shoshonean, which was thought to be his best work. Sapir worked at the Universities of California, Pennsylvania, Chicago and Yale some of which he was an instructor at. After his two years at Pennsylvania, Sapir went to Ottawa, where he worked on ethnology and later devoted himself to the study of linguistic change and the genetic relationships between languages. He met his wife and mother of his first three children there, but she later died after a long illness. In Chicago, Sapir did a detailed study of the English language and also became interested in personality and culture. He met his second wife and the mother of his fourth child in Chicago. After a move to Yale, Sapir studied Indogermanics and Semitics. During his life, Edward Sapir wrote a book on Language in 1921, was elected to the National Academy in 1934 and established the Committee on Personality and Culture. Benedict mentions Sapirs other talent as a poet and ends the article on a personal note of her feelings of loss in the death of Edward Sapir. Throughout the article Benedict recognized the many papers that Sapir wrote. They appeared in the Anthropologist (1907), the Journal of American Folklore also in 1907 and the 1929 Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition. This article was well written but left out many important details such as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
JODY WERT University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Bloom, Leonard. The Cherokee Clan: A Study in Acculturation. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol. 41: 266-268.
Leonard Bloom, in his exploration of the survival of Cherokee clan concepts, examines knowledge of the matrilineal system. Understanding existing clan concepts, he suggests, is crucial to reconstructing early Cherokee social structure. He argues that knowledge of the matrilineal system, in the Cherokee Clan, is more prominent among elders than youth. Bloom’s suggests this knowledge discrepancy is due to the Western patrilineal system’s influence over the past three generations.
Bloom, through the use of informal interviews, examines a random sample of full-blooded South-Eastern Cherokee from the band Qualla. He questions the informants on seven areas of matrilineal knowledge, ranging from the female parent’s clan name to the rules of matrilineal exogamy. Blooms findings support his hypothesis: knowledge of the matrilineal system increases with age.
The argument is concise and easy to read. Bloom, however, fails to adequately describe his methodology, such as consistency of interview situation and random selection processes. Thus, although the article presents a validate hypothesis, Bloom’s poorly recorded methods leave uncertainty.
CATERINA SNYDER University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Bloom, Leonard. The Cherokee Clan: A Study in Acculturation. American Anthropologist June, 1939 Vol. 41 (2): 266-268.
In this brief article, Leonard Bloom attempts to determine to what extent Cherokee clan members retain their heritage. The Cherokee people trace their lineage matrilineally, which exists in the form of exogamous totemic clans, of which there are seven. It is believed that at one time there may have been 14 clans, that later reduced by pair fusion. The article’s main focus is to determine to what extent Cherokee people have retained knowledge of their heritage.
Bloom carefully chose his study group from the purest of blood Cherokees. Although they were not surveyed directly, Bloom acquired his information through various conversations. He discovered seven types of information that are most important in determining clan heritage. They include the ability to name the clans, knowledge of matrilineal exogamy, knowledge of the clan of the female parent, knowledge of the clan of male parent, knowledge of the clan of mate, knowledge of the clan of the first filial generation, and knowledge of the clan of self.
Cherokee heritage is best known among the older members. The data that Bloom gathered shows that the increasingly younger members have decreasingly less knowledge of their heritage. This suggests that Cherokee members are becoming more acculturated, and less concerned with their heritage.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
OM SAWYER Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Burrows, Edwin. Breed and Border in Polynesia, American Anthropologist January-March, 1939 Vol. 41(1):1-21
Edwin Burrows reviewed the ethnographies published during the 1930’s searching for conclusions regarding Polynesian social organization. Burrows selects two realms of classification, one of kinship control and one of political authority which he deemed breed and border respectively. The author looks at a variety of factors that determine the influence each has on a given culture. Finally, broad generalizations are made with regard to Polynesian culture as a whole.
Generally, Polynesian kinship is established through patrilineal lines, however access to resources such as land may come along matrilineal lines. The construct of family is problematic in Polynesia. Researchers settled upon the term household which can be determined as the people sharing a common cooking fire. Chiefs, with the aid of a council, wield political power in the these islands. Big men are believed to share power with a divine ancestor. Power in a large degree is acquired through seniority with difference being awarded for personal qualities and influence. The interplay between breed and border is the focus of this study. Burrows first presents examples of breed and border coinciding , then examples of breed and border in opposition, and finally and commingling of the two.
This research demonstrates that access to natural resources plays a part in governing among the Polynesians. The population of an area was controlled mainly by food supply. The food supply depended upon many factors including area, topography, soil and climate. Island types make for useful comparison because of topographies’ influence upon population. Small atolls support only a few hundred inhabitants, while large archipelagoes feed tens of thousands.
The piece presents a thorough examination of the interplay of these factors, with additional influences factored in where necessary. Burrows does reach some broad conclusions regarding breed and border. The coincidence of breed and border decreases over time. He finds that as territorial units grow, kinship networks simplify. Regions were breed and border continued to coincide are anomalies that can be attributed to some exceptional factors.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
CHESTER LUNSFORD Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Burrows, Edwin G. Breed and Border in Polynesia. American Anthropologist January-March, 1939 Vol.41(1):1-21
In Polynesia, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean between South America and Australia, there is a connection between breed and border in various regions which has been a present theme for numerous years. Some variables within the general pattern of breed and border are alignment, population, food supply, the way social class is divided, and the intricacy of kinship groups.
The following material is arranged in an order beginning with regions where breed and border coincide in the main, some intermingle, and some are intermediate alignments. The Marquesas, or the high islands, has a very high population between 50,000 to 100,000 people. The Marquesas consist of families and joint families, from which larger groups, sub-tribes and tribes, branches out from. The rulers are head chiefs usually appointed by seniority or through one’s own individual ability. In each tribe everyone is family, each person is a relative by birth, adoption, marriage, or friendship. On general terms, the Marquesas are one of the marginal regions that tend to coincide with breed and border. Some other islands or tribes and villages surrounding a lagoon with small populations are also considered to coincide amongst breed and border.
Intermingling between breed and border are presented in two independent areas, one western and the other farther east. In western Polynesia, the combination of breed and border is very broad. It is portrayed in a small group of atolls, the Tokelau Islands. The population is merely 1,200 inhabitants. Kinship grouping is very popular here and is based upon blood relationship or inheriting property. Each kindred consist of a head chief and also higher chiefs who rule over the entire coral islands. Land is owned by kindred and it is obvious that in this more private control of land, breed and border are intermingled. In the eastern part, Mangareva, the largest island part of an arrangement of small volcanic islands, is also known for the intermingling of breed and border, due to its somewhat small population and supreme head chief of the islands.
Amid the west and east areas lay another group of islands where breed and border either coincide or are aligned in uncommon intermediate manners. The island of Pukapuka has a population of 500 and is a perfect example of a complex grouping of kinship. Each member of this society belongs to a maternal sub-lineage, lineage, and moiety; and also to a paternal sub-lineage, lineage, and to a bilateral group. Head chief titles are hereditary through paternal ancestry, though some do not hold any titles. Land was divided amongst the villages and covered the area from lagoon to outer beach and private residences. Within the patrilineal part, breed and border seem to coincide as opposed to the matrilineal and village aspects which seem to act intermediate to this alignment.
Progressive infringement of border over breed seems to be the ultimate rule in Polynesia. Protective divisions grow larger and stronger, therefore kinship groupings became vaguer. The marginal positions of the regions propose a geographical factor of natural barriers that may have hindered communication. In conclusion, in this exceptional setting of Polynesia, breed and border will continue to coincide.
SARAH SWENSSON University of San Diego (Denise Couch)
Byers, Douglas S. Warren King Moorehead. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41(20):286-294
This article is a loving tribute to American archaeologist Warren King Moorehead. It reads as an obituary, summarizing Moorehead’s contributions to the field of archeology, particularly in the subject of the “American Indian”. Byers portrays Moorehead as a saintly ambassador to which all other archaeologists should model themselves after.
Byers organizes the article as a chronological biography. He begins with Moorehead’s childhood events and continues with his numerous degrees from various universities. From the early start, Moorehead displayed an intense interest in American Indian artifacts, fuelled by the convenience of his location. Moorehead’s childhood home was not far from Fort Ancient, the training ground for his first excavation expeditions. His fieldwork success led him to prestigious positions in anthropological societies, and he is credited in large part for the preservation of Fort Ancient as a state park. He had an impressive professional resume, ranging from serving as the secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1893, to being the vice president of the American Anthropological Association in 1932. He was editor for The Archaeologist in 1894 to 1895, an assistant at the Smithsonian Institution, a curator to the Museum of Ohio State University and the Director of the Department of Archaeology at Philips Academy. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him as a member of the Board of Indian Commissioners in 1909.
Byers mentions that despite the demand for Moorehead in such academic institutions, fieldwork remained to be Moorehead’s true passion. The products of his early excavations in Ohio were presented to the National Museum. He was present during the Sioux uprisings in 1890 and he explored mounds on the farm of Mr. C. Hopewell, where the Hopewell culture was first known. He led expeditions to the San Juan River Valley, Chaco Canyon and La Plata Valley. In his later career, he undertook an archaeological survey of the Arkansas River, Lake Champlain and areas in Connecticut, down the Susquehanna River.
Byers also discusses Moorehead’s personal attributes. He praises Moorehead as a gentlemen belonging to the Old School. He avidly describes Moorehead’s patience, kindliness and generosity. Byers claims that Moorehead rarely criticized others, and few harsh words were ever spoken against him. Moorehead rejected the sophisticated jargon used by his colleagues, and preferred to present his work in a popular manner so that all people, students and non-professionals, would be interested. Byers says that Moorehead’s only fault was that many of the projects that he started often went unfinished, which was to be blamed on his eagerness for investigating new and unknown regions. This is counteracted with by Moorehead’s compassion for the American Indians, a people that he campaigned tirelessly for to retain their land. Byers concludes with an emotional encomium that Moorehead’s life touched everyone that knew him, and that his presence in the world of anthropology will never be forgotten.
CLARITY RATING: 5
KERRY THAM University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Byers, Douglas S. Warren King Moorehead. American Anthropologist 1939 vol. 41(2): 286-294.
Byers’ article commemorates Warren King Moorehead as an outstanding archaeologist and as kind, sensitive, and interesting gentleman. Moorehead was born on March 10, 1866 in Siena, Italy. Later he moved with his parents to Xenia, Ohio where he became increasingly interested in Native American archaeology. He graduated from Denison University in 1886 and was later awarded with three honorary degrees.
Moorehead had dedicated his life to archaeology and Native Americans. He began his own excavations at Fort Ancient, at his own expense, in1887 and began to publish his own short articles. Though his work at Fort Ancient was later presented in the Cincinnati Centennial Exposition of 1888 and the National Museum, it almost killed him when a trench collapsed and nearly buried him alive.
Moorehead went on to pursue a number of jobs around the country. These jobs include: an Assistant at the Smithsonian Institution, a leader to the World’s Columbian Expedition and also in the expedition to the San Juan River Valley, Curator of the Museum of Ohio State University, and Curator of the Department of Archaeology at Phillips Academy, just to name a few. In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the Board of Indian Commissioners. For this, he worked endlessly to guarantee equality of the Native Americans of the country and eventually became a senior member of the board. Moorehead was also one of the first archaeologists to explore the culture of the Basket Makers of San Juan, although his work was never fully carried out.
In remembrance, Moorehead is looked upon as belonging to the Old School of archaeology. Despite this, he is remembered as a kind, sensitive gentleman who was eager to share his ideas and listen to the ideas of others. His death was a great sorrow to the archaeological community when he passed away on January 5, 1939.
RAQUEL A. OZANICH Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Carr, Malcolm, Katherine Spencer, Doriane Woolley. Navaho Clans And Marriage At Pueblo Alto. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.14(13):245-257.
The article, Navaho Clans And Marriage At Pueblo Alto by Malcolm Carr, Katherine Spencer and Doriane Woolley explored the relationship between marriage preferences and the Navaho clans in an area of New Mexico. In answer to their query, the authors found that more information was needed to decipher the role that other factors played in determining marriage preference. The purpose for the clan and the role it fulfilled for its members, along with the localization of clans are relevant issues surrounding the relationship between the Navaho clans and marriage at Pueblo Alto.
Carr, Spencer and Woolley conclude that kinship and an affiliation to a specific clan was proven to be a basis for marriage preference in the Navaho Clan. The clans traced their lineage through the mothers’ family (matrilineally). The authors suggested that it was common for siblings of one clan to marry siblings from another clan. Men often chose the daughter, sister or niece of their first wife for their second marriage. Marriage between one clan’s family members and another’s created an alliance or relationship between the clans. An environment was produced where both parties were surrounded by family. Having kin in a different clan generated peace between clans and a sense of solidarity. No one clan which was studied revealed feelings of superiority towards other clans. This situation brought people together which fulfilled the main function of the clan.
The Navaho were exogamous. Clans within close proximity to one another formed marriages between them. Statistics have shown that localization among Navaho clans in Pueblo Alto occurred.
Confusion over data and lack of evidence were the problems the authors faced in this study. In some cases, it was difficult differentiating between one clan and another. Some clan members would claim membership in two clans. Establishing who were ‘typical Navahos’ was also an issue at Pueblo Alto, in order to classify each individual. While these problems existed for the authors, the Navaho saw themselves as ‘all the same people’.
The article was confusing and difficult to understand. I found it to be confusing to pinpoint the main topic of the article and the purpose of the article, since there was so much that was left unexplained. The charts added to the confusion.
TEENA SEREDA University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).
Cooper, John M. Is the Algonquian Family Hunting Ground System Pre-Columbian? American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41: 66-90
In this article, Cooper sets out to explore the evidence for and against the aboriginality of the family hunting ground system of the northern Algonquian people. The question of aboriginality refers to whether or not the family hunting ground system was in place before the settling of the Europeans, or as Cooper states, pre-Columbian. He describes the system, as he knows it, among the TLte de Boule Cree of the upper St. Maurice River in Quebec. He argues that other northern Algonquian bands have similar systems, and points out any significant variations.
The description of the hunting ground system leads to a lengthy discussion regarding the classification of the system. Cooper struggles with two questions: whether the exclusive exploitation of land constitutes ownership or merely usufruct, “a limited right of exclusive possession, use, or enjoyment of the advantages of property belonging to another” (p. 68); and if exclusive exploitation of land constitutes ownership in severalty or territorial sovereignty. Through discussion of evidence in this area, he argues that ownership is present rather than usufruct, but that the evidence supports territorial sovereignty rather than ownership in severalty.
Cooper presents his discussion of the aboriginality of the family hunting ground system by laying out the evidence both for and against it. His method of presenting the evidence is organized as follows: he explores the external evidence, looking at the hunting ground and the allotment systems, and looks at controverted evidence of both; he then investigates the internal evidence, which he has broken down into the subcategories distributional, structural, and functional. Cooper concludes the article by arguing that the evidence he presented provides for a reasonable assumption that the family hunting ground system of the northern Algonquian people is mainly aboriginal and pre-Columbian.
Cooper’s article follows a reasonable and logical sequence. His evidence is both reasonable and supported by the opinions and writings of others. There are, however, a few points in the article where comprehension may fall short. There are many quotes from other explorers and anthropologists in the article, that are meant to support his argument, that are written in French, in spite of the fact that the main body of the article is written in English. It would have been very beneficial to the reader had these passages been translated into English, for it the reader does not understand French, then the supporting statements he has included in the article are lost.
CARMEN MONCRIEFF University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Cooper, John M. Is The Algonquian Family Hunting Ground System Pre-Columbian?American Anthropologist Jan-March 1939 Vol. 41(1):66-90
Cooper has written he article in a very clear and systematic format. In the beginning he mentions that he is going to explain the hunting system as it was at the time of his writing. Later he attempts to lay out the evidence for and against the aboriginality of the hunting ground system.
Cooper provides basic information about the hunting system in its present state: who owns it, how it is divided up, and the rules that are implied when dealing with the land ownership. Two very important questions are discussed: 1) whether there is proper ownership or usufruct and 2) is it ownership or territorial sovereignty? The remainder of this paper goes to discuss these two issues in detail providing evidence from the past and the present.
Ultimately Cooper concludes that there is no usufruct and that for the most part, despite a few exceptions, there is a thin line between family ownership and territorial sovereignty. He comes to these conclusions based on the comparisons made from the present hunting system and the documented accounts he was able to find. Cooper also concludes that “in view of all the evidence as given and discussed above, it seems reasonably probable, although not finally established by any means, that the family hunting ground system as found among the northern Algonquians is in its main lines aboriginal and pre-Columbian”(p.89).
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ASHLEY CASS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Cooper, M. John. Truman Michelson. American Anthropologist July, 1939 vol 41(19): 281-283.
Cooper’s obituary outlines the life and career of a very respected linguist and ethnologist by the name of Truman Michelson. Cooper has the utmost respected for Michelson and presents his life in a simple yet concise manner.
According to Cooper, Truman Michelson had an outstanding education that resulted in a doctor’s degree at Harvard University. He also spent two years learning from one of the most well known anthropologists, Franz Boas. With his pristine education, he managed to land a job working as an ethnologist in the Smithsonian. His job at the Smithsonian led him to work at George Washington University as a chair of ethnology. He also held a high position for two years as the president of the Anthropological Society of Washington.
Michelson’s interests began with his work in Indo-Aryan. He published over 20 papers in this area. His most notable publications dealt with the inscriptions of Acoka, an ancient written language. He also did some Algonquian fieldwork. In this subject area his most important work came from his classification of the Algonquian languages. He accomplished this classification by using an Indo-European technique of primitive language reconstruction.
Cooper says that he was a prolific writer who wrote short and concise papers without wasting any words. He was regarded as being a gentleman that displayed the utmost kindness and professionalism to his colleagues, friends and students.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ALAN SUKONNIK University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Cooper, John M. Truman Michelson Obituary, American Anthropologist April-June, 1939 Vol.41(2):281-285
John Cooper offers the discipline of Anthropology a brief obituary and complete listing of publications for Truman Michelson. A Harvard educated Boasian, Michelson was an ethnologist for the Smithsonian Institution and served as chair of ethnography at George Washington University. He passed away July 26 1938. Deemed a “foremost international authority” in the field of Algonquian culture, Michelson published 110 articles addressing American Indian linguistics and ethnography, providing the initial scientific classification of the Algonquian languages.
Michelson’s published works were brief, and concise and they tended to address particular facets of larger questions, in contrast, he preferred to expand into broader issues of ethnography and linguistics during personal discussions
Cooper supplies 115 articles of Michelson’s work published prior to his death in an annotated bibliography. Of further note, the majority of Michelson’s writing collected from fieldwork dating from 1910-1938 remained in unpublished manuscript form.
CHESTER LUNSFORD Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Jonathon Hill)
Densmore, Frances. Musical Instruments of the Maidu Indians. American Anthropologist January-March, 1939 Vol. 41 (1):113-115.
Frances Densmore’s article on Maidu musical instruments is based on two informants that were interviewed: Mrs. Amanda Wilson and Pablo Sylvers.
The Maidu used musical instruments for specific purposes; one instrument was unique to the Maidu; their foot-drums (ki’le) which were made from a hollowed Sycamore. Densmore details how the log was cut and who was involved in the process. There was an explicit account of the ritual of playing the drum and the sounds it produced. Maidu flutes were played for entertainment and courtship purposes only; whistles were used for social functions (dances); descriptions were provided. A section on the distribution of whistles throughout parts of China and Panama.
Rattles (washo’sho) were an important instrument to Maidu doctors; used to send for other doctors when a cure was ineffectual. One informant briefly mentioned that one of her family members was treated by a doctor who used a washo’sho. The other informant created another type of rattle . This section was very mystical; giving the reader the impression that Maidu doctors were magical and spiritual healers. A stringed musical bow was used for supernatural purposes among the Maidu and other California Indian groups. Individuals would use a hunting bow to communicate with the spirits and Densmore describes the technique used to play the musical bow and Mr. Sylvers was able to reproduce this.
This article provided some explicit and implicit descriptions of Maidu musical instruments. It provided the reader with enough information to keep their attention, but after reading the article, it makes the reader want to learn more about how ethereal practices were among the Maidu. It was excellent to know that Densmore had informants that had first hand knowledge of Maidu instruments, their practices and sounds they produced.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
KARA FIRESTONE Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Frances Desmore. “Musical instruments of the Maidu Indians”. American Anthropologist. 1939. Volume 41(8)
In what the author states as a hastily constructed article, “Musical instruments of the Maidu Indians”, Frances Desmore attempts to describe the variety of instruments used in the daily lives of the Maidu Indians. These instruments include the flute, foot drum, whistle, pipe, and musical bow. However, the article has either been rewritten by someone other than Francis Desmore, using her research, or she has written the article using someone else’s data; this was never made clear.
Using the knowledge of two informants within the tribe, the “mystery researcher” goes into tremendous details describing the instruments in general. Whether it is the foot drum carved from the stump of a large old tree, then covered with stretched animal hide, or the type of wood used in the making of flutes and whistles, the research is expertly done. However, these descriptions seem somewhat marred by the incessant “guess-work” made of the data by the actual writer of the article; in one such example, the writer attempts to use their knowledge of science to explain that it is the zinc surrounding the foot drum that truly gives it its’ resonance. When speaking of the use of whistles, the author again “quips” of how he/she suspects the whistles were probably made of different lengths, and each man blew each others whenever desired, then goes on to say, “…her notes, however, do not make this a definite statement.” The reason behind this constant narration by the writer was probably intended as an interpretive method to make sense of the data that was being transcribed, but ends up muddling the article more than expected.
All in all, this article has within it a few fascinating insights made by the actual researcher, such as the comparison of the Maidu pan pipes to those of the ancient Chinese, and going so far as to suggest there was a connection between the two, but the constant “critiquing of the researcher by the writer leaves the reader quite confounded as to what to truly make of the article.
BODHI (DIETER) RADL University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Driver, Harold E. The Measurement of Geographical Distribution Form. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol. 41(34): 583- 588
This article was written for the purpose of adding to already existing theories and writings on measurements of geographical distribution. It was meant for use in adding information to these ideas and helping to clarify them. For these reasons this article is extremely difficult to understand if you are not familiar with other writings on the subject. Most important for full understanding is to have read works by Wissler, Dixon, and Spire. These are repeatedly referred to throughout the article and given as footnote information.
As far as can be understood without any background knowledge in the field, Driver seems to be stating that social patterns are based in the center of the geographical area in which they are found, referred to in the article as the “center of gravity”. The frequency of these social patterns then become less as you travel outward from the center of gravity. However, the important factor seems to be that the frequency does not diminish in a circular spiral, but rather in an elliptical one. He also gives mathematical formulas with which exact frequencies can be calculated. To show how these equations work he gives a detailed example using the Sun Dance of Native American tribes. Driver does not explain these theories verbally; rather, he provides a number of charts, graphs and mathematical equations as proof. In most cases he refers to explanations given in other papers but does not give them himself. He also states that he is working under the same assumptions used by the authors named above, but he does not list these assumptions.
Driver’s article is obviously written with a certain audience in mind. Unfortunately, if you are not familiar with the work of his predecessors this article becomes nearly incomprehensible. He does not explain the ideas that his work is based upon, but rather, makes references to other author’s writings. It is my impression that this article could be very useful in combination with these other papers but on it’s own is very difficult to understand.
KATHERINE ANDERSEN University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Drucker, Philip. Rank, Wealth, and Kinship in Northwest Coast Society. American Anthropologist. January-March, 1939 Vol. 41(1):55-65.
This article is concerned with class and social status among indigenous groups of the Northwest Coast of North America. Drucker begins his discussion by differentiating between two primary classes of individuals. These classes were the “freemen” and the “slaves.” While Drucker recognizes that the freemen and slaves belonged to separate social classes, he maintains that among freemen in Northwest Coast Society, there were no social classes. Instead, there existed a series of graduated statuses that formed a social continuum within the same social class.
When describing the social continuum, Drucker emphasizes that there were individuals with high social status and others with low social status. However, he maintains that all individuals belonged to the same group and the difference between individuals was a difference in extent of participation within the group, not a difference in kind. Furthermore, Drucker asserts that no two individuals within the group could share the same social status. He uses the example of the potlatch to illustrate this point by maintaining that giving took place on the basis of rank and if two individuals were considered to be of equal status, the potlatch would not function properly.
Drucker emphasizes kinship in his discussion of social status. He maintains that all of the Northwest Coast groups were actually extended families. As a consequence, the individual of highest rank in the group was related to the lowest ranking individual. Drucker states that such relationships resulted in economic wealth being passed to the direct descendents of a single line. Consequently, heredity and wealth were two important factors in determining social position. Drucker concludes by maintaining that throughout the Northwest Coast, wealth was the basis for social gradation and since wealth was inherited, social status was also inherited.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DANIEL BAUER Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Embree, John, F. New and Local Kin Groups Among the Japanese Farmers of Kona, Hawaii. American Anthropologist, 1939 Vol. 23 (41): 400-407.
In his article entitled, New and Local Kin Groups Among the Japanese Farmers of Kona, Hawaii, John Embree looks at two significant aspects of social organization: kin and geographical relationships. Embree believes that, “kinship ties are among the most important of human relationships” (p. 400). He argues that when someone relocates away from their homeland, attempts are made to create the same kin and geographical relationships he or she had in their homeland. These relationships are created despite the fact that the recent immigrants do not have kin groups to form relationships with. Instead people take on “kin substitutes” who take the on the roles of the original kin group.
Embree compares the kin and geographical relationships of a rural community in Kumamoto, Japan with the relationships of Japanese men who have immigrated to Kona, Hawaii to show the similarities and differences of the two forms of relationships. Embree defines kin and geographical relationships as they exist in Japan. The kin relationship is made up of extended kin who live within the village and in nearby villages. The geographical relationships consist of fifteen to twenty households that are closely located to each other within the village called buraku.
The extended kin groups serve very important functions in the lives of their relatives because kin partake in what Embree calls the three crises of life: marriage, death and disaster. Embree describes in clear and specific detail how the kin members are involved in marriage and death arrangements and ceremonies but he does not give any information about their involvement in disaster situations. Extended kin groups also participate in other functions that are not considered to be crises. These include the annual New Year’s Festival, Bon – the festival of the dead – and family council, which is when a man calls upon the council of his extended family because he is contemplating an important decision in his life.
The role of the buraku within the village serves a different but just as important function. Embree explains the buraku’s function as a cooperative entity. He gives five examples of how members from each of the fifteen to twenty households cooperate to achieve various means. The five examples include: civic cooperation, helping cooperation, exchange labor and the rotating responsibility for certain buraku affairs by small groups. Many of the cooperative tasks include a drinking party at completion of the task funded by all the members of the buraku involved or by the person who assistance was given to.
The differences between kin and geographic relationships that a Japanese would have in Japan, compared to the relationships he has in Hawaii, are many. Because the immigrants Embree refers to are the first generation of Japanese to move to this area, there are little or no kin relatives. Instead, the Japanese of Kona consider someone who has lived in the same or neighboring village a type of kin relative. They also form their own versions of buraku with people in the community despite the fact many of them do not live as close as the members of a buraku in Japan would. These new versions of kin and buraku groups participate in the same celebrations such as the three crises of life, the annual New Year’s Festival, Bon, and family council but they participate in different capacities. Embree shows that the general idea of community involvement and cooperation among Japanese relations is still present although it is among a different group of Japanese in another country.
Embree’s article proceeds clearly. It is easy to follow the comparisons he makes between citizens in Japan and the Japanese immigrants in Hawaii.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CRYSTAL TRACY University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Embree, John F. New and Local Kin Groups Among the Japanese Farmers of Kona, Hawaii. American Anthropologist July-Sept, 1939 Vol. 41(3):400-407
The author examines the distinction between the social relationships of a Japanese immigrant farming society in Kona, Hawaii and their counterparts in rural Japan. He uses a years worth of data he compiled while living in a small village in Japan to show how functions of kin relationships from the “old country” are used in the new “kin-less” social structure.
In a rural Japanese village, or mura, the most important groups are the household, which is patriarchal and consists of the master and his wife, their first son and his wife and kids and their unmarried children, and the buraku, made up of 15 to 20 households. The household and extended family function together for occasions such as marriage, funerals, New Year, Bon (festival of the dead), and important life decisions like sale or purchase of land. In the buraku the households cooperate to repair roads, build or repair houses, plant crops, and handle other small affairs for the mura. In Kona they have formed groups, kumi, much like buraku. Very few first generation settlers have blood ties. They live far apart with many not knowing all the members of their kumi. This, along with the capitalist environment, allows for less cooperation. Nevertheless, occasions such as weddings and funerals will bring a kumi together. A closer relationship is the kin substitute, or tokoro- mon, being a person from the same region in Japan. The closer they lived, the closer the friend. They replace what is missing in kinship.
Embree’s comparison gives a clear view of how members of a new society attempt to keep social structures and relationships intact and how they attempt to replace what they have lost.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
STEVE CUTRIGHT Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Forde, Daryll C. Kinship in Umor – Double Unilateral Organization in a Semi-Bantu Society. American Anthropologist October-December, 1939 Vol. 41(4): 523-553.
In C.Daryll Forde’s article, Kinship in Umor-Double Unilateral Organization in a Semi-Bantu Society, the Umor village in Nigeria is closely analyzed for the significance it places on kinship relations. The article provides an in-depth explanation, with diagrams, on the Umor culture and its functions according to patrilineal and matrilineal principles in 1935. From personal contact with the Umor people, Forde describes how the patrilineal and matrilineal kin of the Umor people effected not only the composition of the village, but also the manner of its every day activities. Many examples are provided with Umor terminology to specify specific relations in kinships. For example “Kepun” denotes patrilineal kin, “Lejima” denotes matrilineal kin, and “Yabot” indicates “the leaders”.
Forde begins the article with brief descriptions of patrilineal and matrilineal kin. He explains the rights and obligations of the matrilineal groups, which do not formally conflict with those of the patrilineal kinship. In the article, a large emphasis is placed on describing the matrilineal and patrilineal division into different clans. Through observation, Forde uses his personal accounts to describe individual matrilineal kin groups, such as the small Yabot 11 lijima, and illuminates in further detail with complex diagrams. In the body of his article, Forde does admit, however, that lack of detail makes some of the material obtained incomplete.
The importance of the matrilineal group as vehicles of ritual power and legal authority is stressed in the article. Forde demonstrates the dominance of the matrilineal kin by using examples such as adoption, marriage payments and matrilineal land rights. This dominance of matrilineal kin indicates to Forde, older elements of a dual unilateral social system. The Umor, according to Forde, indicate unilineal kin groups, which are recognized for developing in a series of stages from the more primitive to the more advanced. Forde observed that the patrilineal principles of 1939 were overcoming, in some aspects, the matrilineal ascendancy. Evidence of this is presented in Forde’s observation of marriage payments and the acknowledgement of the elders in the settlements of village affairs. In Relation, Forde concludes that economic and political changes are the main contributing factor to a sway in patrilineal principles over matrilineal ascendancy.
Considering this article was written in 1939, many of Forde’s ideas about kinship parallel those of today. Forde clears up any confusion in the body of the article, with the assistance of diagrams and charts that describe each of the different maternal and paternal kinships.
CLARITY RATING: 4
MEGAN WEST University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Forde, C. Daryll. Kinship in Umor—Double Unilateral Organization in a Semi-Bantu Society. American Anthropologist Oct-Dec. 1939. Vol. 41(4): 523-553.
In this article, author C. Daryll Forde discusses the double unilateral descent of the Yako people of Umor, an area in southern Nigeria. He begins by describing the patrilineal kin, a group called the kepun. The men usually obtain land and forested areas, as well as a locality in which to live and raise a family through their patrilineal relatives, or those on the father’s side. The residence of married couples is patrilocal, meaning the new couple moves to live on the husband’s father’s land. Marriage is strictly exogamous among the kepun, which is not a problem, since all the men who are related to each other live in the same compound. This is the lineage and genealogy that has been studied more frequently, but the author contends that matrilineal descent plays a strong part in the stability of the community.
Forde goes on to describe the women’s lineage, called the lejima. These groups are necessarily mobile and spread out through the villages, and members may retain only cursory knowledge of all but their close matrilineal kin. Still, there are rights and obligations that arise because of these affiliations. The matrilineal kin of the prospective husband provides most of the bride price for a woman. The dowry is, in turn, given to the matrilineal relatives of the wife, to be repaid by them if the bride runs off with another man or dies prematurely. Also, much of the movable items that a person may inherit are inherited through the mother’s lineage. The matrilineal kin must repay any outstanding debts of a person if he or she dies or fails to repay the creditor within a reasonable amount of time. The kin of the mother’s family has other responsibilities as well. The murder of a man (or a woman) is held accountable to be repaid as if it were a debt of the matrilineal side of the murderer, and they may be required to submit a marriageable girl to the dead man’s lejima by way of repayment, although the patrilineal relatives do not receive any such compensation.
This article was very clearly written and easily understandable, and provided insights into the “other side” of lineal descent among people in Nigeria.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JENNIE KANYOK Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)
Fortune, R.F. Arapesh Warfare. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41:22-41
This article examines the social practices and conventions of New Guinea’s Arapesh tribe with respect to warfare. This article contains important data and insight about the indigenous peoples of New Guinea, and helps to distinguish the practices of people in a particular locality from those of their neighbors. While early colonial powers in the area may have viewed New Guinea’s indigenous people as a homogeneous group of vicious headhunters, it is clear from this article that this is an ignorant viewpoint. In contrast, there were distinct groups that had unique cultures and languages. This article therefore is an important part of the documentation of the Arapesh customs. As warfare among the New Guinea tribesman had been suppressed by the German colonial powers since 1914, only older members of the tribe could recall actual incidents and thus it was important to document this information before it was lost.
I assume that Fortune’s data is a result of participant observation. The author never states the nature of the research, but he/she does speak the language, which leads to my afore mentioned assumption. The data is presented in a roughly sequential way. The author outlines the boundaries of Arapesh land, and how said land was divided between clans. Also noted is how the land was passed down through lines of patrilineal decent. The author continues with the reasons that warfare was usually declared. Unlike western nations, land annexation was apparently not a motivating factor. Arapesh warfare appears to have served a social function in their society, and the major objective of war was to deplete the adjacent tribes of people, whether by taking the heads of their men, or abducting their women.
A common catalyst for warfare was “piracy” of women from neighboring tribes. These incidents were not simply kidnapping, but orchestrated events in which women from a different locality could divorce their husbands. Fortune proceeds to describe the nature of warfare, and the conditions required to declare it. Also included is a traditional speech that was given by one of woman’s male relatives after she had been taken. The speech appears in English as well as a transliterated version in the Arapesh language. The author describes the methods of war from battle to sorcery, or black magic. Also addressed is the Arapesh preference for spousal monogamy, even though polygamy was commonplace, and the process of arranged marriage in Arapesh culture. The article closes with another transliterated speech that preaches the benefits of monogamy, and the dangers of marring a widowed or divorced woman.
MIKE METCALF University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Fortune, R.F. Arapesh Warfare. American Anthropologist January, 1939 Vol.1 :22-41
In this article R.F. Fortune discusses the Arapesh tribe and their form of warfare. The Arapesh inhabit a small strip of land in the northwest of New Guinea. This tribe and the tribes that surround it have very little political unity; a word for this unity does not even exist in their vocabulary. These tribes are divided by internal frontiers as well as very strict moral codes. Family is extremely important to the Arapesh people. The piracy of women seems to be the cause of most of the violence, and though there may be other issues bride-capture does play a role in war.
Fortune illustrates the importance of family by discussing the importance of children. It is more important to have children than it is to have land for those children. Women are the ultimate loss to a family or locality. Female family members are the cause of war. They are allowed to go willingly to another family on some occasions and in other occasions the women are sent back to the family they have left. The only time the Arapesh will go to war is when the majority of the locality has agreed to fight for a woman.
These wars take place on cleared land that is located on cleared areas that border the warring localities’ land. The use of magic and sorcery are an often-used alternative to physical violence. These forms of sorcery are used to kill and wound members of the opposing group. Though physical skirmishes may be quite violent the loss of one or two members may be enough to stop one side from fighting. Betrayal is also very common during these wars.
Fortune ends that article by discussing the structure of the Arapesh family. A man’s first wife is most often chosen for him by his family and the family of his wife to be. The parents decide who is to be married and the children are raised together at the end of their childhood. The daughter-in-law owes a great debt to this new family. These debts include debt for food, housing and everything else that the husband’s family has provided. Because of this debt the young wife may have very few rights. Wives entering the picture by choice at a later date may not incur these debts therefor having much more power in their newly obtained family.
Fortune’s article not only discusses the warfare of the Arapesh, but also their social structure, and their strong feelings about family especially women.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
LAURA WARREN Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)
Haas R. Mary. Natchez And Chitimacha Clans And Kinship Terminology. American Anthropologist, 1939 Vol (41): 597-610
Mary R. Haas’ purpose for writing this article was to share new information about Natchez and Chitimacha clans and their kinship terminology. Most of Haas’ information in the article was obtained from Watt Sam and Nancy Raven who were the last remaining speakers of the Natchez language.
The general concern discussed is which source the Natchez clan system was taken from. Haas discussed the Creek tribal town of Abihka, which consisted of Indians of Creek, Natchez and Cherokee ancestry. It is interesting to note that the Cherokee were considered to be temporary members. From her research, Haas concluded that the Natchez clan system was a recent innovation. This meant that the Natchez clan system had likely been incorporated from some other tribe. What Haas discovered when she compared the Natchez clan system to that of the Cherokee and Abihka was that the Natchez clan system was more similar to the Abihka. For example, Natchez clans and Abihka clans had the same clan names like Raccoon, Wind, and Bear. In comparison, the Natchez clan system and the Cherokee clan system did not have any similar clan names.
The kinship terminology of the Natchez is also discussed. Upon comparing the Natchez terminology to that of the Creek, Cherokee and Abihka, Haas found the Natchez kinship terminology to be more similar to that of the Creek. In only two features did the languages of the Natchez and the Cherokee differ. The two differences were the fact that the father’s sister is not classified with the grandmother and that the father’s brother is not classified with the father nor the mother’s sister with the mother. However, aside from those two features mentioned above the Natchez kinship terminology is identical to that of the Creeks.
Another portion of the article is devoted to discussing the clan system of the Chitimacha. Haas referred to the account of the history and ethnology of the Chitimacha written by Swanton. Swanton had argued that totemic clans existed among the Chitimacha. In another connection he mentioned the fact that each member of the tribe possessed an animal guardian spirit. However, Haas discovered in a conversation with Swanton in 1936 that he now believed that Chitimacha did not have totemic clans and what he took to be clan affiliations were really affiliations with animal guardians.
This article is important to anthropology because it shows how one culture can integrate traits from another culture into their own. This is proven in how the Natchez took their clan system from the Abihka and their kinship terminology from the Creek. This article is also important to anthropology because it demonstrated how anthropologist ideas could change with new information that is learned. This is seen in what Swanton experienced.
In summary this article was very difficult to understand. It was a struggle to try to determine what the author was writing about especially with the information on the kinship terminology.
CHELSEA ASTILL University Of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Haas, Mary R. Natchez and Chitimacha Clans and Kinship Terminology. American Anthropologist October-December, 1939 Vol.41(4):597-609.
Mary Haas takes a look at the Natchez and Chitimacha tribes, both believed to have caste systems and possibly, though doubtful, matrilineal clan systems. The author also includes Chitimacha kinship terminology and other Natchez terminology to better integrate and understand the subjects at hand.
Firstly, Haas attempts to distinguish whether the Natchez were from direct descent of the Creeks or Cherokee. She uses supplemental information from Watt Sam, born in the Creek tribal town of Abihka in Georgia, which is composed of Indians of Natchez, Creek and Cherokee blood. However, it is noted that the Natchez and Creeks are permanent members while the Cherokee are merely temporary members. This can be seen when the Indians were removed to Indian Territory. Those Natchez Abihka intermarried with Cherokees settled in different locations from the remaining Natchez Abihka whom settled in the Creek Nation.
According to the primary informant, Watt Sam, seven Natchez clans existed: Raccoon, Wind, Bear, Bird, Snake, Deer, and Panther. Nancy Raven, a secondary source, gave the same account with the exception of the Alligator replacing the Snake. Haas takes this information from her sources and compares them to those of Abihka clans, two other Creek clans studied by John R. Swanton, and then to Cherokee clans. The findings showed the Natchez clans went hand-in-hand with those listed in the Abihka and two other Creek clans of different origins, however greatly differed from those of Cherokee clans. From this information, it is inferred that in fact the Natchez have been removed or derived from the earlier Creeks and not the Cherokee.
Moreover, the author attempts to differentiate the Natchez definitions of “clan” and “caste.” She concludes either when the caste system died out, the idea of “clan” as “caste” was lost, or on the other hand, since the early caste system and the current clan system are alike in both being matrilineal and exogamous, that the definition of the same word (“clan”) differs in historical context.
In discussing Chitimacha clans, Haas states that through conversing with Swanton, she has found that clans do not exist, but rather a process of obtaining a guardian spirit. Haas uses a linguistic researcher’s study of Benjamin Paul, a principal informant and last tribal chief, and his accounts on the process of obtaining an animal guardian.
The process begins with six days of fasting, in which members dance about a fire until they faint and have unconscious dreams about one of the animals associated with the clans. The animal that the member leagues with later becomes their animal guardian and protects them. If a death occurs, and many have, it is believed a flying devil takes one’s soul. In addition members who have “white blood” are not able to withstand the fire dance and thus the practice has been discontinued.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JAMIE LYNN HOLTMANN Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Dr. Jonathan Hill)
Heizer, Robert F. Fenenga, Franklin. Archaeological Horizons in Central California. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol. 41:378-399.
The authors wanted to define the cultural condition in the lower Sacramento Valley for three different time frames: Early, Middle, and Late. They presented information about the things found in each time period and how it related to a cultural finding for this area.
They start off by giving brief descriptions of each period, and then goes into more detail on some of the items found in those times. They say that some artifacts that represent cultural existence do not appear until later times. They present pictures that have artifacts of all three times to help demonstrate when there was culture. Some of the pictures are tools, weapons, and burial habits. There is also a graph that shows time periods and quantities for Indians beads, which were one of the key indicators of cultural periods.
Burials are one of the most convincing types of cultural evidence. There is a graph that shows information about the burials found during different time periods, it indicating that there were more burials from the Late period than in the Early or Middle period. The graphs demonstrate that the existence of culture is more prominent in the later periods.
The authors conclude their article by restating all the evidence they had given in the paper and say that the culture is comparable to Rogers’ Hunting People and Olson’s Early Mainland.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DEREK KOCHER Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Dr. Jonathan Hill)
Robert F. Heizer and Franklin Fenenga. Archaeological Horizons In Central California.American Anthropologist September, 1939 Vol.41 (22): 378-396
“Archaeological Horizons In Central California” attempts to disclaim the widely cited view that California culture is uniform and has remained unchanged for thousands of years. The writers, Heizer and Fenenga collected studied the remains of past human culture in the Sacramento Valley in California. Burial techniques, flaked implements, weapons, incised-line decoration, “bird cult”, house remains, grinding implements, stone pipes, stone beads, fish spears and fishhooks, shell beads, and abalone ornaments were all focus areas of the research.
Culture periods are developed and named as Early, Transitional, and Later based on the hypothetical evolutionary use of the items fore mentioned. For example, Heizer and Fenenga illustrated difference in time periods by examining the use of weapons. During the Early Horizon, spears with a heavy, leaf-shaped stone for the spearhead is classified as from the Early Horizons. Later in the transitional period, people used a similar technique and form, but the spearhead is smaller and more refined. Spearheads turn into arrow points delicately notched and are ethnographically typed to the Late period.
The assumptions above are based on hypothetical evolutionary history. Likewise, the writers applied such logical assumptions of the evolutionary histories to determine the time period. Early, is the first period where human culture remains such as olivella, abalone shells and stone materials are found. The next period, Transitional period, is characterized by the use of metate, Olivella beads: type 3b, Abalone disc beads instead of rectangular abalone beads and the practice of cremation, ceremonial animal burial, and the burials flexed instead of the extended ventrally. Finally, they sited the use of the Biotite pendants, clamshell and Abalone ornaments as the Late period.
From the above speculations, Heizer and Fenenga are later able to determine the time periods of the site from which the artifacts were found. The writers found that in some cases there are different cultures periods within one site while others were “Pure culture” sites, occupied by one culture period only. Fortunately, there were more scientific research projects that supported this speculation. Age can be determined by the progressive stages of mineralization of skeletal material and in duration of deposits. The study of physical anthropology in the area of human’s skull is consistent with the writers’ speculations.
Though the theory of this study seems valid and is consistent with the results of the carbon dating, it is evident that a detailed and sophisticated archaeological research on the prehistory of California has been done. The writers go from speculating how and when the people used the historical items to mapping out possible time at the location sites to prove that there was a great deal of changes in the California culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 4.5
GABRIEL TOU University of Alberta: (Dr. Heather Young Leslie).
Herskovits, Melville, J. Robert Sutherland Rattray. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41(10):130-131.
This article focuses on how, in the untimely death of Robert Southerland Rattray, anthropology and Africanist studies have lost a significant figure (130). The author sets out to prove R. S. Rattray’s importance in these fields by outlining key contributions he has made to anthropology throughout the period of his life.
The author arranges this article in a chronological order of R. S. Rattray’s contributions, beginning with his first encounter with the African culture as a soldier with the British forces during the Boer War. The author then describes R. S. Rattray’s work with the Chinyanja people as “little-known but valuable work” (130). Yet it was his work with these people, that earned him the position of head of the Department of Anthropology in Ashanti, Gold Coast. The author proceeds to list several volumes R. S. Rattray has written on the Ashanti. The author acknowledges R. S. Rattray as a great linguist, ethnologist, and novelist. And again, lists several principle works written by him on the subjects of linguistics, ethnography, and his novel depicting “native life in the Gold Coast” (130).
This article, in its entirety, amounts to one page in length. This is brief for the author’s reference to R. S. Rattray as a “significant figure” (130) in anthropology. This article lacks substance and is very limited in details pertaining to R. S. Rattray himself, to his background, and to the depth into his investigations and studies. In fact, the only background information stated is that of his training at Oxford, and of his “passion for gliding, which caused his death” (130). Such vagueness of details about him eludes that little is known about the man besides the titles of his published works. It is evident by the numerous written works R. S. Rattray has published that he is very dedicated to the study of anthropology. However, the author’s approach of simply naming the titles of these works does not convince the reader that R. S. Rattray was a prominent figure. Instead, this article leaves many unanswered questions in the minds of readers as to who this man is, and why he is so important to anthropological studies.
MEREDITH ROBINSON University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Herskovits, J. Melville. Robert Sutherland Rattray. American Anthropologist March, 1939 Vol. 41 (1):130-131.
Melville J. Herskovits’ article examines the life and works of Mr. Robert Sutherland Rattray. Rattray had received his anthropological training at Oxford and he devoted himself to the studies which especially interested him. He wrote several volumes on the Ashanti. First, he went to African as a soldier in the British forces during the Boer War, where he was in full activity in British central Africa from 1902 to 1907 and he was on the staff of the African Lakes Corporation, British Central Africa. In 1907, he entered the British Colonial Service and in 1924 he created the Anthropology Department in Ashanti on the Gold Coast.
Rattray was famous as a linguist. He published several well-known books; for example, it is Hausa Folk-lore, Mole Grammar. He was also famous as the geographical affiliations of Ashanti culture.
His other passion was gliding, and he died in a gliding accident in 1938. Moreover, he was first person to fly from England to the Gold Coast. He had much curiosity. Because of the curiosity, he could contribute West African ethnography.
Finally, his pioneer contributions to West African ethnography will establish for him a firm place among ethnographers. He was an ethnographer rather than an ethnologist. In other words, he was just interested in particular cultures and studied cultures.
In conclusion, the author explains Robert Sutherland Rattray’s life. Robert contributed to studies of African cultures. He was interested in studied many cultures. His main contribution to anthropology was as pioneer in West African ethnography.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
MASAYUKI MIYAZAWA Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Hill, W.W. STABILITY IN CULTURE AND PATTERN. American Anthropologist April-June, 1939 Vol.41(2):258-260.
Stability in culture and pattern means that a ritual is within a society, even though the society itself changes. Change within a culture is more common than stability due to individual change, which ultimately affects the society. Culture continues to change when individuals modify rituals, which are relatively stable events. For the stability of the ritual is found only in the fact that it is performed many times over by a group of people who may alter the event in order to test its’ effectiveness. W.W. Hill briefly explains this phenomenon for the United States National Museum.
Hill argues that stability within cultures exists in phases and pertains to certain ritual ceremonies that become tradition. He tries to show how this stability is possible within a culture by presenting variations in the ceremony performed by individuals that may alter the preexisting form of the ritual. Slight variations change the form; however, the cultural pattern remains constant.
The Night Way Chant shows how over time a cultural pattern can remain stable, even though individual persons may perform it for different purposes throughout the year. These changes are inevitable within a society, for the individual makes decisions that affect their environment. In the case of the Navaho, the people perform the Night Way Chant during the winter hoping to bring rain to their region after they sow their crops. However, individuals take it upon themselves to conduct a summer performance of part of the ritual, even though other members of the tribe do not sanction it. The outcome of this type of performance may result in no rain for the region, which is an undesired effect. Therefore, the Night Way Chant performance should occur during the winter in order to produce the desired effect of rain in the summer.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
MARCIE BREWER Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)
Hoebel, E. Adamson. Comanche and H7kandika Shoshone Relationship Systems. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41:440-457.
Kinship systems and their terminology are important not only for denoting one’s relatives but also determining how one should behave in society. Hoebel compared and contrasted the terminology and nomenclature of the Comanche and H7kandika Shoshone of North America and how their kinship terms related to other aspects of their society.
In this article, Hoebel listed thirty-one categories of relatives that these groups recognized and he detailed what names, in both the Comanche and H7kandika language, were used for each kind of relative, thereby noting the similarities and differences. He found that these two groups, who lived close to one another, shared 80% of their kinship terms. By describing in detail what terms they used, he described their kinship systems. For example, he found that all children, who according to typical North American kinship terms would be classified as cousins, were seen by both the Comanche and the H7kandika as siblings and therefore all the boys were called brother (paßa) and all the girls were called sister (patsi or pazi). Other examples are that both bands used the same term for father, father’s brother and mother’s sister’s husband and that conversely, the same term was also used for mother as for mother’s sister and father’s brother’s wife. Such descriptions in the article were somewhat difficult to understand, though, especially since Hoebel predominately used abbreviations for these kinship terms.
Hoebel found that these kinship terms were related to the marriage groups of the Comanche and H7kandika. The reason the same term was used for brother as for a male cousin was because a girl married neither her brother nor her male cousins. The people in one’s marriage group were all seen as the same and were therefore given similar names. But people of a different marriage group were distinguished through the use of different names. Therefore, ego’s father and all the people he called brother composed one marriage group and were the potential mates of ego’s mother and the people she called sister, which composed a complementary marriage group. For example, a man’s son and the son of his brother were equal and he called both of them son but the son of his sister was his nephew because he was in a different marriage group.
The names used for different kin also indicated the different interactions and relationships that were deemed appropriate between different people. For example, the relationship between brothers was an informal, helpful one, whereas interactions between brothers and sisters were more reserved and formal. Boys were respectful and obedient towards their fathers but with their maternal uncles they were able to be more informal and experienced more comradeship.
Kinship systems are important as they can form the basis for acceptable behaviors and social relations. Hoebel, in describing the kinship system of the Comanche and H7kandika, described the effect of interfamilial exchange marriage systems on kinship nomenclature, which had previously only been theoretically hypothesised by anthropologists such as Dr. Edward Gifford. Hoebel, therefore, provided proof of this theory and contributed to cultural anthropology valuable information about these peoples.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
KATHERINE VLADICKA University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Hoebel, E. Adamson. Comanche and Hekandika Shoshone Relationship Systems. American Anthropologist July-Sept. 1939. Vol. 41(3): 440-457.
E. Adamson Hoebel’s article is about the similarity and homogeneity of the kinship terminology of the Comanche and the Hekandika Shoshone (alternately referred to as “Seed Eaters” in the text) peoples. The author begins the article with a key for abbreviations that are used in the kinship diagrams. Then, Hoebel proceeds to list the equivalent kinship categories and the names by which they are called in both the Shoshone and Comanche languages. For example, the mother, mother’s sister and father’s brother’s wife are grouped in the same kinship category which is called “pia” in both Comanche and Shoshone. This category equates with “mother.” This system is mapped out for the reader in a genealogy diagram which, at each relation, has numbers corresponding to the given kinship categories. The author continues with a listing of the principal features of the kinship systems of the Hekandika and Comanche peoples.
Hoebel goes on, in the second half of the article, to discuss the marriage organization of the Comanche and Shoshone. Both groups practiced inter-familial exchange marriage. Some exceptions and distinctions are noted. The attitude of each member of a category and the way each family member is treated is explained. Differences between the way the Shoshone and the Comanche treated members of their family or marriage group are discussed here also.
This article would be of interest to those studying the classificatory systems and kinship terminology of Native Americans. Unfortunately, it is a tough article to decipher because of all the abbreviations used, and frequent reference to both the abbreviations key and the diagram illustrating relationships will probably be needed by anyone not versed in general kinship terminology. Still, with careful reading and repeated reference checks of the tables provided, the article can be deciphered by a layperson. It then gives an informative view into the complex terminologies used and the intricate practice of inter-familial exchange marriage in two societies which follow the model almost perfectly.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
JENNIE KANYOK Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)
Kluckhohn, Clyde. On Certain Recent Applications of Association Coefficients to Ethnological Data. American Anthropologist July-September, 1939 Vol. 41 (3):345-377.
In this article Kluckhohn looks at the controversy surrounding the application of statistical methodology in ethnologic research. In this debate there are two main points of view. The dominant one is that of whether or not an objective statistical analysis can be used to examine subjective cultural characteristics. An example that Kluckhohn uses is that a ritual dance may occur in two different cultures and therefore, in a statistical analysis, both cultures would receive a plus mark (+) for present. This mark says nothing of how these two dances vary, what sexes are involved, what participants wear, etc. These dances could be completely convergent as is seen in the fins of sharks and dolphins which are very similar in function and appearance but which have evolved in two completely different ways, or these dances could be related but very distantly. The second point, which logically follows is that if statistics can be used what procedures should be used to manipulate the data. Kluckhohn breaks his discussion down into three sections.
The first section introduces the reader to the discussion, and then gives a brief history. In this section the reader is faced with a list of at least fifteen names of accredited authors in this area. These names range from prominent anthropological figures, chiefly F. Boas, to those more influential in statistics.
In section two Kluckhohn breaks down ten papers published on this subject between 1932 and 1939 into six general statements. These six statements essentially give the reader the method for how cultural data is objectified and rendered into numerical values, and what the benefits or inherent problems of this process may be. The goal of this approach Kluckhohn says is the “expression of distributional relationships ‘more precisely and definitely’ than is possible verbally, and with ‘greater or less corrections of ethnological interpretations.’”
Section three is the body or “center piece” of Kluckhohn’s discussion, and is subdivided in to three parts. In section IIIa. Kluckhohn introduces section three as “an essay in anthropological theory.” In section IIIb. he asks whether or not statistical analysis can aid in solving any ethnological problems, or are the possible hazards enough to render the act useless. In section IIIc. Kluckhohn talks for several pages in statistical jargon about useful equations, coefficients, etc. Finally in IIId. he sums up his discussion by saying that there is no way to answer these questions conclusively because ethnological data collection is never complete and therefore statistical analysis can never be complete.
In section IV Kluckhohn presents passages of advice, and analogy from a couple of authors. In conclusion Kluckhohn ends stating that currently there is not enough evidence to answer these questions for ethnologists, but that attempts should be made.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DANIEL H. VANZANT Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Kluckhohn, C. On Certain Recent Applications of Association Coefficients to Ethnological Data American Anthropologist July-September, 1939 Vol.41(21):345-378.
Kluckhohn questions the direction of anthropological theory towards the application of statistical formulas in analyzing ethnological data that was taking place during the 1930s. He credits Tylor, Boas, Steinmetz, Czekanowski and Hobhouse as those who helped pioneer said direction of anthropological theory. Nevertheless, while this movement in anthropological theory has many noteworthy anthropologists guiding its progress, Kluckhohn is wary of suggesting it is an infallible method of study. However, he does advise that anthropologists do away with the “secret” anthropological premise that “every method which is not fully good is bad”, which to him seems to echo in the logic of most anthropological theory.
Instead, he suggests that this movement should not be judged in such a cleat-cut manner, as to whether it is “good” or “bad”. Furthermore, Kluckhohn proves that there is no amount of evidence to prove this theory to be “right” or “wrong”. Kluckhohn advises that we evaluate this movement of anthropological theory carefully, especially since the use of statistical formulas is still in what could be called an experimental stage. He coins the terms “sympathetic tolerance” and “icy enthusiasm” for how anthropologists should judge new anthropological methods, such as the application of statistical formulas in analyzing ethnological data.
While the application of statistical formulas in analyzing ethnological data is seemingly outdated nowadays, the review of this method of anthropological study is not what we should take away from Kluckhohn’s suggestions. Instead, his ideas of “sympathetic tolerance” and “icy enthusiasm” are still quite valuable, as we should tread carefully while judging new anthropological methods.
ANDREW THOMPSON University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Lesser, Alexander. Problems Versus Subject Matter as Directives of Research.* American Anthropologist October-December, 1939 Vol. 41 (4):574-582.
Alexander Lesser’s article discusses many topics about how to present field research based on previously recorded or new contemporary issues. He provides this information based on either functional (new research) or historical (previously recorded). There is a lengthy discussion on questions that may arise from conducting functional research: create a hypothesis or develop a theory, test the material and presentation or publication. He then discusses how theories and hypotheses can lead to a more critical analysis by other individuals; theories can be scrutinized and proven wrong by future research. By stating this, Lesser explained that a hypothesis is directly connected with research that may need to be performed and built upon in the future.
The author discusses how a writer must always strive for “perfecting their techniques” by the way they collect data, conduct research and present their data. He stresses that research must be approached from a specifically stated problem and it dependant whether an individual chooses to present this information explicitly or implicitly. These considerations also lead to problems because both ways of presenting information can lead to further analysis. Lesser also stresses that research that has already been performed on existing and extinct cultures leads to new questions that can and will be answered; current research with a fresh approach. He concludes this article by stressing that social anthropology (those dealing with current issues among society) can reflect on past societies to create and answer questions.
Alexander Lesser’s article would appeal to social science students that may be looking for answers about conducting research and which approach may be taken.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KARA FIRESTONE Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Jonathan Hill
Lesser, Alexander. Problems Versus Subject Matter as Directives of Research. American Anthropologist. 1939. Vol 41:33 Pgs 574-82.
In this article, the author discussed his opinion of the trend of ethnological theory in 1939.
What concerned the author was that there was too much generality in research and little specifying of the point or goal that researchers wished to discover. He believed that anthropological sciences should have analyzed problems that were relevant to contemporary society instead of continuously describing societies.
His points were valid and justifiable. Without a defined problem or hypotheses, research may lack direction. He stated that “the hypothesis frames what we expect to be true on the basis of past study and checks it in future study” (577).
The author believed that statements of a problem should have been more succinct as well as the subject matter studied. For example he stated that “a mere distribution study does not avoid problems”, but ,” in many cases shows the problems to be sterile” (578). He used the distribution study to illustrate how it had been used in the past to gather information and to point out its limitations. One of its major limitations, he believed, was the fact that it was usually used as a descriptive means without a clearly defined hypothesis.
The author of this article clearly supported his arguments with examples and facts. His statements were supported by offering a few advantages of a distinct hypothesis: speculations are minimized, it guides the research, reduced “artificial departmentalization of the social sciences”(582). Throughout the paper he restated his position and offered more examples of why defining a hypothesis was important and necessary for meaningful research. By constantly restating his points, the paper moved smoothly from one point to another and the audience was always aware of his position and the purpose of his paper.
JENEIL AGARD University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Lothrop, S.K. The Southeastern Frontier of the Maya. American Anthropologist N.S., 1939 Vol. 41 (3): 42-54
In this article, Lothrop examines the complexities that were, and still are present in trying to set specific and limited boundaries among groups of people. He uses the example of the 1939 European political map to show how groups are so intermingled that it is very difficult to successfully separate them with a single, political line. His purpose in this article is to show how these same boundary problems applied to the Mayan people, and he sets out to firmly establish the limits to their Central American boundaries.
In trying to set the Mayan territorial limits, Lothrop examines their former presence in the territories of what are now the nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. He does this in considerable detail, and examines archaeological, historical, and linguistic evidence. He first examines the western part of El Salvador and the bordering area of Guatemala. He draws upon evidence collected by the Spaniards during their invasion of the area, establishing that three different aboriginal peoples had settled there at differing times.
The Xinca people were the first to settle in the area. The second group, the Ikogami, were likely the Xinca’s descendants. The Maya were the third and final group. Lothrop uses research done by linguists and historians to prove that the Maya were originally invaders from South America. The main evidence for this is in their language, similar to the Arawak tongue of South America, and in their accounts, where they themselves say that they are foreigners.
The expansions of the Mayan holdings are then further described. They established a presence in several areas of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Afterwards, they were displaced by a people from Mexico called the Pipil, eventually resulting in four main Mayan colonies in El Salvador. In the remainder of his argument, the author examines archaeological evidence found in El Salvador, followed by a thorough examination of Honduras.
Lothrop attempts to prove the former presence of the Mayan throughout these areas. In El Salvador, he believes that their southeastern limit was the western bank of the lower Lempa river. In Honduras he is less certain, as he states that finds from there had both Mayan and non-Mayan artifacts found in close proximity to each other. Although he provides great detail and lengthy explanations, Lothrop’s arguments are not always as convincing as they could be. In parts of the article, he provides good, widely accepted evidence to support his claims. However, in other parts, he uses a personal bias, where he draws upon his own experiences. This occasionally undermines the validity of his findings. Lothrop is a professionally trained archaeologist, and his descriptions of sites he had visited cannot be discounted. However, there are certain examples that are less valid. In one specific example, he states that he had viewed private collections said to be Mayan. These collections were removed from their context, and such evidence is not as convincing as other claims. Therefore, the quality of his argument is undermined.
Despite the inherent problems in his work, the author does make it clear that the Mayans had once lived in varying locations throughout Central America. By showing how different ethnic and linguistic groups were constantly shuffled and mingled in the area, he shows how complex trying to fix boundaries on groups of people is. However, the article is also somewhat confusing and misleading. Although it does make several good points, this article needs to be carefully and closely read to be fully understood.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
MIKE MLYNARZ University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Lothrop, S. K. The Southeastern Frontier of the Maya. American Anthropologist January-March, 1939 Vol.41(1):42-54.
Lothrop defines the southeastern boundaries of the Maya by examining the historic and linguistic data recorded by the Spanish upon contact as well as corresponding archaeological evidence. The archaeological artifacts used in this analysis consisted of Mayan glyphs and polychrome and carved pottery. This data is used to show the pattern of migration and settlement of the Maya across the region. Lothrop traces the origins of the Maya based on proposed similarities with the Arawak languages found in South America. This data suggests that the first Mayan populations moved north into Guatemala, occupying lands previously settled by the Ikomagi. After the development of the classical culture, the Maya expanded their territory, not only to the north and west, but also in Honduras and El Salvador to the south and east, displacing non-Mayan populations.
After the Maya expansion the Pipil, a Nahua-speaking group from Mexico, invaded the region establishing settlements in Guatemala and El Salvador, establishing a dominant presence. The Spanish records indicate the existence of scattered populations in El Salvador west and south of the lower Lempa Valley that spoke varieties of the Mayan language, which were also found in both Guatemala and Honduras. Lothrop argues that the presence of these Mayan languages in El Salvador, despite Pipil domination, suggests an earlier continuous distribution of Mayan populations throughout the region. The archaeological evidence confirms the presence of Mayan populations in El Salvador and in some instances marks an expansion further south and east than the linguistic data suggests.
The linguistic and historical evidence in Honduras is more limited. Conclusive linguistic documentation only marks Mayan presences in southwestern Honduras and in the Copan region to the northwest. Archaeological evidence is also limited, both due to a lack of archaeological investigation and the presence of non-Mayan mounds and artifacts in the region. There is however archaeologically confirmed Mayan occupation in the northeast as well as areas in the Ulua valley that have both Mayan and non-Mayan features.
Using the available linguistic, historical, and archaeological information, Lothrop proposes an approximate boundary for the Maya presence, at times relying on only one type of data when others are lacking. Lothrop notes that definite boundaries may be made where both linguistic and archaeological data confirm Mayan occupation, whereas the absence of archaeological data only affords an approximate boundary based on language.
CECELIA MITCHELL Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Makemson, Maud W. Hawaiian Astronomical Concepts II. American Anthropologist January-March, 1939 Vol.41(35):589-596.
This article demonstrated the importance of celestial bodies in the lives of the historical Hawaiians. These astronomical concepts were handed down through tradition and used to govern the ancient Hawaiian economy and to measure time. Though this article is straightforward and easy to read, it incorporates many Hawaiian words that may be difficult to read and pronounce.
Makemson identified five star classes that had been handed down through ancient Hawaiian tradition. These five classes were called Kepelino, Kanalu, Kamohoula, Laukahikupua and Kupahu. Each class had a different method for grouping the stars, though there were many similarities between each classification system.
Of all these systems, each one had a division of navigation stars. Navigation stars, also called canoe steerers’ stars, included the Big Dipper and Polaris. This was a clear indication that the Hawaiians relied on stars for direction.
Three of the classification systems contain a class of royal stars. By watching the rising of these stars, the Hawaiian priests were able to accurately instruct the people as to the proper time to plant crops, fish, and do various other activities. The priests were worshiped because of their seemingly uncanny ability to prophecy.
Another method of grouping the stars divided the sky into the northern, middle, and southern zones. This was found in the Kamohoula system.
The ancient Hawaiians also watched the revolution of the sun and the Milky Way to accurately determine time. By examining the phases of the moon, the Hawaiians could identify days within the month, and the division of the months into seasons.
These astronomical concepts were very important to the lives of the historic Hawaiians. By examining their classification systems of the stars, we can understand more accurately the ancient Hawaiians’ culture.
JENNIFER ANDREWS University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Makemson, Maud W. Hawaiian Astronomical Concepts II. American Anthropologist 1939 vol. 41: (590-595).
Makemson’s article describes five classifications of ancient Hawaiian astronomy, which include Kepelino, Kanalu, Kamohoula, Laukahikupua, and Kupahu. Makemson further explains the grouping of stars within each classification.
In the first classification, Kepelino, the ancient Hawaiians subdivided the stars into three separate groups. First, the greater stars included the sun, moon, and Venus, and each played an important role in the lives of Hawaiians. For example, the Sun was the star of the great god Kane, the moon provided a unit in which to base their calendar, and Venus served as a cue for farmers to till the land and as navigation for evening, homeward bound fishermen. Second, the navigational stars were said to have only existed in order to give light to earth in the nighttime. Third, the llano, were noted as the “stars of heaven.”
Although no individual star names are given in the second classification, Kanalu, Makemson believes that the stars are mostly subdivided for astrological purposes. The categories are as follows: 1. hoku alii (royal stars); 2. hoku makaainana (plebeian stars); 3. hoku hoike (prophetic stars); 4. hoku kahuna (stars for priests); 5. hoku aina (land stars); 6. hoku no ke akua (stars relating to the god); 7. hoku no ka malama (stars for every month of the year; 8. hoku kilo (stars usually observed by astrologers).
The divisions of the third class, Kamohoula, appear to be divided into northern, middle, and southern sky zones. The stars named in each division are either planets or part of major constellations.
Laukahikupua, the fourth classification listed, is divided into three groups, which include: 1. the royal stars; 2. the people’s stars, or stars of ruling months; 3. the canoe-steerers’ stars. No names are given for the royal stars, but it is believed that the people’s stars were named for the time at which the “astrologers scanned the heavens for omens” (p.593).
The classification of Kupahu is very similar to that of Laukahikupua. The stars are grouped into royal stars, canoe steerers’ stars, and 26 stars in the Milky Way. The royal stars are believed to foretell future weather or the bountiness of fish. The canoe steerers’ stars include Polaris and the Big Dipper and help with navigation while at sea. The various stars in the Milky Way include Jupiter and various constellations.
Makemson’s article further describes each of these classifications, their subdivisions and each star’s role in the economical or navigational value in ancient Hawaiians’ lives. Makemson notes that a later publication with a complete star list would be finished at a later date.
RAQUEL A. OZANICH Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Mead, Margaret. Native Language as Field-Work Tools. American Anthropologist April-June 1939 Vol.41(2): 189-205.
In her article, Native Language as Field- Work Tools, Margaret Mead outlines the importance of learning native languages as a part of studying living cultures. She describes the development of this technique and informs us of the people who implemented its use. In England Professor Malinowski’s work was shown to be the new milestone in fieldwork. He was able to interact with the natives of the Trobriands through their own language thus allowing him to participate in their culture. Also, the use of the native language in the Trobriands allowed the followers of the functional school to see its importance. Thus this method was approved and given widespread recognition. In America the work of Professor Boas and his selection of studying formalized religious structure in native societies brought about the change to the use of native languages. Now students in both these areas of the world believed they should study and apply this technique to get the best results from their fieldwork.
Margaret Mead also examines the importance of using a native language over the use of the contact language (a language used as a common tongue among people of diverse speech, in this case Swahili). Due to the possibility of contact language being foreign to the investigator, they may not understand all of the meanings presented within it. Its ethos may cause misinterpretations of key cultural elements consequently causing fieldwork results to be inaccurate.
The specific uses for native languages are stressed throughout the article. Mead goes into great depth on where, when, and how to utilise a language to its full potential. She asserts the most important aspects when learning a native language are: the need to ask questions correctly, the need to establish rapport with the community, and the need to give instructions. Also discussed is the necessity to learn the proper vocabulary when immersing yourself into a new society. Tips on methods of memorization and recognition of words and names are provided for the interested researcher. Finally she advises how not to study the native language through the use of several detailed points, subsequently allowing the fieldworker to spend more time doing research rather than struggling with the dialect.
This long and detailed article gave a student of the times the ability to confidently enter the field. Even though it must be read carefully, it provides the necessary information to someone who wishes to study this anthropological method of the past.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
TAYLOR ROGERS University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Mead, Margaret. Native Languages as Fieldwork Tools. American Anthropologists
April-June 1939, Vol. 41, No.2.
This article researches living “primitive” cultures. She investigates the use of native languages spoken. At this time America and England had been the countries that had taken a hold of native languages to understand more clearly of primitive” cultures. Mead speaks about the use of dictated texts and interpreters to use native language in order to fully interact on a personal level with natives. At the time when this method was in American Ethnological field techniques, England techniques differed as well. This change has been accounted to Professor Malinowski’s work in the Trobriands. After his field work he published the “Argonauts of the Western Pacific.” This publication put a clear understanding of speaking native languages, which prepared researchers in ethnological studies to assume they should understand and use the languages spoken.
With the use of native languages the investigator has the opportunity to better understand questions and answers spoken in the language being used by a group of people. This gives ethnological work a clearer and more reliable collection of data/records on his/her investigations. At the end of the article Mead states what using a native language does not mean which are:
The investigator cannot expect to speak the language fluently.
The investigator cannot expect help from the native people.
The investigator will not need to follow directions.
The investigator will not need help with vocabulary or pronunciation.
The investigator can train a native to help record verbatim texts, but such texts will not be superior to his own.
HILARY WHEELER Southern Illinois University (Dr. Jonathan Hill)
Miner, Horace. Parallelism in Alkaloid-Alkali Quids. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol. 41: 617-619
This article argues how the widely dispersed habit of chewing alkali-alkaloid quids is functional as opposed to diffusional. It is a common occurrence in different parts of the world for indigenous people to chew an alkaloid-based quid with an alkali mix. Miner points out that in every instance of its occurrence the alkali serves to release the stimulant found in the alkaloid therefore proving its functional purpose.
Miner discusses the use of various alkaloids including Acera or betel nut, pituri, coco and tobacco with such lime (alkali). In each case the alkali, when chewed with the alkaloid, releases the stimulant except for in the case of the coco and lime chewing quid where the hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices is what actually releases the stimulant.
Miner describes how this phenomenon is apparent in many regions of the world including Malaysia, Melanesia, southern India, Australia, South America and North America. He provides reference to studies on such diffusionary phenomenon by such authors as R.B Dixon and Clark Wissler. Miner concludes by stating that although it is possible that these customs could be from the process of diffusion, it must not be overlooked that the chewing of alkaloid-alkali quids may have been an independent invention. In fact, he believes that the possibility of independent parallelism of indigenous peoples inventing the alkaloid-alkali quids is now enhanced because it proves to have a functional purpose.
JACQUELINE BELLEROSE University of Alberta (H. Young Leslie PhD)
Nichols, Madaline. The Spanish Horse of the Pampas. The American Anthropologist. 1939(41):119-129.
Madaline Nichols article describes how Natives in South America acquired the Spanish horse. This article reveals the problems associated with using historical accounts to verify reasons and methods behind cultural acquisition and change. The sources Nichols cited are mostly accounts written by historians from about 1530 to about 1580. These were politically unstable times where various laws and documents were written with biases against Natives.
The main argument in the article shows that history is influenced by perspective. The article shows that many facts came be altered or written is such a way as to reinforce the historian’s agenda. For example the article describes a Spanish document where some 850 deaths are attributed to starvation and Indians, equating the two. Furthermore, the article shows how ethnocentric Spanish accounts for Natives were in that their “horse culture” could not be something that the natives came to on their own but rather something that they learned from the Spanish. Furthermore Nichols’ article it discusses a problem that many anthropologist faces in trying to find the roots of something like horse culture in history. In that it is impossible to really understand cultural development without being there to witness it.
Through her examination of these documents, she reveals the problems associated with trying to discover the truth when individuals write history. In the article she refutes commonly held myths by using logical deduction. She illustrates how historical documentation may have been influenced by political agendas. She examines the evidence on a case-by-case basis to prove how previous accounts have been inaccurate. In fact, Nicholas’ points out is that the Natives in the region never had the horse until long after the time suggested by the Spanish. By showing this she proves that the validity of historical accounts needs to be questioned because these accounts often contain cultural biases. Thus, proving her argument.
KELLY READ University of Alberta. (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Nichols, Madeline W. The Spanish Horse of the Pampas. American Anthropologist July-September, 1939 Vol. 41 (1):119-129.
When the first Spanish settlers arrived in what is now South America they introduced many new animals, most importantly, the horse. According to legend, all the horses in the Plata lands of what is now Argentina are the descendants of twelve horses turned loose by Mendoza’s men when they abandoned Buenos Aires in 1541. Nichols feels this is highly unlikely considering the accounts of starvation and cannibalism reported by the settlers. She attempts to find out when and from where the horse was acquired by the Indians and how much horse culture they adopted.
She asserts that the herds of wild horses encountered on the Plata during the second founding of Buenos Aires in 1580 descended from later Spanish arrivals that migrated along grazing lands from Chile and Tucuman. During the almost forty years Buenos Aires lay empty many other settlements had been established. Also, there are conflicting accounts with other earlier Spanish historians as to how many horses were actually released.
Nichols believes many of the horses came from the Chilean massacres of the 1550s where they were herded across the valley and set free on the plains.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
STEVE CUTRIGHT Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Nimuendaju, Curt and Lowie, Robert H. The Associations of the Serente. American Anthropologist 1939 Volume 41(24): 408-415.
This article summarizes the life of a Brazilian tribe that has been extinct since the 19th century called the Serente. Nimuendaju and Lowie clearly wrote this article to encapsulate many aspects of the tribe including social structure, functions of associations, and officers.
Made up of villages, each Serente village was a unit of its own council of elders, chiefs, peacemakers, and associational leaders. The general structure of the Serente was described as houses situated in a horseshoe shape with one moiety in the south and one in the north. Thee moieties were matrilineal and separated into clans. Each moiety was comprised of three clans.
The general functions of men’s association were are illustrated. There were four men’s associations, which were far more significant than the moieties. It was mandatory for every man to belong to one of these associations. The father assigned his son to the association of his choice, occasionally taking into consideration the boy’s or elders’ wishes. Boys are then initiated into their association at the age of fourteen and were obligated to stay in the bachleors’ hut of the village until they are married.
The Serente performed hunting and gathering duties as well as farming. These duties were divided according to one’s sex; for example, females collect fruits, while men hunt and both sexes plant and weed. It is imperative to indicate the most important wild plant species, the “burity” and the “babassu”, because they were greatly valued by the native life.
Officers played an important role in any society. Each society with two leaders called kwatrprekrda, one from each moiety. Also two attendants known as dawarikwa, one being appointed from each moiety by the elders. Attendants were to carry out their obligations for their respective societies for many years, but “minister[ed] solely to associational, not private needs of members” (Nimuendaju and Lowie, p.412).
This article is a thorough description of the tribe and does not set out to prove any main point or idea. The article only explains the lives of the Serente tribe, which enlightens the reader with a new culture. McGee arranges the article in a clear and concise way by organizing the aspects of Serente life into smaller segments.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JULIE TRUONG University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).
Opler, Morris Edward. A Description of A Tonkawa Peyote Meeting Held in 1902. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41(26):433-439.
Morris Edward Opler’s, A Description of a Tonkawa Peyote Meeting Held in 1902, is essentially an excerpt from the autobiography of Samuel E. Kenoi, a prominent member of Chiricahua Apache Indian tribe. Victim of the Geronimo outbreak of 1886, Kenoi had been removed to various locations and in the account given, he is reunited with old school friends who are on their way to a Tonkawa peyote rite and invite him to come along.
Opler decided to publish Kenoi’s description because of the interest in 1939 over the history and growth of the peyote cult and the paucity of information concerning Tonkawa Indians and their peyote rite.
This ceremony or tribal rite originated with Mexican tribes. The peyote is a small spineless Mexican cactus — a hallucinogenic drug. The Tonkawa were among the first tribes north of Mexico to accept peyote after being introduced by the Carrizo Indians.
The description of the ceremony itself is detailed and strikes the reader as having many elements familiar in witchcraft around the world. However, there is no medicine man mentioned and the ceremony is communal, however, no women or children are allowed and even men must be groomed appropriately. Kenoi is immediately told to leave and return when dressed authentically and bathed to smell of specific herbs and of no “white” perfumes or powders. In this way, the ceremony seems very much an attempt to cling to native culture and to keep it pure and traditional as a backlash to the white man’s attempt to exterminate them and their culture.
The ceremony is days long and the goal of each man is to find a “vision” that will enlighten him. Kenoi, in his autobiography, seems to want the reader to understand the spiritual powers that such an isolated and intense ceremony can offer. The modern reader may ask himself, as I did, if Kenoi has overlooked the power that likely holds him most fierce — the chemical power and addictive feeling of well being induced by the mescaline found in peyote. Nevertheless, he seems convinced, and to a great extent taken with beauty. This “beauty” he laborously speaks of is beauty found both during and after the ceremony, and the newfound ability that allows him to see new beauty in the world. The relentless and rhythmic singing and drumming, the decoration, even (notably) the buckskin on which the “big peyote” (this is where you direct your prayer and wishes to) are all seen as beautiful and essential in leading up to the moment of peripeteia at the dawn when he sees the sun rise in a new light.
If the author, Kenoi, makes no argument about this ceremony, nor does he construct a concern, then I speculate, his purpose of writing about this rite in such detail is, perhaps, in hopes that it may aid other scholars in research or those simply interested in the traditions of natives. The article is a primary source document and well narrated so that readers actually get a clear picture in their minds. The product of these traditions that he is so taken with, is new perspective and appreciation for life. The natives seek visions to see problems more clearly. Kenoi walks into the tent dressed and smelling like a white man. Unlike his friends, who have continued a native lifestyle despite relocation, Kenoi has short hair, no markings on his body, no feathers or beading. As a reader, I had to be told the writer’s background otherwise, his foreignness in the ceremony would lead me to assume he was a white anthropologist studying natives. It’s this condition that makes the excerpt’s description more than adequate and easy for a reader with little knowledge of native spirituality to relate to. In the end, the naVve reader walks away with a feeling that there may be more to the spiritual world than is appreciated outside the native realm and that possibly, the “civilized” observer, who has never partaken, discounts it.
VICKI UNDERSCHULTZ University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Opler, Morris Edward. A Description of a Tonkawa Peyote Meeting Held in 1902. American Anthropologist July-September, 1939 Vol.41(3):433-439.
Morris Edward Opler wrote this article examining the occurrences of a Tonkawa peyote rite. The author paraphrased an excerpt from an autobiography of Samuel E. Kenoi, a Chiricahua Apache Indian from the Mescalero Indian Reserve in New Mexico, whom attended this rite in 1902.
Kenoi tells of his first encounter with a Tonkawa peyote meeting describing such things as the dress of the Tonkawa men, the elements of the ceremony, and his experiences. In order to enter the ceremonial tipi, one must be male, have long hair, a painted face, and Indian dress, including some element of buckskin leggings. Also, the male must wear a loincloth covered by a sheet wrapped around the waist. Odorous herbs were highly recommended, however, any odor of a “white-man’s perfume” was prohibited.
The ceremonial tipi was set up with the door facing the east, and is decorated beautifully with basket and Navaho rugs. All the members sit in a circle, singing and taking turns shaking the gourd and beating the drum. The peyote, described by Kenoi as “brownish-gray with a fine white fuzz or cotton on top,” sits in a flat basket in the center of the circle until a member asks for some. Peyote is so bitter and strong tasting it nearly induces vomiting. However, when consumed, it gives the individual a hallucinogenic, flighty feeling. The caffeine-like substance doesn’t allow you to sleep, and when consumed in larger quantities can cause visions (hallucinations).
The evening ceremony lasts until sundown, but the singing and the ceremony lasts for four days and four nights. On the evening before the conclusion of the fourth day, a huge feast is enjoyed by all, men and women alike. The primal reason for this ritual is unknown, however some believe it keeps the tribe from getting “witched” by other tribes because when under the influence of the peyote, one can see the other distant states and reservations to know what they are planning (i.e. witching).
All in all, Kenoi’s account of the Tonkawa peyote rite was somewhat unclear. The main point and description of the actual ceremony were understood. However, he assumes his readers have a priori knowledge of some things associated with the rite. Moreover, Opler makes no attempt at clarifying anything stated in Kenoi’s autobiography.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JAMIE LYNN HOLTMANN Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Dr. Jonathan Hill)
Parsons, Elsie Clews. Picuris, New Mexico. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol. 41 (12): 206-222
In the beginning of this article, Parsons presents the concern that the Picuris, descendents of the Pueblos, will disappear before an ethnographer visits them. Parsons and a linguistic anthropologist last visited them thirteen years ago. This article is composed of the notes that Parsons made at that time. It is Parsons hope that publishing these notes will spark interest in someone who will then go and study these people before they disappear forever.
In order to spark an interest to study these people, Parsons presents the knowledge obtained, but none of it is very explanatory. Mostly it consists of observations that that leave a void of questions behind. By mentioning that this population is rapidly disappearing, Parsons creates the sense of urgency that if we want to fully understand these people our time is limited to do so.
There is also a lot of detail about their village’s physical set up and the people living there. These details may catch the eye of someone who sees a similarity between this population and another or perhaps recognizes the language as similar to that of another population.
When Parsons mentions that these people are descendents of the Pueblos, she could very well be hinting at the fact that these people could help us to understand more about the Pueblos. All in all this article contains a very broad look at the Picuris, everything to which families live in which houses to death and sickness in the village to the pastimes of the Picuris themselves. Elsie Parsons writes with a relatively clear style throughout this article, and with such a broad spectrum of knowledge about the Picuris which could very easily promote the asking of questions which could lead to someone actually studying these people.
This article is fairly well written although the organization is a little poor.
AMANDA ROSS University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).
Rodnick, David. An Assiniboine Horse-Raiding Expedition. American Anthropologist 1939(41) Vol.36:611-616.
The article describes, in depth, an Assiniboine horse raiding expedition that took place in the year 1869. Rather than dealing with the general ideas that make this event important to the Assiniboine people, Rodnick deals specifically with one man, Returning Hunter. It is this man’s story, which David Rodnick recorded. It was recorded in the summer of 1935 on the Assiniboine Reservation of Fort Belknap in northern Montana, 64 years after the events took place.
Rodnick uses the Assiniboine horse-raiding expedition as a cultural text and examines the importance of life and death, bravery, status in the community, and the supernatural beliefs of the Assiniboine. Through this examination, Rodnick enforces the idea that what may seem to be a culturally mundane event actually provides many significant insights into that culture as a whole.
Rodnick uses a very unique way of presenting his case. He first gives a short introduction of the key players in the event as well as a brief history. He then presents the reader with what appears to be the actual story as it was transcribed in 1935. This technique allows the reader to understand the situation for him or herself, and to make notes as to what is important to the Assiniboine people. It also equips the reader with some of the same data as Rodnick had used himself, and allows the reader to interpret the information in their own manner. In conclusion, Rodnick lists the most noteworthy characteristics that were used by the Assiniboine to ensure their success in the horse-raiding mission. He states that the success or failure in a horse-raiding mission depends not only on the bravery of the players involved, but primarily on supernatural aid received by the tutelary spirits. He points out that bravery, for the Assiniboine, was a way to gain status in the community, and that it was necessary “when cornered to avert the contempt of the enemy”. Rodnick found cases were members of the tribe who wished to forget something, for example, the death of a wife or child, would join the war party, even if success were not guaranteed. He continues by stating that, for the most part, flirting with death did not demonstrate bravery. Horse raiding parties were seen as a way to gain status in the community, and Rodnick points out that, once an individual gains his desired status, participation in the expedition ends.
This article reads very fluently and is clear even to someone with no anthropological background. On account of its structure, it reads almost like a story and captivates the reader’s attention. It also demonstrates the importance of magic in everyday life of the Assiniboine in the past.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
MARK BELL University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Rodnick, David. An Assiniboine Horse-Raiding Expedition. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol. 41: 612-615.
David Rodnick uses this article to tell the story of Returning Hunter, one of the last Assiniboine warriors. The tale begins with the prophetic dream of White Dog, an Assiniboine medicine man. In this dream a band of men had a very successful horse-raiding expedition on the nearby Piegan tribe. The Sun, a great warrior, also had a very similar dream. The Sun then gathered his band, and they began to prepare for the expedition by offering the pipe to the spirits and then passing it to all the members of the group.
That evening the band began their traveling on foot. The night was very cold. The Sun sang a spirit song, and as the wolves howled at the end the party knew they would be successful. The Sun then entered his sweat house, and reemerged with bad news, the raid would not be completely successful, and one of the members would die. The raid was called off.
Returning Hunter decided to join White Dog’s raiding party. In a ritual involving a buffalo skull White Dog found that the fate of his party was identical to that of The Sun’s. The band continued to travel to the camp of the Piegan. On their travels they came across a few Sioux men who had been injured and helped them. The raiding part had many obstacles in their travel to the raid. When they reached the camp the Piegan began to attack, and the Assiniboine made it home with few stolen horses.
This article was a snapshot of Assiniboine life. It illustrated measures they took to ensure success, showed the bravery of individuals, and displayed the importance of the spirits in this culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
LAURA WARREN Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)
Ruam O.F. Female Initiation Among the Chaga American Anthropologist Oct-Dec 1939 41(4):554-565.
This is a very concise but detailed description of the female initiation among the Chaga. The Chaga are part of the Bantu tribe living on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in East Africa. These descriptions are based on accounts taken from B. Gutmann and C. Dundas, whom were both missionaries writing in the 1920s.
There are three main stages in this female initiation that Ruam discusses. First of all he mentions that this initiation takes place only for females who have had their first menstruation. The first stage takes place between the girls and a teacher (mothers are present). They have a sort of question and answer session that are done in song. Through these questions and predetermined answers the girls are to learn about the male and female roles with children. They also learn that women are to be respected by their husbands and about the power that women hold. There is also a part where the girls are sent out to collect certain items that symbolize different lessons in child birth.
In the second part of the initiation the mother is not present, but the teacher gives further lessons about menstruation. Explaining that women are to hide this from everyone, even their mother. The reason for this is that if revealed it could cause a woman to be barren. They are also told to protect their virginity and run from tempting men. Because when married their virginity will be celebrated. There are other lessons relating to womanhood that are taught at this stage.
The last stage explains that girls are not to have all the secrets of womanhood revealed. Ruam believes that the reason for this is to teach the girls that elders still have authority and are to be respected.
In the very last part he discusses any changes that may have come about in initiation rituals today. He also does a brief comparison to other Bantu tribes and other patrilineal tribes in East and South Africa.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ASHLEY CASS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)
Speck, Frank G. and Loren C. Eisely. Significance of Hunting Territory Systems of the Algonkian in Social Theory. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol. 41: 269-280
This article is concerned with certain claims made regarding the hunting system of the Algonkian located in eastern Canada. The authors attempt to dispute the contention that the Algonkian method of family ownership and control of hunting lands was brought about by conditions resulting from the fur trade. The authors argue that the system was in operation prior to the period of European contact.
The authors examine the fact that the Algonkians, “relied heavily upon the beaver as a basic economic factor in their existence prior to the introduction of the fur trade” (273). Because the hunters always left behind two beavers in the lodge to breed, they conclude that if the tribes were completely nomadic or had no claim to the land, there would be no point in passing up the opportunity for a “complete kill.” Or in other words, “conservation implies a permanent interest in the territory” (273). They also point out that it is unlikely that the fur trade made it easier for the bands to survive in smaller regions because, “trade placed enormous opportunities for economic exploitation in the hands of the whites who leveled outrageous prices in terms of skins” (273).
The article also examines comments made by Father Le Jeune, a Jesuit missionary, who spent some time with various native groups in the mid 1600’s. The authors point out that comments published in The Jesuit Relations by Father Le Jeune seem to be contradicting in terms of what he observed of the native hunting systems. The authors write, “however land may have been inherited, a careful reading of the Jesuit narratives gives the lie to the complete nomadism so often dwelt on by the pious fathers” (275).
The argument in this article is clear and concise however, prior knowledge of the topic might be useful in understanding the issues addressed. The article also contains detailed footnotes on every page, which are very helpful in clarifying some of the subject matter. The information is organized somewhat randomly but becomes much more clear with a second read.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ERIN STEWART University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Speck, Frank G. and Loren C. Eiseley. Significance of Hunting Territory Systems of the Algonkian in Social Theory. American Anthropologist. April-June 1939. Vol. 41(2): 269-280.
Frank Speck and Loren Eiseley disagree with those who believe the fur trading industry created the Algonkian land ownership system. They believe that the practice of small family groups owning the land existed before contact with Europeans, and follow this statement with evidence supporting their claim.
First, the authors claim the mobilization of large bands of Algonkians into small family groups with land ownership rights happened too quickly for it to be a result of trading. They also argue that, for these Native Americans, the beaver was already an important part of life, providing food as well as clothing. Beaver husbandry was being practiced in Canada prior to the fur trade, which would lead to more centralized land ownership. In fact, Speck and Eiseley point out that the fur trade actually caused Native Americans to roam farther and more often, because of the encouragement of trapping and killing all beavers in an area, rather than leaving some to reproduce as was previously done. The authors show other areas utilizing family hunting territories that could not have been caused by the fur trade. They discuss the contradictions of the Jesuits. One moment the Jesuits were claiming the Algonkian people were dependent upon a band chief to indicate hunting territory rights. At the same time, the priests also complained about the difficulty in following a people who often broke up into small family bands to hunt upon their own land. Speck and Eiseley conclude that the Algonkians may have used the two systems of land ownership in conjunction, or depending upon individual situations, but that family hunting territory rights were common before the advent of the fur trade.
This article was written to present an alternative view to the theory of band territory in the Algonkian tribes of Canada. It promotes being continually open to new suggestions and new evidence, and encourages a constant re-evaluation of information. It reminds us also of the inherent cultural accent each of us places upon information received about another culture. Although this article may require a second reading to fully understand its position, the notes proved helpful in clarifying points made.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
JENNIE KANYOK Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)
Steward, Julian. Some Observations On Shoshonean Distributions. American Anthropologist May, 1939 Vol. 41 (16): 261-265.
Steward revisits his previous research on the Great Basin Shoshoneans, focusing on new papers that he believes supplement his own work, and responding to criticisms that have been published since. His main objective in this article is not to “reconcile all disagreements” (p. 261); rather it is to dismiss disagreements regarding the Shoshoneans. Steward’s goal is to eliminate the confusions that are within his area of expertise through simple “proper interpretation of the facts” (p 261).
Within this main objective, Steward specifically argues that many of the disagreements are rooted in the terms by which people are classified and designated. He illustrates the problem with classifications, beginning with a discussion of the word “band”. In the Shoshonean area, the word “band” is too broad of a term, because it encompasses a wide range of geographical, social, and political groups. The peoples lived in a world where land was not owned by any group, there was minimal political control, and the population was fluid. Using the term band, Steward explains, is an attempt to impose exactness where it does not exist. Steward next discusses the native pattern of nomenclature and how it causes classification contradictions. The emphasis in Native identification, he says, is upon the territory rather than the people. Peoples occupying a region were “usually named from some salient characteristic of that area” (p. 262), most often local food or a geographical peculiarity. Based on this system, there was much duplication of names. For example, the name Salmon eater was applied to multiple groups.
Steward mentioned earlier that western peoples lived in a world absent of well-bounded political or social groups. He states this to be a cause of discrepancies in boundaries on maps compiled by different anthropologists, suggesting that it will “never be possible to make a final map of bands”, particularly in the Western Shoshoni area. He concludes this by saying that because of the problem of identifying boundaries, and the issue of multiple names, it will be difficult for anthropologists to agree on a nomenclature for the Western Shoshoneans. Steward does propose a solution on the issue of multiple names, saying that to obtain greater clarity for the Western Shoshoni area, place names could be employed. For example, changing the name Pine Nut Eaters to Grouse Creek Shoshoni, or Boise Paiute-Shoshoni for Ground Hog Eaters.
Revisiting the obstacle of mapping groups, Steward briefly mentions the fact that the eastern groups were less restricted in terms of population movement, as the horse allowed them to travel, constantly realigning boundaries. In final conclusion, he says that it should be noted that divisions of the Shoshoneans are not of ultimate importance; intermarriage and intermixture between populations makes the “zones of contact” (p. 264) very broad.
The author accomplishes his objectives in this detailed article that is quite well written and easy to follow.
JENNIFER SMITH University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Steward, Julian H. Some observations on Shoshonean Distributions. American Anthropologist April-June, 1939 Vol. 41 (2): 261-265.
Steward’s article is a response to other anthropological attempts at the time to define groups of western Native American “bands”. He cites contemporary reports that group Shoshonean populations, per native custom, according to particular staple foods, such as “Salmon Eaters”, or after the geography of an inhabited area, such as the desert “Dust-Ute”. The problem, Steward believes, lies in the anthropologists’ usage of native group names, which he finds confusing and contradictory. According to Steward, groups can be better identified by the area they occupy than by political or economic ties implied by a muddled nomenclature.
As stated above, the model being used by anthropologists was to divide populations according to native nomenclature into various “bands”. Contending that Shoshonean distributions are not determined by cultural ties, Steward dismisses the use of the word “band”, and suggests the use of geographical districts to delineate Shoshonean populations. It is interesting to note Steward’s concern with the term “band”, since he would eventually become involved in creating a hierarchy of societies which would lead to the band, tribe, chiefdom, state hierarchy. Contradictions within the native nomenclature, states Steward, make it impossible to map definite distributions of populations. People moving into new areas taking on new names, field informants giving contradictory accounts of group territories, and groups being called several different names by other groups are only a few of the problems Steward observes. He avers that naming populations by their geographic associations is the only way to a clear delineation of groups. It is interesting to note that while at this time Steward had not yet realized his “Cultural Ecology” concepts, he is using ecology to identify groups of people. It is safe to say he is applying the concept of ecology here, not just geography, for he describes each district as a “natural subsistence area” (262). While food names may have much to do with ecology, those names in this instance, argues Steward, have become displaced, and are no longer relevant. His concern is where people are situated across the landscape, and he argues groups should be considered in this context.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
BRAD WILLIAMS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Dr. Jonathan Hill)
Titiev, Mischa. The Story of Kokopele. American Anthropologist, 1939 Vol.41(1):91-98
Attention in this article is focused on Kokopele, a katcina of the Southwestern Pueblos that represents primarily eroticism. The author discussed the widespread belief as well as the decline of public representations of this katcina. This article also provided more specific information and solved some of the problems regarding Kokopele raised in a previous article by Dr. Florence Hawley.
The public representations of Kokopele were on the decline at the time this article was published due mainly to the influence that prudent white observers had on government control. Titiev argued that regardless of this fact, Kokopele remained in belief and in ritual.
Included are descriptions of dances performed both by the male and female representations of Kokopele, Kokopeltiyo and Kokopelmana respectively. The Hopi story of Kokopele, as well as the Acoma version, “The Dapopo Brothers Seduce the War Chief’s Daughter” are also told within the article. Although some of Titiev’s statements are unclear, the inclusion of the stories, as well as the descriptions of dances, even one first-hand account detailed by the author, make for an interesting and comfortable read.
The beliefs of the Southwestern Pueblos were presented in great detail and reveal the author’s desire to retain cultural records. The descriptions included in this article allowed the reader to understand the beliefs of Southwestern Pueblos people and the importance of recording myth and ritual as it became more restrained by the influence of the American government.
ELIZABETH OLSON-GLOVER University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
White, Leslie. A Problem in Kinship Terminology. American Anthropologist 1939 Vol.41:566
The article by Leslie White studies kinship in the clans of Dakota-Iroquois, Omaha, and Crow Native Americans and provides his view on the subject as well as on differing views concerning it. He begins directly with some examples and a clear organization of the different ways the clans form their kinship systems.
Of these formations there are three types which are applied to clans which recognize either the mother or father as most significant in kinship. There is a system of kinship terms useable exclusively by the matrilineal clans, as well as a system tied only to the patrilineal clans, and one general to both clan types. The concern is that sometimes, the terminology does not differentiate for example, between a person’s uncle and the son of that person’s uncle with both being called by the same word, where in another system the concept of a parent being acknowledged in terminology as different from their children is recognized throughout where someone relative to you as an uncle would not also have his sons called uncle by you, but rather cousin or some other term.
The focus of White’s examination is why do some matrilineal clans use one system of kinship terminology when other clans who are matrilineal have come to instead use the differing system, and also of course he asks the same question of patrilineal clans.
White goes on to pose the hypothesis that this is because of cultural evolution. Although, by no means more important, the clan is definitely a more powerful entity than the family. He theorizes that a clan that is still using one system, while other clans that follow the same principles are not, is simply at a different point in its evolution and may have encountered a few different situations affecting its progress.
A colleague that sharply contrasted White’s conceptions also happened to come under his criticism. White basically lays the blame of his opponent’s different ideas at the fault of incapability of understanding, and while altogether these statements may seem to judge White and his work as completely arrogant, ethnocentric in his view of cultural evolution, and closed-minded, he was anything but in my estimation.
What I gained most from his article, more than knowledge of past kinship relations and terms, was a realization of the need for a scientific perspective. He strives for general and common rules, but leaves a completely open, and almost necessary, door for exception. The facts were presented purely, and not polluted by opinion leaving a reader the option of composing a view different than his own. I found his writing style and matter concise and refreshing from what I commonly encounter in anthropological mediums today which is odd because it was done over sixty years earlier. This is also not at all meant to overshadow the value of the article that White himself intended. While I personally am not overly interested in issues of kinship, I am entirely confident someone who did would not at all regret going over the article.
CLARITY RATING: 5
THEODORE YADLOWSKI University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
White, Leslie A. A Problem in Kinship Terminology. American Anthropologist October-December, 1939 Vol. 41 (4): 566-573.
In this article, Leslie White begins by discussing three types of kinship terminologies associated with clan organization, a “Dakota-Iroquois” type, a “Crow” type, and an “Omaha” type. The problem centers around why the Crow and Omaha kinship nomenclatures ignore the concept of generation at certain points, and what this has to say about their relationship to the Iroquois-Dakota type, which takes generation into account on all levels. For example, in the Crow type of kinship terminology, one’s father’s sister’s sons would be called “father”, while in the Dakota type that person would be called “cousin”.
White’s comments are in response to Robert Lowie’s work in this same area. Lowie offers a possible explanation by citing variations in marriage rules between the systems. Lowie also feels the problematic nature of explaining the relationships between the types is due to lack of data, stating “additional determinants” are needed to understand each system, a true Boasian response to the problem. White, having been a student of Boas, has in effect abandoned cultural relativism, and argues for a more encompassing, evolutionary theory that considers origins and change through time, even different stages of clan organization maturity. The family precedes the clan, states White, so early in clan development engrained generational, family-oriented kinship terms are the rule. Later, at “more advanced stages”, the clan system matures, and the nomenclature changes emphasis from family-based ties to clan-based ties. Mature clan systems, such as that of the Crow, dispose of generational concerns as they override familial ties.
White further argues that attention must be given to how systems originate, and how they change, or progress, in relation to one another. This is a cross-cultural, evolutionary approach, and White laments the inability of “anti-evolutionists” such as Lowie to realize its validity and importance. The time of unlimited data collection is ending in light of the disappearance of native cultures, stresses White and the emphasis in anthropological theory should not hinge on the accumulation of more and more facts, but rather on new interpretation of the facts in hand.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
BRAD WILLIAMS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Dr. Jonathan Hill)