American Anthropologist 1941
Barton, R.F., Reflections in Two Kinship Terms of the Transition to Endogamy. American Anthropologist January-March, 1941 Vol. 43 (1):540-549.
The author of this article discusses two kinship terms leading to endogamy. This study originated from an attempt to find the significance of the two older strata of Ifugao languages of Indonesia. By studying these terms, anthropologists were able to find evidence of the transition from endogamous to exogamous meanings and also evidence of how that transition occurred.
In this article, Barton refers to endogamy as the classical writers did. His use of the term endogamy refers to “a socially unrestricted mating, a continuation of the unrestricted mating of man’s lower-animal ancestors, a stage which no believer in the evolution of man can doubt or, from the nature of the case, fail to place precedent to exogamy” (540).
The Ifugao kinship terms fall into three strata. The first is an “endogamous” stratum which consists of five words: apo (all ascending-descending relationships with the exception of parent and child), ama (male kindred of the generation preceding ego’s), ina (female kindred of the generation preceding ego’s), anak (kindred of the generation succeeding ego’s), and tulang (all kindred of the same generation). The second strata is the “exogamous” stratum, which consists of the term aidu or “in-law”. The last strata is for modern terms, which are built mainly on the old stratum.
The cognates apo, ina, and anak are almost universal terms throughout Malayan languages for endogamous relationships. However the cognate tulang has had much more varied meanings which fall under three planes. Theses planes are the endogamous senses: incest and allied meanings, exogamous senses: kinship and allied meanings, and a second exogamous sense: marriage and allied meanings. Barton argues that the three planes may be explained by the hypothesis that the original meaning for tulang was “brother-sister and spouse or possible spouse” (543). This insinuates that the cognate tulang has undergone a semantic change.
The aidu cognate appears to have meant “other group” or “strangers”. Like the cognate tulang, aidu is also split into senses. The first is endogamous: extrinsicality and allied meanings and the second sense exogamous: marital relations and allied meanings. Barton’s hypothesis for this split is that endogamous groups, because of pressure of increasing populations, advancing technologies, and greater stability of residence, abandoned their indifference toward other cultural groups. Cultures began entering new relations of exchange and marital relations. Because cultures exchanged with foreign groups it became more feasible to marry into them. With the increase of intermarital ties, cultures acquired allies. Marriage between groups became the norm and marrying within one’s culture was abnormal and rationalized as evil.
Barton’s information is based on lists of words originated from cognate groups of different languages. The lists are organized systematically, however, to the average person the lists do not tell a lot. Barton’s written analysis helps the reader understand the transition to endogamy. In his article Barton refers to eight credible sources, which add to the validity of his argument.
KIM THOMAS Santa Clara University (George Westermark).
Bascom, William. Acculturation Among the Gullah Negroes. American Anthropologist. January-March, 1941 Vol. 43(1):43-54.
In William Bascom’s article he describes the general patterns of cultural influences that a West African tribe named the Gullah familiarized themselves to after adapting to an American lifestyle of slavery. Bascom demonstrates specific instances where the Gullah people continued on with West African traditions and other examples when European influences created new cultural patterns among the Gullah slaves. Through these examples Bascom shows the importance of studying West African culture in order to fully understand how the Gullah adapted to American society.
The Gullah people had been brought to South Carolina for the slave trade. There, the blacks were fairly isolated and therefore expected to maintain some traits of specific West African tribes. Although they did not maintain cultural identities with specific tribes, West African influence was clearly maintained as well as European influences that were also later added. By using institutions common to both West African and Europeans, Bascom showed how Gullah acculturation into the United States’ society continued to be markedly influenced by West African traditions. Although European traditions normally overcame African customs, in the case of the Gullah, a West African flavor remained in much of their general institutions. For example, Bascom states that cooperative agricultural work was often marked by the West African tradition of side-by-side labor accompanied by music. This example shows how cooperative work common to both European and Africans eventually acquired more African traits. Therefore, the reader is led to believe that studying West African traditions is important when analyzing the enculturation of the Gullah. Bascom later alludes to other institutions such as friendship, familial structure, linguistic analysis and magic and religion to demonstrate further the recognizable African aspects of Gullah life.
Although specific numerical data is not used to demonstrate his argument, Bascom uses specific cultural factors to illustrate the need for knowledge about West African society. Without this understanding, Bascom argues, we will never be able to understand the process of acculturation. Bascom presents his ethnographic data in a clear, concise manner that is understandable to most audiences. Through his dichotomy of cultures, Bascom proves that a need exists to study other societies beyond our own in order to truly understand the process of the Gullah aggregating into the United States.
JENNI GRAFF University of Montana (John Norvell)
Beynon, William. The Tsimshians of Metlakatla, Alaska.. American Anthropologist. January-March, 1941. Vol.43(1):83-88.
This article is about William Duncan’s missionary attempts in Port Simpson, British Columbia, in 1857. He moved to Metlakatla with converts from the Tsimshian tribes including almost the whole Gyitla tribe. He wanted to erase all of their social organization and create industries to take its place. He felt very strongly about enforcing the fact that all Tsimshian people were now equal and he assumed the role of a chief over them. Church discipline issues arose and Duncan went to Washington D.C to gain possession of the Annette Island in Alaska so that he could move his converts there and exclude them from other influences and therefore avoid disorganization.
The Presbyterian Church was trying to establish itself in Metlakatla, Alaska, and they sent some of the younger Metlakatlans to be educated. The Presbyterian Church encouraged a young Tsimshian student to come to Metlakatlan, and he quickly because minister of to group that was forming within Duncan’s church. The church split on Duncan’s Annette Island, and Duncan retained only his spiritual leadership. Not all of his dreams were lost, however, as the industrialization plans that were put into effect were essentially the same.
The Tsimshian people that were left behind in British Columbia retained some of their former social structure, and those that moved to Alaska found it embarrassing to return and not know them. Those that stayed behind eventually were influenced by Methodist missionaries but kept their names and used what they had learned but allowed freedom of interpretation and emotional expression. The two villages look very different; the one in Alaska being much better kept. The Alaskan Tsimshians will soon lose their language and their customs but the British Columbian Tsimshians will retain their social organization for longer with the changes coming more gradually from breakdown of the economy and interracial marriages rather than through education.
ALEXA MUDGETT University of Montana (John Norvell)
Davis, Kingsly. Intermarriage in Caste Societies. American Anthropologist July-September, 1941 Vol.43(3):376-395.
The article deals with the different rules and conventions involved with intermarriage in certain castes. This article takes an in-depth look at how certain castes of people treat the idea of intermarriage. Davis discusses some different reasons for intermarriage, and also the rules that some societies place on intermarriage. He also examines, and describes the reasoning behind these rules and practices. Davis points out that all societies have developed different rules based on their own descent traditions. The values of a patrimonial society vs. a matrimonial system may be very different. Although all of the societies may develop unique rules of intermarriage, in almost all cultures intermarriage is accepted.
To support his theory of intermarriage, Davis breaks down some of the possible underlying reasons. One of these reasons is what he would classify as “Rank and Equalitarian Principle”, which states that intermarriage is a way of securing one’s rank, either by marrying someone of an equal or higher rank. If this happens, then the family’s social rank cannot go down. A way in which this happens is through hypergamy. Which Davis describes as a lower class woman marrying a man of a higher class. Another debate on intermarriage involves Racial, and Non Racial castes. As described earlier non-racial castes practice hypergamy, whereas racial castes do not. Racial castes do not support marriage between races, although they do support hypergamy between similar races. Using the example of blacks and whites in the American society, he shows that it was not acceptable for a black girl to marry a white man because the blacks were considered a lower caste. He also briefly discusses groups of people who are different races, but have no racio-caste systems, and so can easily intermarry between races because there is no bias between the different races. In this system no race is lower than another. The Nazis were also discussed because they tried to make a racio-caste system between themselves and the Jews. In all of theses examples, Davis stated that each social group provided a different set of ideas, and values of the performance of intermarriage in caste systems. Intermarriage is widespread and for each society is viewed in light of a unique set of rules.
NICOLE HERZOG University of Montana (John Norvell)
Densmore, Frances. Native Songs of Two Hybrid Ceremonies Among the American Indians. American Anthropologist January-March, 1941 Vol. 43(1):77-82.
Frances Densmore’s article examines in his view the new religion being established by the Native American through the intertwining of the white race that some American Indians are now a part of and the Indian tradition also a part of Native American ancestry. Frances Densmore accomplishes this by exploring two ceremonies that draw from each culture and develop a new hybrid type of ceremony. Both ceremonies use song as the primary form of celebration.
The first ceremony he discusses is a celebration of Holy Week by the Yaqui of southern Arizona. It is a combination of the native religious customs and those of Roman Catholicism. The traditional song of this ceremony is directed toward nature and develops as remarkable poetry. This type of ceremony is developed by combining ancient tradition of Native Americans with adaptations of ceremonies from the Roman Catholic Church.
The second ceremony Frances Densmore examines is the rituals of the Native American peyote cult. The use of peyote during this ceremony is extremely relevant. Its rituals “reach out to the God of the Christians.” The songs used as examples in this article discuss Christianity and passages from the Bible to demonstrate ceremonial expression. Densmore said, “The emotional action that follows the eating of peyote in this ceremony is similar in many respects to that of a religious revival in the white race, but the vision that comes to a many who has eaten peyote is strictly Indian, as well as the song received in the vision.” (p. 81)
The hybrid song developed for these two ceremonies stems from a union of ancient Native American tradition and white American song.
This article does not flow smoothly. It does not progress between the two ceremonies fluently. I did understand the article, but would have liked to read more detailed information on the two ceremonies to develop a better idea of what each ceremony adapted from the two different heritages.
HEIDI HILL University of Montana (John Norvell)
Densmore, Frances. “Native Songs of Two Hybrid Ceremonies Among the American Indians.” American Anthropologist. June, 1941 v. 43: 77-82.
Densomore’s article discusses the “new religions” found among Native American cultures and focuses on specific ceremonies among the Cheyenne and Winnebago. According to Densmore, American Indians have combined their traditional religious beliefs and practices with Christianity to create “hybrid ceremonies.” These ceremonies are a mixture of native religious customs and the practices of both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Densmore attended two ceremonies in different parts of the country to study the native songs that were performed. The songs were an important “native element” in the ceremonies and appeared as poetry in one and spirituality of thought in the other.
According to Densmore, Native American religions are concerned with unitivity, and supernatural beings are generally regarded as friendly to humans. For this reason, Native Americans have a difficult time understanding the idea of an “angry” Christian God. Densmore claims the hybrid ceremonies are examples of Native Americans attempting to combine their traditional beliefs with those of the “white man.” The ceremonies Densmore describes have both Christian and Native American aspects to them. One ceremony took place on the day after Good Friday and was an interesting combination of adaptations from Roman Catholic practices and a native “Deer Dance.” Densmore also describes women in traditional Native American clothing singing Roman Catholic hymms.
Much of the article is dedicated to Densmore’s study of Native American songs during hybrid ceremonies. She presents many of the native lyrics and explains their simple and rhythmic melodies. The Native American Church is a development of the peyote cult that uses songs to “reach out to the God of the Christians.” Densmore discusses many examples of such songs that incorporate Jesus, the Bible, and the teachings of Christianity. This is very different from the earlier native songs Densmore discussed in the article. According to her, traditional native songs included “spirit-animals” and other supernatural beings. Of course all hybrid ceremonies are very different and unique, but the influence of Christianity and the “white man’s” culture are evident in the words and melodies of ceremonial songs.
JULIE BUTLER Santa Clara University (G. Westermark).
Devereux, George. Mohave Beliefs Concerning Twins. American Anthropologist October-December, 1941 Vol.43(4):573-592.
While studying the Mohave Indians, George Devereux discovered the existence of two contradictory sets of attitudes and beliefs concerning twins held by the tribe. He goes on to describe each belief, which he refers to as the primary and secondary patterns, in minor detail. Devereux then attempts to explain, in both a psychological and sociological approach, the absurdity of the Mohave tribe simultaneously believing in two contradictory theories.
The primary pattern, which had been noted by earlier observers of the Mohave, is the far more elaborate model of the two. The birth of twins is a great and happy event in the lives of the parents. Twins wish to experience earth “only to visit” before returning to heaven. Because they are considered immortal, twins have different souls than the normal person. If a twin is unsatisfied with the care or attention given to it, he or she will simply return to heaven, with the sibling following soon after. Because the length of their stay on earth, in part, depends on their treatment by the family, members of the tribe are extremely careful not to offend the twins. The preferential treatment of twins will continue through puberty until they settle down and get married, which is a sign of their acceptance of the human world.
The secondary pattern, as referred to by the author, has some striking inconsistencies with the primary pattern. An informant told how “ordinary people are better than twins,” because twins are believed to be souls who have died and come back again. They are said to have returned for items that are needed in heaven such as clothes, clay (used as body paint), and beads. These items are brought back with them as they are burned in the cremation ceremony. When a single child is born, the parents are full of pride because it belongs only to them. However, when twins are born, parents are not as excited because they are just dead people who have come back.
Devereux argues that these are simply two differing sub-patterns existing within a large cultural outlook. The author goes on to say that many different interpretations are possible in explaining the dual existence of these contradictory sets of beliefs. However, there is no single cross-cultural explanation or theory that is able to justify the existence of conflicting beliefs within a culture.
MYLES MALONEY University of Montana (John Norvell)
Devereux, George Mohave Beliefs Concerning Twins American Anthropologist October-December, 1941 Vol.43(4):573-592
In his article, Devereux looks at the philosophies, myths and beliefs surrounding the birth of twin babies in the Mohave culture. Through the survey and observation of the Mohave people, Devereux comes to realize that there are many inconsistencies and conflicting notions that are incorporated in this Mohaven legend depending on who you surveyed and when the survey took place. This article is based on the results of two separate studies of the Mohave society. This article is a good indication that it is hard to make generalizations about a belief system in a society. There is always the chance of inconsistent stories as well as difference in opinion.
The initial information for Deverux’s article (referred to as the Primary Pattern) was taken from the study that A.L. Kroeber did with the Mohave tribe between 1932-1938. During this time, Kroeber uncovered much information the Mohave’s beliefs in the origin of twins. According to the study, twins were looked upon the as equals of ordinary children. Kroeber reported that in the Mohave society, it was believed that Aprevious to their descent to Earth, twins lived in heaven.@ However it is commonly understood that “while they are on Earth they do as humans do, since that is why came for.@ In other words, while it commonly assumed (under the primary pattern) that twins in fact are reincarnated from heaven, they do not in fact enjoy any additional luxuries while on Earth.
When Devereux did his own study of Mohave people (referred to as the Secondary Pattern), he came to discover that many of the tribe’s people gave him different answers to the questions that Kroeber had just asked a few years earlier. In fact, many of the same questions were met with a response that was completely opposite to the information that Kroeber had gathered just years earlier. For example when a different set of the Mohave people were asked if twins were heralded superior to a “normal” child, the subject responded by saying “ordinary people are better than twins.@ He then went on to elaborate that parents of non-twins have less responsibilities and pressure to put up with in general. However, in the Primary Pattern, it was said that twins and normal children are equally the same. For example, they are raised the same, and when they die they are treated to the same types of services and rituals. So despite being regarded as “special” there are in fact no essential benefits that separate the twin children from non-twin children.
In his article, Devereux drives home the point that inconsistencies can be apparent in a society can despite thorough research. Just because one part of a tribe believes a certain story or belief, does not mean that the entire tribe feels the same way.
The author did a good job of showing how inconsistencies in values, attitudes and beliefs can be apparent within certain societies. By showing two conflicting views on the mythology of twin birth, Devereux clearly shows the reader that no matter how firm a society=s belief, you can not make 100% of the population agree on an issue 100% of the time.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JOHN YAX: Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Eggan, Fred. Some Aspects of Culture Change in the Northern Philippines. American Anthropologist January-March, 1941 Vol.43(1):11-10.
The author of this article tries to explain the culture change that has been going on in the Northern part of the Philippines. Eggan states from the very beginning that the studies on this subject have not been practiced much and therefore do not offer sufficient information. There are many possible ways of and reasons for culture change in the Philippines, but he believes that there is no certainty about how it has happened. Throughout his article he describes changes among different tribes and suggests how they could have happened.
Having read Eggan’s article, we know a little about what sort of culture differences the people of the Northern Philippines have. First he names the several tribes that he will refer to throughout his article. They all have similar cultures that derive from the same one. He suggests that what seems to be the Spanish and American influence that is responsible for the way of life in some of these tribes could be just a native outcome. Eggan notes that the complexity of social organization rises as we go from the interior to the coast. He describes changes among the various tribes by concentrating on their kinship systems and how they seem to be influenced by the European and the Hawaiian systems. Also, marriage is an arranged matter to the majority of these tribes, with a few exceptions where there is free choice. Religion, according to Eggan, seems to be quite different from the interior to the coast. It varies from religions that have an elaborate hierarchy of deities to religions that have mediums as the center of attention. The people of the Philippines have been through many changes, starting with the Spanish influence through Christianity and continuing later on with the American influence through public education and awareness of the rest of the world. These were the external influences that led to the variation of cultures, according to Eggan. The internal influences were based on social-economic factors which were quite different in each region.
When reading the article it is hard to understand where exactly the author is heading. He states some of the differences but he keeps going back and forth through the different tribes where perhaps he should have just stated each one separately. Eggan himself does not seem certain of the real reasons these culture changes occurred and that could be because, as he states in the beginning of his article, the studies have been explanatory rather than intensive.
STAVROULA VATOUSSI University of Montana (John Norvell)
Elkin, A. P. Native Languages and the Field Worker in Australia. American Anthropologist January-March, 1941 Vol.43(1):89-94.
A. P. Elkin addresses the extent to which the field researcher needs to “know” the language of the group s/he is studying. His article arises from his response to an article by Margaret Mead entitled, “Native Languages as Field Work Tools.” He apparently disagrees with Dr. Mead’s assertions that the native language is merely a “tool,” needed only for the gathering of facts. Instead, the author offers that the native language is not just a tool, but rather as important to the study of a culture as social organization or religion.
Elkin emphasizes the cultural understanding that is lost when a field worker does not know the language. More than just a means to an end, the language reflects the thoughts, the beliefs, the “inner life” of the group. He points out that studies done by missionaries with extensive knowledge of the local language even fall short in their ethnographic and sociological explanations. The author goes on to admit that an amazing amount of information has been gained about groups even with limited “phrasebook” language ability. However, to insure that this information is sound, we need to go above and beyond just a patchy “phrasebook” picture of the social and religious life of the people.
The author also disagrees with Dr. Mead on how much language is needed in the investigation of kinship systems. He admits extensive language ability may not be needed if one is only trying to uncover kinship type. However, use of the local language is indispensable when we want to achieve real understanding of deeper issues like place and function of kinship in tribal life. Elkin also takes issue with Mead’s assertion that little of the native language is needed when the group has been affected by contact and speaks the contact language. He explains that, even though the native culture has been “modified,” parts are still maintained. This is evidenced by the occurrence of aborigines falling back on their native tongue to describe cultural rituals or customs. Furthermore, an important area of study is within these groups whose cultures are still undergoing modification and change and the native language is still involved in that process of change. The author says it best very simply: “The language and the cultural survivals are part of one whole.”
MELISSA BITZ The University of Montana (John Norvell)
Ford, J.A. and G.R. Willey. An Interpretation of the Prehistory of the Eastern United States. American Anthropologist July-September, 1941 Vol. 43 (3): 325-363.
The authors of this article are concerned with clarifying the prehistorical context of the Eastern United States, more specifically the Mississippi River valley and the surrounding areas. A vast amount of archaeological evidence was unearthed in the 1930s from that region and by the time this article was written in 1941, there was no clear understanding of what all that evidence meant in terms of regional prehistory and its cultural identity. Ford and Willey make mention of Kroeber’s 1939 book Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America which makes a connection between the geography and history of the Eastern Maize Area in the Western United States. Kroeber’s book acts as a framework for the rest of the article wherein the authors attempt to prove there was a complex, multi-layered prehistory in the Eastern United States. They lay out mostly unpublished archaeological evidence and some speculation about that evidence to show that distinct cultures grew out of one another to produce the native culture explorers encountered beginning in the 15th century.
The bulk of the article is spent naming and describing in detail the several stages of culture. Those stages, in ascending order, are: Pleistocene, archaic, Burial Mound I (a.k.a. Tchefuncte or Adena), Burial Mound II (a.k.a. Hopewell or Marksville), Upper Mississippi, and the historic period. Differences among the cultures occur in a few categories: treatment and burial of dead, pottery availability, subsistence pattern, dwellings, domestication of animals and population size. There are subtle differences from one culture to the next and the only explanation given as how one culture prevailed is that those people were better adapted to the time and place.
The most thought-provoking aspect of the article, that of the death cult characteristic in the Burial Mound II phase, is relegated to the last section. This section explains the force of religion in a society. The death cult seems to have appeared around the time of first contact in the 17th century according to the copper and bead necklaces prevalent throughout the area. The death cult gave a possible explanation for all the upheaval and death that surrounded the natives. It also fits into the theoretical framework of geography influencing history as large towns became small, condensed villages in response to the diseases that thrived in their densely populated cities. These condensed villages consisted of a few different tribes so that their cultural practices and history became shared and their identities changed.
Ford and Willey effectively cleared up the prehistory of the Eastern United States using archaeology and analysis. Although some sections were tedious and overly intricate in their descriptions, they were as complete as the available evidence would allow. The authors tend to stray from the theory that geography shapes history which influences culture but in the end the linkage is clear.
VICTORIA MAYES Santa Clara University (Dr. George Westermark)
Goldenweiser, Alexander. Recent Trends in American Anthropology. American Anthropologist April-June, 1941 Vol.43(2):151-163.
The author of this article explores the evolution of scientific anthropology in America beginning in 1851. The need for such a project arose from a lack of accurate anthropological information regarding the Native Americans. Until the time of this study, the only information available about these cultures was from accounts of observant merchants, trappers, Jesuit missionaries, and early explorers. Goldenweiser uses this article as a forum to discuss the contributions of Boa and Paul Radin to anthropological development in America.
Boa, surprisingly enough, was not an academically trained philologist. He did, however, master the Indian languages after 50 years of effort. Since language is the first stepping-stone to understanding a culture, Boa contributed a great deal to improving anthropological data regarding the Native Americans at the beginning of study. His ultimate point was that to understand and effectively use a language, one must immerse oneself in it and become as proficient as possible in good order.
Paul Radin is a man of culture and human traits. Graced with a photographic memory, most of his fieldwork was with the Winnebago Indians. Because of his charismatic nature, he was able to develop an instant rapport with his subjects. This allowed for an unheard-of information exchange of sorts. He was so well liked as to become a veritable institution to the Winnebagos. They wanted to share as much of their culture with him so that he, in turn, would bring them text materials about his culture.
Goldenweiser uses an interesting structure to his article. By examining Boa’s work first, he sets the stage with an academically prominent field worker. He then drives his point home with a discussion of Radin, saying that Radin is the most accomplished field worker in our “modern” history because of his charisma and sociability.
NICOLE MARTIN University of Montana (John Norvell)
Goldman, Irving. The Alkatcho Carrier: Historical Background of Crest Prerogatives.American Anthropologist July-September, 1941 Vol. 43 (3): 396-418.
Useful words to know when reading this article:
Phratry-clan group Sib-kinsman Consanguine relation-blood related Prerogative-official and hereditary right Potlatch-social event, party, celebration, gathering Crest- an emblem and often sign of nobility (identifying feature in this article) Bilateral descent-emphasis from both the side of the mother and the father
In this article Irving Goldman depicts a society of people from northern Alaska called the Alkatcho Carriers. He outlines and describes their basic kinship system and social organization as well as the symbolic and material importance of belonging to a crest group. He refers to the idea of diffusion and claims that the Alkatcho Carriers were influenced by surrounding groups of people. The words listed above are useful to know before reading the article, as he uses some of them frequently, but neglects to clearly define them.
The Alkatcho Carrier group derived from the Upper Carrier in Alaska. Previously each member of this society belonged to a crest group, but at the time of Goldman’s article only the nobility held this tradition. The crest groups were identified by symbols such as beavers, grizzly bears, ravens, or other animal figures. Each crest had a chief to function as a head authority as well as an associated song, dance, and display item for their crest. The chief picks an heir who is initiated through four potlatch ceremonies before receiving the honor of the crest prerogative. (This also symbolizes economic maturity).
Goldman outlines the basic kinship and clan structure of the Alkatcho Carriers. The basic social unit consists of an individual family and then a loose band of joined family groups with patrilocal residence (of the male line). Descent is viewed bilaterally, from both the side of the mother and the side of the father. Marriage must occur outside of the blood related family, and there is no clear distinction given between siblings and cousins and between maternal verses paternal aunts and uncles. Goldman compares the Alkatcho Carrier group to other neighboring Alaskan phratries as well as to Boas’ study of the Kwakiutl. Contact with outside groups increased mainly through the white fur trade, which led to some changes in the marriage structure and customs. The comparison section is a little bit confusing, made more so by some of the terminology used.
ALANA MONGE Santa Clara University (George Westermark)
Greenberg, Joseph. Some Aspects of Negro-Mohammedan Culture Contact Among the Hausa. January-March, 1941 Vol.43(1):51-61.
Joseph Greenberg addresses the influence Islam has had on the region of Kano. The main influences that have converted many Hausa to Mohammedanism have been Negroes of the central Niger region in Africa. Small groups and individuals that became absorbed into the population carried out this process. The combination of Mohammedan and aboriginal beliefs was the result of learned men adapting sacred text to the situations of native people. The pagan culture remains as it is used as part of the Moslem framework. This creates an acculturation situation for which no previous academic provisions have been made.
Greenberg argues that the Malams, by rejecting pagan cult rites suppress many aspects of Moslem derivation and by equating certain aspect of pagan culture with Moslem culture, a new Hausa Muslim culture is created. He believes that it is an oversimplification to say that, to quote Greenberg “the Mohammedanization of the Hausa is a continuing process beginning with the borrowing of Mohammedan elements in to pagan culture, and continuing after a conversion to Islam with an even greater replacement of pagan by Mohammedan features” According to Greenberg conversion is a step that requires much thought and a purposeful shift adapting Muslim patterns of behavior to a native context. The major factor in this acculturation is the members of the literate class.
Greenberg uses clear explanations as evidence for his theories. He shows the similarities between pagan class of spirits known as iskoki and the “jinn” in Muslim tradition. By clearly seeing the links between the two beliefs readers can easily understand how these ideologies have come together.
NOELLE PAS University of Montana (John Norvell)
Hambly, W.D. Albert Buell Lewis. American Anthropologist April-June, 1941 Vol. 43: 256-257.
Dr. Albert B. Lewis, a noted contributor to the Field Museum of Natural History, passed away in October of 1940. His life is remembered by his colleague, W. D. Hambly, in this obituary as one of strength and devotion to scientific inquiry. Dr. Lewis was alive during much of the formative stage of American anthropology and his presence added greatly to the field of museum science. He was also a prominent figure in Melanesian studies.
Lewis’ early training in biology at Wooster College and the University of Chicago introduced him to the science of physical anthropology. After a brief teaching stint at the University of Nebraska, he received his Ph. D. from Columbia University and was immediately hired as Curator of Melanesian Ethnology at the Field Museum in Chicago. He remained in this position until his death.
As part of his research in Melanesian studies, Lewis led the Joseph N. Field South Pacific Expedition from 1909 to 1913. This exploration into present day Papua New Guinea included visits to the islands of New Britain and New Caledonia. His addition of many artifacts to the Field Museum included a collection of skulls of great value to comparative physical anthropology and craniometry. Lewis produced many publications in his area of specialty including Decorative Art in New Guinea, New Guinea Masks, Melanesian Shell Money, and Guide to Ethnology of Melanesia.
Lewis was greatly admired by the staff at the Field Museum and his colleagues in anthropology. Rightfully so, he held fellowships in the American Anthropological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition, he was a member of the international honor society, Sigma Xi. For his achievements, Lewis was remembered in his obituary as “a stimulating teacher” and a man having “scientific earnestness, critical ability, and kindly helpfulness.”
JAMES FREEBURG Santa Clara University (George Westermark)
Herskovits, Melville. Charles Gabriel Seligman. American Anthropologist July-September, 1941 Vol.43(3):437- 438.
Melville Herskovits writes in memory of Charles Seligman’s life as an anthropologist. Herskovits recalls Seligman’s first anthropological interests and projects. He recounts his life accomplishments and endeavors and his tragic death. Seligman’s many projects and accomplishments spanned through his whole life right up until his death. Herskovits states Seligman’s variety of anthropological interests by recalling the wide range of locations, ethnographies and papers and many students and associates that Seligman influenced
Seligman was born in London, 1837 and died in 1940. In 1898 he joined a group of anthropologists on a Torres Strait expedition, which sparked his interest in anthropology. His early training in medicine influenced his interest in physical anthropology. He was most interested in problems of race. Seligman applied his knowledge of medicine to his observations of native diseases. His interest in Psychology led to psychoanalytical methods of and interests in anthropology. Seligman also had a great love for oriental art and collected Chinese jades. He gained authority on this subject in his paper, The Roman Orient and the Far East. Seligman’s influence was felt widely in the anthropology world.
Seligman was a professor at The London school of Economics where he guided and trained many well-known anthropologists such as Malinowski, Driberg, Schapera, Evans-Prichard, and the list goes on. His advice was sought out by the Colonial Service on problems of native observation or in publicizing notes. His own notes and documentation are known for their factual clarity of data. Seligman’s accomplishments in life made his advice and guidance and influence that much more appreciated.
Seligman became chronically ill during his field-work in the Sudan, after which
he resided at his home in the country side near Oxford where his was sought out by his friend, colleagues and students. Herskovits notes how Seligman’s great mind and personality was still alive during this time. Seligman’s nickname “Sliggs” represented his friends respect and admiration for him. Herskovits goes on to mention the many publications of Seligman’s accomplished career in the order that they appeared.
LALANEYA J. BRAIN: University of Montana (John Norvell)
Homans, George C. Anxiety and Ritual: The Theories of Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown.American Anthropologist April-June, 1941 Vol.43(2):164-172.
The author presents current thought on the theory of ritual by walking the reader through details of an academic controversy between A. R. Radcliffe-Brown and Bronislaw Malinowski. Malinowski’s well-known and widely accepted theory of magic distinguishes primitive people’s performance of magical rites from their practice of religious rites. Magical rites soothe everyday anxiety associated with the uncertainty of future harvests or the real danger of open-sea fishing. Malinowski proposes that, whereas natives can state explicitly the purpose of magical rites (e.g., to produce a good outcome for a fishing expedition), they either report no specific function for religious rites or narrate a myth in way of explanation.
According to Homans, Radcliffe-Brown takes exception with Malinowski’s distinction based on the fact that any “definite, practical purpose” attributed to a rite is based on interpretation of the primitive people’s own verbal statements. Radcliffe-Brown cautions that these informants may either give unreliable explanations of their customs or their rational explanations simply do not conform with Western logic.
Radcliffe-Brown levels a second criticism at Malinowski’s theory of magic based on the idea that anxiety created by actual uncertainty regarding an outcome (e.g., in the event of childbirth) may be confused with anxiety in response to social expectations surrounding the event. Homans suggests that these two experts may simply be framing the problem from two different perspectives. In the author’s view, Malinowski looks at the individual’s need to relieve anxiety while Radcliffe-Brown looks at society’s expectation that the individual will need to address anxiety on certain occasions. Homans elaborates his own position with an example of medieval religious practice thought to parallel that of primitive communities. Medieval peasants may have felt obligated to perform certain rituals, such as religious processions, to secure God’s favor lest the community suffer crop failure. So long as rituals were carried out as prescribed by the parish priest, the people were spared anxiety connected with disastrous natural occurrences.
Homans completes his article with a summary of seven elements considered necessary for studying rituals commonly known as magic. These are primary anxiety, primary ritual, secondary anxiety, secondary ritual, rationalization, and function.
PEGGY SCHUNICK University of Montana (John Norvell)
Knowles, Nathaniel. Cultural Stratification on the Trenton Bluff. American Anthropologist October-December, 1941 Vol. 43(4): 610-616.
In his article, Nathaniel Knowles presents and briefly discusses the cultural stratification of an archaeological site along the Delaware River called Abbott Farm #2. Knowles uses the Abbott Farm #2 data to support his claim that while full analysis of this material and comparable artifacts from thirty-nine other excavations throughout New Jersey may indicate cultural differentiation, this differentiation is likely only to be “quantitative in character” (616).
The Abbott Farm #2 excavation site, of approximately one hundred seventy-one thousand, six hundred eighty-nine cubic feet, was once a knoll covered with hardwood forest during aboriginal times. After a long period of intensive cultivation, the surface was leveled out, and from the late 1800’s to the 1940’s collectors combed the river bluff removing artifacts later transferred to museums and private collections. Despite the intensity of these collection activities which claimed tens of thousands of artifacts, the Abbott Farm #2 site has yielded over four and a half thousand stone artifacts, almost six thousand potsherds, ninety pits, and twenty burials.
Utilizing this archaeological data, Knowles compares the distribution curves of both stone artifacts and potsherds and finds that the two curves are similar enough to be of the same series. He proposes suggestions for any discrepancies between the stone artifact and potsherd means, which he claims differ slightly but not significantly. In a footnote, the distribution curve from twenty-one excavations scattered throughout New Jersey is noted as almost identical to these two Abbott Farm #2 curves, suggesting compatibility with other state sites. Knowles also uses a table comparing depth distribution of types of stone artifacts and a table comparing the frequency of artifact types found in the black soil, a mixture of the original humus with yellow sand, and the underlying yellow sandstone to argue the comparability of artifacts.
The reader unfamiliar with Trenton archaeology, or perhaps archaeology in general, might want more elaboration on the context of the site and data. At one point, he brings up a particular complex called Lenape but fails to give the reader any background information on this material and its meaning for the Abbott Farm #2 data. Still, amidst the slightly unclear presentation of his evidence, Knowles’ larger point seems to be that the Abbott Farm #2 material is compatible with and reflects a similar pattern as other excavations in the state.
KIMBERLY A. YUAN Santa Clara University (George Westermark).
LaBarre, Weston. The Uru of Desaguadero. American Anthropologist October-December, 1941 Vol.43(4):493-522.
In his article about the Uru tribe of Desaguadero, located along the Peruvian-Bolivan border, Weston La Barre describes a historic ethnographic account about the dwindling Uru tribe. At the time of publishing, the Uru’s members had been declining steadily since the time of colonization. Therefore, the report seems to be a frugal attempt to record the Uru’s existence. La Barre’s article takes into account multiple past studies in order to attain a thorough report about the Uru. Through his own research and multiple other sources, La Barre was able to describe the environment where the Uru live, their diet, various identifiable linguistic features, the Uru’s history, tribal relations, and common habits of living among these fascinating people.
It seems as though La Barre’s basic motivation for the article is to merely educate people about the Uru. He does this by focusing several separate sections of the article on the separate parts of the natives’ lifestyle and where they acquired their cultural characteristics. In one particular section, La Barre compares and contrasts the Uru with other tribal groups from the same area, showing that although the Uru have a similar culture to the other groups, they do not share the same linguistic background. Therefore, La Barre speculates that they constitute a culture unique to the area. La Barre then traces other cultural affiliations among the Uru such as tribal huts and hunting and fishing techniques to further support his argument. By outlining the uniqueness of the Uru, Weston La Barre successfully demonstrates that the Uru are indeed a unique culture that could possibly vanish without a trace if the public is not informed of their existence.
La Barre’s organization and clarity make the article easy to read and understand for collegiate audiences. By outlining each of the sections that he discusses throughout the article, La Barre presents a much more solid and convincing argument. The only downfall of his organization and writing style is La Barre’s use of Spanish and Latin as though they were universally understood among English speakers. He uses Spanish and Latin quotes from previous ethnographic recordings and never translates them making the article not as clear for those who do not speak Spanish.
JENNI GRAFF University of Montana (John Norvell)
Lewis, Oscar. Manly-Hearted Women Among the North Piegan. American Anthropologist April-June, 1941 Vol.43(2):173-187.
Oscar Lewis appointed two objectives to this essay. The first was to present fresh material on a specific personality type among Blackfeet women. His second objective was to examine this personality type within Blackfeet institutions and the effect they have on behavior. The Personality Type under observation was labeled “The Manly-Hearted Women”. The Manly hearted woman was interesting to Lewis because this type of behavior contrasted greatly with the socially acceptable behavioral pattern of Blackfeet women. Lewis described manly-heartedness as a small group of women who have a freedom and independence more like women in our own culture. He starts his essay by examining the Blackfeet institutions which he believes will help us understand this type of personality.
Lewis first states the dominant traits of the Blackfeet culture. He points out the heavy emphasis on ownership and wealth. He says that the ownership of property, horses, medicine, song and ritual knowledge implies status and wealth. Lewis then examines the woman’s domain. He says that they are essential to the functioning of the Blackfeet economic system. He points out the rigid circumstances under which women can own property, hold roles in religion, and their ability to obtain shared wealth and prestige. This is dominantly a male role. If a woman could obtain these things she would be free from her traditional subservient female role. It is hard to obtain due to the largely male dominated social and economic system, which kept women docile and loyal. But the manly-hearted woman defied both male and female roles if she could obtain this status.
Lewis lists the traits that make a woman manly-hearted: aggressiveness, independence, ambition, boldness, and sexuality. He says that only a woman of a certain status can embody these traits. The requirements are marriage of wealth and high social position. These women fell into a certain age group. No younger than thirty two, but he says the older the woman the less likely she will be considered manly-hearted. Hence the third requirement is maturity. Lewis points out that as a woman grows older the more the manly-hearted traits will show. With these criteria in mind he goes on to explain how a woman might gain this status within her tribe.
A woman might be manly-hearted if she is socially accepted as a deviant. She owns her own stock and property which may have been inherited or given to her as a gift. She will excel in both men’s and women’s work. This ability makes it easy to gain wealth. She is considered an economic asset, which gives justification for her to be the dominant figure in a marriage. Essentially, the roles of the male and females are reversed in this type of relationship. She then can acquire the social freedom equal to a man, due to her economic success. Lewis ends with how the Blackfeet institution help create the type of behavior seen in this limited set women.
Lewis says that women of a lower status will not be exposed to the same situations and opportunities as one of a higher status. They are less likely to be given gifts and or be included in a religious life. Therefore they will be less likely to obtain land and stock, or to hold roles in ceremonies. Lewis contributes another factor to manly-heartedness to Male dominance and early marriages of girls ages six to fourteen. Which is a quick and difficult transition leaving her with a very short childhood. He says this personality type might be her reaction to being placed as a sexual object at such an early age.
LALANEYA J. BRAIN : University of Montana (John Norvell)
Lothrop, S. K. A Chronological Link between Maya and Olmeca Art. American Anthropologist July-September, 1941 Vol.43(3):419-421.
S. K. Lothrop’s article examines the establishment of a time link between Maya and Olmeca art. A general description of what classifies art, specifically stone carvings, as Olmeca is given first. Next, Lothrop explores the existence of stonework resembling Olmeca traits in Maya sites.
Lathrop describes Olmeca statues with specific features, such as, a parted, thick-lipped mouth, and infantile appearance. These traits have lead to the statues being regarded as “baby faces” by many archaeologists and anthropologists in the field.
It is the author’s main goal in this article to show that many of these same “baby faces” exist on the statuary or “stelae” of Maya sites, most specifically in the ancient Maya city of Naranjo. The Olmeca style faces are seen as ornamentation of the Maya statues of the city. Belt ornaments somewhat like modern day belt buckles display the Olmeca “baby faces.” This leads to the conclusion that, through trade, Olmeca style became fashionable among the Maya. Although many of the carvings have Maya stylization, they also possess distinctly Olmeca traits.
The dates on three Maya stelae containing Olmeca ornamentation are correlated with our calendar years of 790-800 A.D. It is the author’s conjecture that, because the presence of Olmeca art was so widespread, it was in existence for a long period of time. The ability to match Olmeca art with this specific time period is a start in referencing the art as a whole through cross dating of separate cultures.
DANIELLE A. MARCETTI University of Montana (John Norvell)
Lowie, Robert H. A Note on the Northern GL Tribes of Brazil. American Anthropologist April-June, 1941 Vol.43(2):188-196.
In the article, A Note on the Northern GL tribes of Brazil, the author, Robert H. Lowie, wishes to describe the differences of the many GL tribes in Brazil. Among his accounts on several tribes he puts his main emphasis on three particular tribes, the Serénte, the Canella, and the Apinayé. His comparing and contrasting of these three different tribes lead to three important aspects of a cultural civilization. These three aspects include material culture, myth and religion, and social organization.
The first aspect, material culture, Lowie argues that although these tribes have many disadvantages, in relationship to our civilization, they are still able to provide for all the basic needs of human beings. Cultivation, farming, hunting, cooking, and constructing an effective shelter are examples of ways these tribes use inherited traditions and techniques of using the natural resources available to them.
On his second account of myth and religion, Lowie focuses on describing how folklore and religious beliefs affect each of the three cultures. Most of the myths, or folklore, and religious beliefs among these tribes have stories that mirror each other in one way or another. Such narratives as the sun and the moon cycles, the star wife, and the origin of fire are classic examples that Lowie describes in detail.
Finally, in his third account of social organization he argues that the ‘disabilities of an inferior technology are much less of an impediment to the burgeoning of new ideas’. For example, the Serénte, living in a patrilineal society, have bachelor’s dormitories consisting of men with sexual purity. The Canella tribe has four rotatable age-classes where in ceremonial participation, seasonal competion and marriage they are all separated by age-class. Finally, the Apinayé, in their matrilineal society, only a certain classification of a man may marry a certain classification of a woman.
As Lowie describes in detail the concepts mentioned above, his conclusion on this subject is that despite the differences of others’ cultures evolution is a continual process, and that human beings will never (as long as they exist) cease to create new customs and search for the meaning of life.
HEIDI KEASTER University of Montana (John Norvell)
Mandelbaum, David G. Culture Change Among the Nilgiri Tribes. American Anthropologist January-March, 1941 Vol.43(1):19-26.
David G. Mandelbaum explores the processes of acculturation and adaptation through the examination of four Nilgiri Tribes in South India. The four tribes have close contact with one another but have adapted differently to the influx of outside cultural forces. Mandelbaum wants to discover the reasons for these variations in adaptation and at the same time uncover the factors influencing the process of acculturation. He is also interested in observing how a culture can have frequent contact with external cultures without experiencing acculturation. By examining the impacts of Hindu and European contacts, Mandelbaum illustrates how and why changes emerge from tribe to tribe.
Historical background of the Nilgiri Hills, before the English arrived, is used to portray the striking cultural autonomy held by the tribes. Mandelbaum argues that the environment and climate of the Nilgiri Hills, combined with the nature of tribal interactions, kept each tribe differentiated and culturally isolated from one another.
The historical background of the Nilgiri Hills after the arrival of the English is also utilized to determine the levels of adaptation and acculturation experienced by the tribes. Mandelbaum examines each tribe individually in order to draw general conclusions pertaining to acculturation.
The first tribe, the Kurumbas, could not at the time be analyzed because no fieldwork had yet been conducted and Mandelbaum had had little interaction with them. The second tribe, the Badagas, had been deeply affected by outside contact. With an increased communication between the Badagas and lowland Hindus, a revival of Hinduism had motivated the tribe to adopt new ways and abandon the old. This in effect created tensions within the tribe since some members wanted change while others fought passionately against it. Here Mandelbaum points to one factor that instigates acculturation: the creation of factionalism.
The third tribe, the Todas, represents a classic case of high levels of contact without acculturation. The Todas culture is based entirely around the cult of the buffalo. Because their economy survives, their culture also survives with only minimal adaptation to their new British neighbors. On the other hand, another Todas village did have its economy interrupted by the infiltration of the English. When the British government covered a sacred pasture with a military station, the Todas were unable to perform their necessary buffalo rituals. This points to another factor of acculturation: cultural vulnerability to certain spheres of life. For the Todas the removal of ritual changed their entire lifestyle.
The fourth tribe, the Kotas, have been moderately affected by change. Small adaptations in dress, food, and materials only represent minimal British influence because they have not altered the Kotas’ way of life. The greatest change has come from a tribal member, Sulli, who advocates change and challenges the old ways. Here Mandelbaum points to another factor of acculturation: the power of a single individual who possesses a strong personality and has the ability to influence people.
KRISTY WERCHEK University of Montana (John Norvell)
McAllester, David. Water as A Disciplinary Agent Among the Crow and Blackfoot.American Anthropologist October-December, 1941 Vol.43(4):593-604.
The author begins by discussing the role of early childhood incidences on later phobias and fears. This leads into the focus of the article, which is looking at the correlation between water used as a disciplinary and anxiety-producing agent with the Blackfeet and the Crow and the frequent use of water imagery and food tabus.
The deployment of water is first used to stop a crying infant, and after a while, the mention of “Bring the water” will stop a child from crying. The threat of water was often used as a means of social control. The constant reminders insure the effects of water were reinforced continually and used in later development of the individual. As a male child reached young boyhood, he would be snatched from the comforts of his bed and plunged into a nearby river. Often this was done in the winter to amplify the effect. This was a culturally condoned form of revenge. It was also to teach one to be strong. If an individual fought and cried too much, they would be called a woman and encouraged to wear women’s cloths. This was a great insult to a young perspective warrior, and a way of publicly shaming weak behavior. As a boy grew to be a man searching for a bride, the only opportunity to talk with a young lady was when she went to get water. If a young lady found a man to be unworthy, she would douse him with water.
The Blackfeet and Crow have three ways they culturally display this water anxiety: (1) water-beings as powerful supernatural helpers, (2) fear of malignant water-beings, (3) presence of food tabus connected to water. The author gives several examples in ethnographic and mythological accounts of the power of water and water-beings. He concludes by restating that the early childhood events, fostered continually to adulthood, significantly contribute to the “religious constellations” of the larger group.
ROBERT O’BOYLE University of Montana (John Norvell)
Opler, Marvin K. The Integration of the Sun Dance in Ute Religion. American Anthropologist October-December, 1941 Vol.43(4):551-572.
This article demonstrates how the Ute Indians came to adopt the ceremonial sun dance into their society. Opler describes how the sun dance is believed to have originated within the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes and was eventually passed on to the Ute in 1890 by the Shoshoni. The sun dance is one of two ceremonies that the Ute still continue to practice; through minor modifications of the dance the Ute have developed a somewhat unique ceremonial style.
Through his ethnographic fieldwork Opler was able to gain knowledge of the importance of the sun dance for the Ute and examine the roles that each person plays in the ceremony. He finds that an appointed tribal member is the person responsible for coordinating and leading the sun dance ceremony. The dancers are able to perform on a voluntary basis however; those who choose to dance do so with hope of obtaining supernatural or healing powers. The general purpose of the dance is to promote good luck and long life among the Ute and to cure the sick that attend the ceremony. Opler gives a detailed day-by-day description of what takes place throughout the entire ceremony including both pre-ceremonial and post-ceremonial activities. He notes that fewer people perform in the sun dance and that the overall attendance seems to have reduced as well. This may be attributed to the adoption of agriculture among the Ute and the fact that the ceremony is usually performed during harvest season. The lack of performers and observers reflect how agricultural duties may have become a greater priority to the Ute thus surmounting the cultural value of the sun dance.
Finally, Opler compares the sun dance with two other dances that were once performed by the Ute, the Ute Round Dance and the Deer-Hoof Rattle Dance. He finds that these ceremonies were conducted in quite a similar manner to that of the sun dance and both encompassed a comparable societal function for the Ute. Therefore, it may be that the Ute never adopted the sun dance ceremony from another tribe but rather modified two of their own dances to meet one ritual need.
HEATHER L. BACHELLOR- University of Montana (John Norvell)
Rainey, Froelich. The Ipiutak Culture at Point Hope, Alaska . American Anthropologist July-September, 1941 Vol.43(3):364-375.
Froelich Rainey’s article describes the findings of the Ipiutak cultural site discovered at Point Hope, Alaska. The article summarizes two seasons of fieldwork at the site in 1939 and 1940.
The author discovered the extent of the site while excavating in the spring of 1940. He noticed the grass and moss that cover the Point Hope bar turned green while the grass over the house sites remained yellow. Each house site stood out as a yellow square. They accurately located over six hundred houses.
The article discusses the indications that all of the houses discovered were occupied at the same time. They estimated the population of the settlement to be several hundred thousand or more. The author describes the assumption of the house sizes and styles, as well as the artifacts found at each house site. They also discovered a cemetery and excavated several graves. The artifacts found at the gravesites were vast and of many materials and styles. Over four thousand artifacts were taken from these sites.
The author goes on to describe the various types of artifacts found from arrowheads and carved knife handles to flaking tools, obscure ivory objects, carved animal figurines, knife blades and flint blades, as well as a variety of other artifacts. The article also displays many photographs of these artifacts.
The articles discusses the various carving and engraving styles of the artifacts and compares and contrasts them with other historic Eskimo cultural sites previously excavated. The author speculates that this Ipiutak culture as well as other Eskimo cultures originate from Eastern Asia.
This article will impress those interested in the historical archaeological record of the Arctic. Froelich Rainey explores the intricacy of the Ipiutak culture.
HEIDI HILL University of Montana (John Norvell)
Ransom, Jay Ellis. Aleut Semaphore Signals. American Anthropologist July-September, 1941 Vol.43(3):422-427.
Jay Ellis Ransom’s article examines a method of communication introduced in 1900 by Afenogen Ermeloff, an Aleut native of Umnak, Alaska. The new method was called Aleut Semaphore Signals and enhanced the obstructed verbal communication that Ermeloff and his partners were using.
Ermeloff and his partner were trapping on two adjacent islands in the Bering Sea. During the spring, summer and fall seasons they were able to communicate by shouting to each other across the waterways. During the winter months though their verbal communication was restricted by the strong gales and storms that carried the sound away. This created the need for a new form of communication.
Ermeloff is thought to have struck upon the idea of Aleut Semaphore Signaling by two means. He came across a long forgotten Bishop’s translation of Russian symbols to Aleut phonetics. Secondly, he observed many United States Coast Guard sailors signaling from ships anchored a short distance off shore to sailors on shore a semaphore code or wig-wag conversation. By these stimuli Ermeloff was able to develop a system of code symbols for his native Aleut language.
Each letter of his language was represented by different arm arrangements, coordinating the arrangements as closely to the shape of the letters as possible with the exception of a few uncertain letters. Through this semaphore language many Aleut’s were able to communicate over distances without having to exert extra energy by approaching each other for verbal communication.
The article goes on to show pictures of a man demonstrating each symbol in this semaphore language. The pictures illustrate the different hand positions and orientation for each symbol and are significantly consistent, in that the palms point up in those symbols that require extension of the arms.
Unlike the semaphore of the Coast Guard, Aleut Semaphore Signaling does not spell out each letter of a string of words, but phonetically signals a semantic associated with a phrase. Swift movements and continuous motion have become the conventional means of signaling Aleut semaphore.
This article will impress those interested in communication and the skills developed within a language to improve communication. Jay Ellis Ransom explores an intricate expression of Aleut language.
HEIDI HILL University of Montana (John Norvell)
Shimkin, D.B. The Uto-Aztecan System of Kinship Terminology. American Anthropologist April-June, 1941 Vol.43(2):223-243.
D.B. Shimkin briefly addresses the changes that have occurred in kinship terminology among Uto-Aztecan people. He focuses on kinship terminology as a way to understanding the roles of individuals in a society. He also looks at the roles of self-reciprocity and emergency obligations as factors that shape the terminology for members of society. The importance of consistency, seniority, and discriminating line of descent are all factors in kinship and non- kinship roles in Uto-Aztecan culture.
Shimkin argues that typing Uto-Aztecan tribes as Yuman is inaccurate. Very few distinctly “Yuman ” traits apply to Uto-Aztecan tribes. Those characteristics that do can also be easily applied to other groups like the Hokan. He also notes that where Yuman and Uto-Aztecan tribes are compared, the important Uto-Aztecan elements are excluded. Shimkin believes that Uto-Aztecan tribes should no longer be linked with the Yuman accept in cases where a tribe may have been “Yumanized” like in the case of the Pima. He also argues that the symbolism of language is an important part of kinship terminology. In the dual coupling of father and mother it is implied that the two are often associated. There is also an aspect of double meaning in kinship terms that he believes play a role in kinship associations. He believes that creative word usage is proof of the importance of self-reciprocity among the Uto-Aztecan people.
Shimkin uses a large amount of linguistic data to prove his points about kinship. He reconstructs Uto-Aztecan kinship terminology using lexical and systematic data. He admits to omitting some types of data but says that is to simplify the material. He uses the kinship terms of ten typical Uto-Aztecan tribes broken down into their respective kinship groups. After confining each tribe’s terms into a category, Shimkin presents a list of consistently used kinship terms. He then attaches these terms to values of importance, self-reciprocity, and lines of descent that the tribes have. While it seems that every attempt has been made to clarify and simplify the data, the information remained challenging. Terms such as Stepmother’s brother’s child were very confusing. They muddied the broader context of the article and made the actual scientific data hard understand.
NOELLE PAS University of Montana (John Norvell)
Siegel, Morris. Religion In Western Guatemala: A Product Of Acculturation. American Anthropologist. 1941 Vol. 43: 62-76.
Morris Siegel presents us with the duality of Catholic and Indian religions and practices. Acculturation took place, which fused to form present day religion. The article suggests that religion today is a new system, neither Catholic nor Indian, rather a unified and new entity. He presents the “end-result of a long-time acculturative process” to stimulate the interest in acculturation.
The introduction to the acculturation of religion in Western Guatemala presents us with the definition of acculturation and historical data on pre-conquest Maya and Spanish conquerors. It describes the lack of reliable data on the daily life of the Mayans, therefore making the acculturation analysis more difficult. We are introduced to the northwestern village of San Miguel Acatan with a population of 11,000 Indians and their religious beliefs and practices. Many Catholic elements obtrude and are manifested in their religion due to early Spanish impact.
Pre-conquest Maya religion was characterized and centered on the worship of personified powers of nature such as the earth and sky gods, the former being the most important. Sky gods include Itzamna or the creator of mankind, and Kukulcan the organizer and founder of cities. Priests were categorized into hierarchies, each attributed with specific functions. Human and animal sacrifices played a significant role in the Mayan religion as well as their Mayan calendar. Catholic practices adopted by the Maya are baptism and confession, recognizing God as the source of all power, the Virgin, saints and patron saint. Catholic priests visit the village to give mass and perform rites. The use of the Gregorian calendar represents their religious celebrations.
Religion in San Miguel Acatan holds an array of elements, from pantheon worship to sorcerers to saints worship and rituals. The author supports the practices by describing the many annual cycles of religious celebrations. All celebrations mix both Catholic and native characteristics reinforcing the author’s claim to a system of religion and product of acculturation.
NINA RADOVIC Santa Clara University (George Westermark).
Smith, Marian W. The Coast Salish of Puget Sound. American Anthropologist April-June, 1941. Vol.43(2):197-211.
The extensive culture of the Coast Salish can be found in Western Washington from the Cascades to the coast and north into British Columbia. There are two general areas, the southern Puget Sound region and the northern into Canada, the Strait of Georgia and the Fraser River. Geographic boundaries tend to be associated with a particular village or community, and their name is more important for ceremony than daily life. Marian W. Smith clearly states her intention to “clarify tribal distribution” (197) of the Puget sound area and define the relationship between the Puget Sound Salish and the Canadian Costal Salish of Strait of Georgia and Fraser River.
The north is characterized by “ethnic groups” whereas the south, the Puget Sound area, is characterized by “extended villages”. These differences are defined by the relationship of the community to land use. In the northern region the group moves together through the seasons and has exclusive rights to gathering and fishing territory. The “extended village” characteristic of southern Costal Salish meets at a summer village site and during the winter months disperses into separate smaller villages with food gathering territory open to many people of different extended summer villages. This difference in land use and dispersion patterns is for Smith the most important distinguishing factor between northern and southern Coastal Salish tribes. While this is important, Smith also looks at marriage patterns, living arrangements, and religious ceremonies.
Smith sets down her tribal distribution of the Puget Sound area at the end of her article. She divides the one hundred twenty-four villages into eleven different major groups based upon drainage systems, martial ties, and other cultural similarities. She then takes these eleven and groups them in to four larger ethnological areas: the Puyallup-Nisqually, Central Puget Sound, Northern Puget Sound, and Inland Puget Sound. Smith is unable to reconcile the three northern most tribes into the Puget Sound classification so they are placed separate groups of their own, the Samish, Lummi, and Nooksack. A map is provided with these fourteen different groupings marked. Smith also provides a detailed list for each of the fourteen groups of geographic terminologies used by the tribes, to divide these major groups.
ANN SULLIVAN University of Montana (John Norvell)
Tax, Sol. World View and Social Relations in Guatemala. American Anthropologist January-March, 1941 Vol. 43(1):27-42.
Tax explores factors accounting for a lack of acculturation in Guatemala despite the fact that multiple distinct, unique Indian communities known as municipios exist in close proximity to each other and their members have frequent commercial interactions with each other. Rather than being distinguished by their biological heritage, Guatemalans in the Western Highland region are recognized as Indians (full blooded descendants of people invaded by Spanish conquistadors) or Ladinos (mixed racial heritage) because of cultural and linguistic characteristics. Ethnic communities are separated one from another by virtue of unique social, political, and religious institutions, distinct dialects, and location-specific costumes. Ladinos, in general, are more representative of Spanish and European traditions; they are more likely to live in urban rather than rural settings. It is noteworthy that each municipio forms an identity so strong that its members are recognizable on only cursory inspection.
These circumstances were studied by the author in an effort to understand cultural assimilation by investigating barriers to normal cultural diffusion. Two mechanisms thought to block diffusion were revealed. First, in spite of cultural differences between municipios, general uniformity of Guatemalan culture does not present disorganization to the extent that people are compelled to “borrow” from their neighbors. Second, widespread social contact with surrounding communities takes place within the context of trade. Frequent interaction at open air markets and religious festivals is fairly superficial and socially prescribed. It avoids personal, intimate exchanges. As a result, people recognize and are extremely tolerant of subtle cultural diversity. They respect the social and cultural boundaries of each municipio and its members.
The author goes on to compare his observations with those of Redfield, noting that they both find Guatemalan societies “homogeneous in beliefs and practices . . . mobile, with relationships impersonal . . . and with individuals acting more from economic or other personal advantage. . . .” This characterization appears to go against Redfield’s distinction of primitive world views from civilized ones because it captures components of each hypothesized perspective. Tax acknowledges that “civilized world-view” may be a cultural invention of his own culture. He concludes by suggesting that two kinds of acculturation may be useful to consider. In one view, Western tradition imposes a certain world view and attendant social relations on native peoples. In the other, a Western world view is imposed on peoples who have previously and independently developed analogous social relations. Tax hypothesizes less rapid breakdown of native culture in the later scenario.
PEGGY SHUNICK University of Montana (John Norvell)
Thomas, Sidney J. A Sioux Medicine Bundle. American Anthropologist October-December, 1941. Vol.43(4):605-609.
This article addresses the contents of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe bundle. This particular medicine bundle was thought to be the last one remaining on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in 1941. The contents of the bundle had always been a well kept secret and it was brought out in the open eye only in special occasions. These occasions included “times of famine”, “times of disease”, and “in order to pledge peace.” Otherwise the bundle is kept in a log structure that was built for the sole purpose of housing the bundle. There is a tripod that holds the bundle and it is moved twice a day so that it faces the sun.
The article addresses the problem of the owner of the pipe within the bundle and just how old the pipe is. The pipe was originally presented to the entire Sioux nation.
However, the safe keeping of the sacred object was given to a particular family in the Sans Arc band and it has remained in their care for ten generations. It was typically handed down from father to son, although the owner in 1941 was Mrs. Bad Warrior to whom her father had specifically willed the pipe. Legend says that the pipe is 1,000 years old, declaring each keeper in ten generations to have lived 100 years. Although, the past two generations of owners have been separated by about 30 years which would put the pipe at an age of about 250 years. If this age is correct it would date the Sioux to the when they were living in the lake regions of Minnesota in the late 17th century or early 18th century. It would have been very possible for them to have been exposed to tobacco at this time from the Mississippi area, and thus justifying the creation of the sacred pipe.
The White Buffalo Calf Pipe is thought to carry the power of healing the sick and upholding good health. It is thought that as long as the bundle it is contained in is properly cared for and respected then there will always be a Sioux nation.
ALEXA MUDGETT University of Montana (John Norvell)
Tucker Jones, Sara. Archival Materials For the Anthropologist In The National Archives, Washington, D.C. American Anthropologist 1941 Vol. 43: 617-644.
Sara Jones Tucker from the University of Chicago wrote this paper as an outgrowth of a study made in the summer of 1940. In the earlier study representatives of three of the fields in the social sciences (sociology, economics & anthropology) were sent to Washington D.C. by the Social Science Research Council’s committee on the Control of Social Data to make a preliminary survey of the archival records contained in the National Archives. Tucker delves into this study with the intention of providing a working list of the files and documents in the archives of the federal government of the United States. Within these archives are unpublished documents which bare critical relevance to the work of social scientists, and mainly to the anthropologist. The purpose of this paper is to, “bring to the attention of anthropologists, a partial listing of some of the specific and promising files in archival materials in The National Archives.” (617)
Throughout the article Tucker outlines the sixteen divisions of the archives and discusses the basic organizational techniques of each division. These sixteen divisions of the National Archives are listed below:
Division of Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings
Division of Maps and Charts
Division of Photographic Archives and Research
Division of Legislative Archives
Division of State Department Archives
Division of Treasury Department Archives
Division of War Department Archives
Division of Justice Department Archives
Division of Post Office Department Archives
Division of Navy Department Archives
Division of Interior Department Archives
Division of Agriculture Department Archives
Division of Commerce Department Archives
Division of Labor Department Archives
Division of Independent Agencies Archives
Division of Veterans’ Administration Archives
Tuckers’ details on the arrangement and classification of the documents in each division are useful in giving the scholar or researcher an idea as to what information they may obtain from each division; and most importantly where to start their search. This study, though comprehensive is not an intensive one. It provides an outline of the category and type of material that can be found within the archives. The paper does not include an intensive listing of the subject matter of which each division includes their papers, but she does specify which source materials in the archives would be useful to the anthropologist.
MEGHAN FRANCIS Santa Clara University (Dr. George Westermark).
Voegelin, C.F. Internal Relationships of Siouan Languages. American Anthropologist. April-June, 1941. Vol.43(2):246-249.
In 1883 J. Owen Dorsey determined the number of Siouan languages and the dialects of each language. Today we have added only three more to his lists. Dorsey was also the first to notice the close relationships of two or more of these languages. He discovered that sequences of two consonants (CC) plus a following vowel (V) in Iowa-Oto-Missouri coincided with a sequence of the shape CVCV in Winnebago. Dorsey named this the triliteral-quadriliteral rule, which is not restricted to the above mentioned languages. However, it did become routine to use the term Chiwere for a group that includes only Winnebago and Iowa-Oto-Missouri. In 1931 Kieckers assigned neighboring languages to three different groups. One of these groups, the Eastern Group, included Tutelo and Catawba. But in the last decade, using work of Swanton, it has been noted that grammatical and lexical divergence from the Tutelo and all Siouan languages is so extreme that the Catawba must be put in a group of its own. The tribes east of the Alleghenies are therefore considered geographic neighbors but not linguistic neighbors.
Evidence for the Ohio Valley Siouans to be correctly called a group according to language is laid out in the article. In some aspects the Biloxi, Ofo, and Tutelo are as closely connected within the Ohio Valley Group as the Crow and Hidatsa are within another group. It is a generally accepted theory that the Crow split off from the parent Crow-Hidatsa language at some point in the along the Upper Missouri. Other Siouan relationships have been minimized but the Missouri River relationship has been exaggerated since Dorsey presented the Crow and Hidasta as dialects of one language in his 1883 list.
Dorsey was successful in proving his triliteral-quadriliteral rule that Iowa-Oto-Missouri and Winnebago belong together but he was not as successful in determining whether these two languages were part of an exclusive group or whether they provide a nucleus for a more extended group. If they provide a nucleus should the term Chiwere be extended? It has been proposed that either the name Chiwere be exclusively used for anthropologists or that the term Mississippi Valley Siouans be adopted for the groupings of all languages which may come in by the triliteral-quadriliteral rule.
ALEXA MUDGETT University of Montana (John Norvell)
Wallis, Wilson D. Alexander A. Goldenweiser. American Anthropologist April-June, 1941 Vol.43(2):250-255.
Alexander A. Goldenweiser passed away on July 6, 1940. His humanity, learning, and literary achievements helped to domesticate anthropology and teach people of its problems and conclusions. He was a talented writer as well as an excellent speaker and has been described as “the most philosophical of American anthropologists.” Goldenweiser was born in Kiev, Russia in 1880. He attended graduate school at Harvard and then went on to receive his Ph.D. at Columbia under Boas. He taught at several different institutions including the University of Oregon where he taught from 1930 until his death as professor of Thought and Culture in the Extension Division. His fieldwork included a study of the social and political organization of the Iroquois.
He was known for his insistence that anthropology not dehumanize its data. He studied the behavior of men who live in a particular culture. His first long study was Totemism, which he possibly regarded as his most influential contribution. During this study his primary interest was not in the problem but in the means of investigation. He set out to show the shortcomings of the comparative method due to the failure of its users to consider the unique backgrounds of the respective regions that they drew their examples from.
In his later years Goldenweiser became interested in cultural movements of Western European civilization. He was interested in Freudian psychology early, particularly its various developments of introversion and extroversion. His recent interest was social theory, in which it was said he would delight from any reading of it. He was known as a phenomenal speaker who captivated his audience. Friends affectionately remember his stimulating conversations for which he had a talent. His gifts live on in the many articles and books that he published throughout his lifetime.
ALEXA MUDGETT University of Montana (John Norvell)
Wieschhoff, H.A. The Social Significance of Names Among the Ibo of Nigeria. American Anthropologist January-March, 1941 Vol.43(1): 212-222.
Weischhoff’s essay deals with the complex meanings behind the names given to the Ibo people. At birth all of the people in the society were given a common name. All girls received one name while all of the boys received another. When the mother of the infant was well enough to go to the market, the child was given it true name. Weischhoff wrote that the relatives (matrilineal and patrilineal) gathered together to aid in naming the child. According to the author, the family did not always agree on a common name. As a result, the child would often have two names. Each side of the family called the child by the name that they had chosen. The official name was chosen based upon the social status of the families. If the mother’s family were wealthier than the father’s their name would be selected. The opposite is also true. Occasionally both sides of the family would be equal in status. This resulted in the name being chosen by an oracle doctor. This person chose the name that was best suited for the individual.
The next stage of Weischhoff’s essay described with the meanings of each name. He defined fifty names. Twenty-seven of the names were male names and the rest were female. He split the names into seven main categories. The first were names that expressed circumstances surrounding the individual’s birth. Second were those names that dealt with the child’s future. Third were names that were given to individuals who were a disappointment to their family. Fourth were names that were given in order to protect the child from evil spirits. The next group of names dealt with the events with in the father or mother’s lives. Another form of name was one that that indicated that the mother had become more secure in her marriage. The remainder were the names that give caution about other people. Weischhoff felt that this was to minimize the friction within the society.
The author ended his essay describing the merging of English names into the Ibo culture. He stated that the Ibo began to choose English names over traditional names. However, in closing, he claimed that the Ibo were now changing their names back to more traditional ones.
This essay was very easy to understand. There were no overwhelmingly complex theories and the theories that were dealt with were simply put and precise.
STEPHEN YATES University of Montana (John Norvell)
Williams, F. E. Group Sentiment and Primitive Justice. American Anthropologist. October-December, 1941. Vol.43(4):523-539.
F. E. Williams spent a brief period of time doing ethnographic work at Lake Kutubu in the delta division of Papua. Lake Kutubu is a mountain lake that is surrounded by very rough terrain, and is rightly called the “Uncontrolled Area.” There are five small villages that inhabit the delta, and all five constitute 300 to 400 members collectively. Each village has well defined boundaries, but all fall under the category of one tribe. Though Williams spent only four months at Lake Kutubu during the late 1930’s, he/she was able to understand, to some extent, group sentiment and primitive justice. William’s paper does not present an argument, as an anthropologist might do in defense of research done in a previously studied area, but simply records the social nature of the people of Lake Kutubu.
Williams first recognized how the group was organized, which includes housing, marriage, and descent. Housing primarily consists of a long men’s house, in which all the males except for babies would eat, sleep, and spend their leisure hours. Females live in smaller housings placed alongside the long men’s house, which are separated by families. Marriage of these people is organized by the males, and the marriage process is through purchase. Although the female is much under the thumb of her husband, he must be on good terms with her and her family because his children will one day live with them. Descent is patrilineal and is solely traced through the father’s side. This type of descent leads to an affectionate association between father and son.
Williams also formulated the “Sympathetic Sanction”, which deals with intra-group members and extra-group members. It basically states that an action can be wrong or right within a group, but may have a totally opposite reaction by people outside the group. This difference is very clear in war, when a group of attackers surprises an enemy group and proceeds to rape, pillage, and murder its members. This action is seen as acceptable, but such and action within a village or tribe would not be acceptable. This unwritten law may help to maintain good conduct within a group, but it is not a sure thing, and the Kutubu natives only see it as an influence.
The Kutubu practice a form of primitive justice that Williams discusses in the latter part of the paper. The natives have a belief in sorcery, and this influences many of the decisions they make regarding justice. Primitive justice occurs as justice would occur in our own society, including cases of theft, rape, murder, and adultery. In each case, whether it be on the victim’s or perpetrator’s end, sorcery seems to be used as an excuse for behavior. An example would be a case of adultery where a younger brother slept with his older brother’s wife. The older brother then “sorcerized” his younger brother, and then justice was dealt for both men, being that sorcery is seen just as evil as adultery. It should be noted that justice is served only within a group, and this is where the idea of sympathetic sanction comes into play. All actions against an enemy or outside group is fine, as long as the perpetrator is prepared for revenge from that group.
COLLIN ORTON University of Montana (John Norvell)