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In particular, a number of genetic disorders which are specific to Athapaskan speakers indicate a series of recent genetic bottlenecks consistent with population founder effects and likely also a connection to Siberian populations in relatively recent timeframes Erickson Third, a review of the archaeological literature is also consistent with the model of a recent, rapid expansion.
All three of the above areas provide the context for a discussion of material cultural data collected in North American museums. If it can be demonstrated to be valid, then this hypothesis represents a major piece of supporting evidence for a cultural connection between Athapaskans and Asians, as well as helping to explain how the Southern Athapaskans, initially few in number, were ab le so quickly to expand and encompass a vast territory occupied by others and far re moved from their orig inal homeland.
My visits to ethnographic collect ions to examine North American sinew-backed bows were primarily conceived of to assess the mate rial support for an Athapaskan role in the diffusion of complex archery technology. Complex bows made by Athapaskan speakers and their neighbors from all over western North America were closely compared to assess the interrelationship of bow technol ogy with other ethnological data, providing information relevant to a discussion of Athapaskan migrations.
Cultural Evolutionary ver sus Historical Models A language expansion of this speed and sca le beginning from a nucleus in the remote Western Subarctic raises the questi on: The answer is complicated.
The extreme climates of interior northwestern Canada and Alaska demand versatility, efficiency and austerity in t he face of unforgiving nature. Subarctic dwellers have demonstrated effective adaptation to changing resource patterns, favoring generalized subsistence strategies and correspondingly utilitarian toolkits. The dominant cultural-evolutionary model in anthr opological theory since the mid-twentiethcentury has often presented Northern Athapaskans and t heir neighbors as typespecimens for pre-state hunter gatherer societ ies, and as direct analogs to much earlier 19 PAGE 20 archaeological cultures in the region.
But the evolutionary paradigm in North American ethnology is challenged by the late Holocene introduction of archery presumably from the Asian continent. Although the bow was ubiquitous throughout the Americas at European contact, it was virtually absent throughout most of both continents as late as the beginning of the Common Era. Yet Azar Gat is unconcerned by the impact of archery upon his cultural-e volutionary model for the emergence of violence in small-scale societie s.
His argument for the universality of primitive warfare require s independent confirmation in mu ltiple independent smallscale societies, and Northwest America is taken as one of these test-cases.
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The American Northwest is another vast "laboratory" of "pure" hunte r-gatherers Gat Gat cites nineteenth-century descriptions of Tlingit raids and feuds to support his model of warfare in simple societies.
But these allegedly independent ethnological analogs for evolutionary theory are very weak. The accounts all well postdate the dramatic escalation of violence in these societies that ensued in the wake of the rise of the European fur trade. The northwest quadr ant of the conti nent was already a protocolonial theatre of pow er by the mid-nineteenth-c entury Harris Further, many of the basic assumptions under lying the cultural-evolutionary view of primitive warfare in the Northwest have been severely challenged by the revisionist approach to hunter-gatherer studies.
As Kenneth Sassaman succinctly points out: With this revisionist thinking archaeologists lost the authority to blithely use ethnographic observations for analogical purposes, but they gained an arsenal of concepts for interp reting hunter-gatherer variation and change in historical, as opposed to evol utionary, terms.
This revised way of thinking is informed by theories and paradigms that we can gloss as historical Sassaman Consistent with this revisionist paradigm is the rapid pace of the adoption of archery technology observed by archaeologists. This does not support the recently prevalent cultural evolutionary models for the adoption of new technology by Native Americans. John Blitz further argues. The large-scale pattern of dispersa l and adoption reveals processes not directly attributable to local environm ental circumstances.
Instead, the rapid dissemination of the bow across major ecological boundaries is interpreted as the result of a contagious com petitive advantage in intergroup conflict Blitz Yet despite the recent advances of revi sionist or historicist scholarship, subarctic cultures such as the Athapaskans are still widely regar ded as relicts of prehistory, rather than as hi storical actors engaged with a wider world. Headland and Reid This study will help to demonstrate that the Athapaskan expansion du ring late Prehistory is far fr om exceptional, but could arguably be a type case for the historicist position.
As James Downs notes [p]ersons who have associated with both Athapaskan, particularly Navajo and Apache, and Central Asian peoples such as Mongolians and Tibetans have often remarked at similarities of attitude and general behavior Downs While some of these similarities can be observed in Native Americans in general owing to remote common origins, I could not help but wonder if there was a stronger historical connection at play in the Southern Athapaska n case, because the number and nature of similarities struck me as mo re than would reasonably expect by chance after millennia of separation.
For example, my curios ity was piqued upon learning traditional Navajo weavers will incorporate a si ngle deliberate error in each piece, made to symbolize human imperfection in the face of divine perfection Carmean The identical practice and identical justification for this practice is found among Altaic weavers in Central Asia Mellaar t Navajo cultural delegates to Tibet have lately remarked on the incredible similarity between specific Navajo and Tibetan woolen blanket and hat designs, along with the common personal names shared between the members of the two groups, physica l appearance and manner of prayer Norton-McBride One such co incidence is unremarkable, but there are very many of them.
And they often rela te practices like weaving which were presumably developed long after the time when the First Americans left Asia. Delving into the old anthropological lit erature for Athapa skan-Tibetan language links, a field pioneered by an earlier generation of eminent linguists like Edward Sapir, Morris Swadesh and Robert Shafer, I learned that additional Central Asian langu ages, particularly Yeniseian, are considered in this 22 PAGE 23 context by such scholars as John Bengtso n Blaek and BengtsonMerritt RuhlenMichael Fortescue and more re cently by Edward Vajda a, b.
Beyond the linguistic evidence, there are a number of anthropolog ical studies that address the profound similarity between Navajo and Tibetan religion Chiao ; Karnakova ; Klein ; Kri ppner ; Samuels I soon discovered a large corpus of Athapaskan oral traditions recorded over the past century, ea ch making explicit cl aims to the peoples cultural roots in Asia.
For example, the origin narrative of the Navajo Tsinajinii black streaked wood clan says that the Navajo peopl e originated in the Old World across the Pacific Ocean, and that overpopulation eventually forced them to emigrate to the New World Weisiger Donald Cole records a story that was old a century ago among the Southern Chirica hua.
This tale maintains that the Apaches were originally the slaves of Central Asian horti culturalists who rode horses and used bows and arrows. Legend told of a revolt and f light to the east through dark forests and across water larger than any river.
Some educated Chiricahua even go so far as to claim that thei r former Asian residence was Xi njiang, in the heart of East Central Asia Cole Virtually all the eighteenth and nineteenth-century records of Northern Athapaskan oral tradi tion make similar explicit claims for Asian origins in a time of great strife and warf are.
Alexander Mackenzies journal from mentions: Their progress is Easterly, and, according to their own traditions, they came from Siberia; agreeing in dre ss and manner with the people now found upon the coast of Asia Mackenzie The Asian homeland of the At hapaskan Chipewyan, in t he account recorded by Mackenzie, was a place where they suffered great misery at the hands of a very wicked people; upon their arrival in America, the Chipewyan told Mackenzie they soon disovered and settled upon Coppermine River w here they were able to immediately make use of the abundant native copper resour ces Mackenzie Mo st versions are simila r to the contemporary Alaskan and southwestern accounts cited above, describing distant homelands on a western continent with numer ous people and exotic anima ls, where the ancestral Athapaskans were forced by their ferocious enemies to flee the continent and move to North America Morice The expl orers who recorded t hese stories often took them at face-value, as testimony of a major migration from As ia in the relatively recent past.
In contrast, later nineteenth and twentieth-century anthropologists of a cultural-evolutionary persuasion have been skeptical of such accounts, casting aspersions on their veracity: Most of these accounts seem to be in accord in placing their earlier home far to the west, either across the sea or on the other side of a long lake full of islands.
From this western land they were driven by the cruelty and fierceness of their neighbors, and afte r long travel and many difficulties came into their historical habitat.
The most that may be said is that attempts to derive the northern Athapa scans from Asia on the basis of these traditions are absurd Swanton and Dixon The work of Alice B.
Kehoe, questions the wisdom above. This basic Asian migration narrative has been re iterated independently at least half a dozen 24 PAGE 25 times by closely related peoples residing thousands of miles apart.
This should give one pause before assuming that these accounts are purely mythological and have no historical value. Widespread Athapaskan oral traditions describ ing a journey from Asia by boat are incompatible with this paradigm, and have been dismissed as fanciful mythology for the better part of a century.
Some Athapaskan tales of flight from persecution in Asia appear to have been forgotten by the peoples who once reported t hem. For example, in the s, Emile Petitot recorded in great detail Hare and Gwichin Athapaskan accounts of migrations of persecuted ancestors across the western ocean from the continent we have left Petitot But contemporar y Gwichin elders seem to have forgotten these tales, and may alternatively claim autochthonous or igins in North Amer ica Kari Some indigenous activists now assert that transoceanic migration stories undermine native land claims; their views resonate with those of like-minded an thropologists.
But native intellectuals are divided on the merits of this approach, just as scholars are. The late Vine Deloria argued that ancient Am erica harbored shiploads of refugees from historical conflicts. His statements echo the details of the ol d Athapaskan accounts. Strangely this debate also rages in Indian circles, and a few of my best friends are adamant about maintaining the theory of isolation in order to enhance the achievements of our ancestors.
Unpleasant though it ma y be to some In dians, we need to know the truth about North American prehistory, and indeed that of the Western Hemisphere. I personally feel that unless and until we are in some 25 PAGE 26 way connected with world history as early peoples, perhaps even as refugees from Old World turmoils and persecutions, we will never be accorded full humanity.
We cannot be primitive peoples who were suddenly discovered half a millennium ago Deloria The Structure of the Study The next two chapters constitute a large cross-disciplinary review of relevant scholarship including linguistics, genetics, ethnology and archaeology. Chapter 2 is a historical summary of more than a cent ury of Athapaskan studies in anthropology, focusing on conventional wisdom in the field. Chapter 3 brings this picture up to date with a review of recent work, especially breakthrough linguistic and molecular genetic studies.
Some of these newer studies pose distinct challenges. A recently forged linguistic consensus surrounds the Dene-Yeni seian language family, meaning that the existence of Central Asian cultural ties with Athapaskans and also their Eyak and Tlingit relatives has left t he realm of speculation, and mu st now be directly confronted by non-linguists. Chapter 4 describes the me thods employedwhat exactly I did, which museums I visited, which bows and other obj ects I examined, how measurements were recorded and which ones, and why.
Chapter 6 explores the broader significance of this st udy; what the findings mean and what the results point to in regards to the resear ch question; the conclusion, addressing the contribution of the present wo rk to the larger field of study, and suggesting the next steps for further research. Athapaskan is the largest family within the Na-Dene linguistic stock.
The stock was formally proposed and named by Fr anz Boas student Edward Sapiralthough Michael Krauss notes that this proposal has much earlier roots. He traces the development of the hypothesis from the eighteenth century onward, particularly through nineteenth-century Russian lit erature Adelung and Vater ; Radloff ; Wrangell Of the four proposed genet ic units within Na-Dene, three of them Haida, Tlingit and Eyak are single languages almost exclusivel y confined to the Northwest Coast, while the largest, Athapaskan, is a widespread group of very closel y related languages almost exclusively limited to the continental interior.
The precise number of Athapa skan languages is difficult to determine, because broad dialect continua and mutual intelligi bility between so-called languages are commonplace. Doubts about the validity of the Na-Dene phylum and the inclusion of both Haida and Tlingit persisted for many dec ades Krauss and Golla Sapirs mentor, Franz Boas did not accept the valid ity of Na-Dene as a whole, although he did consider Tlingit-Haida to be a genetic groupi ng Boas He thought Tlingit-Haida was unrelated to Athapaskan but conver gent with Athapaskan due to diffusion and borrowing as a result of historical contact Swadesh These questions have re mained open.
Some have harbored doubts about even Tlingit until fairly recently Campbell Most Americanists now occupy a middle ground, rejecting Haida, while affirming the affiliation of Tlingit. They have thus split apart Boas old Tlingit-Haid a unit which was widely accepted by an earlier generation of linguists, regardless of where they stood on the Na-Dene issue Hymes Eyak refers to small native culture closely related to Athapaskan, once residing in the Copper River Delta.
The relationship between Athapaskan and Eyak is so clos e in fact that the distinct status of the Eyak branch was recognized by Anglo-Am ericans only in the mid-twentieth-century, when Eyak language and culture were already severely endangered Birket-Smith and de Laguna In recent centuries the Eyak were largely absorbed and assimilated by the nor thwesternmost Tlingit who have steadily encroached upon their territor y de Laguna Eyak language is now extinct, as the last native speaker died in So the only living Na-Dene languages remaining are a number of Athapaskan l anguages and Tlingit and possibly Haida.
Michael Krauss speculates that Tlingit itself may be a hybrid language resulting from the merger of an ear ly Athapaskan-Eyak speech community with an unknown, unrelated group Krauss This woul d account for the paradox of Tlingits 28 PAGE 29 remarkably Athapaskan-like verbal morphology despite fewer than expected lexical cognates in other words the stem-inventory of Tlingit could reflect a distinct strand of non-Athapaskan-Eyak genetic hist ory.
If the unrelated stock was indigenous to the region and a bona fide Na-Dene linguistic stratum was later introduced by immigrants, then the Tlingits coastal adaptation and mate rial culture could have been borrowed en masse along with the associated foreign lexicon, as the arrivals were integrated into a community with deep roots in t he region. It might be that this non-Na-Dene component was a relative of Haida, and that Tlingit is genetically related by mixed marriage to both Haida and Athapaskan-Eyak.
An artificially mo re-ancient Na-Dene follows in two different ways: The earliest published reference to a possible link between Athapaskan and Tibetan languages was made around by the Catholic missionary and ethnologist, Father mile Petitot, who was a fluent speaker of multiple Canadian Athapa skan languages. In a chan ce meeting with a missionary returning from Tibet lAbb Fageboth cler ics were astonished to discover several common vocabulary words in addition to numerous structural and grammatical similarities shared by Ti betan and Athapaskan languages Petitot Sapir wr ote that the similarity in feeling between Tibetan and Nadene is at least as close as between Latin and English, probably closer Sapir Sapirs work incudes Haida in this phylum, but Shafer subscribed to a more conservative approach, excluding Haida and including only Athapaskan and Sino-Tibetan materials.
The great bulk of evidence for Sino-Dene language links comes from At hapaskan and Tibeto-Burman lang uages. The fact that Sapirs work was yet unpublished when Shafer di d his work is significant, according to Sapirs student Morris Swadesh, who writes that Shafer's work constitutes an independent corroboration of the correctness of the theory Swadesh Sapir and Shafer are considered to be the founding fathers of Na-Dene and Sino-Tibetan linguistics respectively, but their disciples have been generally unreceptive even highly critical towards efforts to bridge the gul f between geographically distant families Kaye The D ene-Caucasian proposal, though rooted in Sapirs work, relies heavily upon the unconventi onal multilateralist comparative method, a.
Mass comparison is not recognized as a valid method by the majority of Americanist linguists However, Sapirs original Sino-Dene proposal did not use unconventional methods. Whatever its merits may be, Sino-Dene is argued on the basis of the traditional comparative method and.
Morris Swadeshs classic article Diffusional Cumulation and Archaic Residue as Historical Explanations is recognized as a foundational text in anthropological linguistics because it establishes the ground-rules. Swadeshs basic premise is widely accepted.
Each language possesses a stable core vocabulary. Some of these core words are nevertheless lost through time. Core word lists can be compar ed across languages to reveal words of common origin cognates.
A uniform rate of change in core vocabulary between two related language-communities would in th eory allow one to date the temporal divergence of the two populations, by calibrati ng the loss rate for related languages of known historical depth. Since that time, other scholars have adjusted the method and increased that age estimate, but the basic method has remained the same. It has long been assumed that the Na-Dene languages di verged gradually, moreor-less in situ, in early Holocene North America G reenberg et al.
This is not a valid assumption, as members of distinct yet related language s often migrate together. One needs only to look at the recent col onial expansions of closely related IndoEuropean languages e. Spanish and Portugese, or English and Dutch to see this is the case. Indigenous North America has other examples of this phenomenon; notably, the late expansion of Uto-Az tecan speakers in the Great Basin most likely involved 31 PAGE 32 several distinct, closely affiliated l anguages Miller Individual languages with a common pedigree can be completely differentiated long before a shared migration event brings them toget her to a new home.
As Kenneth Weiss and Ellen Woolford argue: Na-Dene gr oups could not be used to date the divergence of this group in the New Worl d. Or as Richard Perry succinctly put it [o]n the basis of present evidence, for that matter, there is no compelling reason to a ssume that the division between Eyak and Athapaskan occurred in North Americ a at all Perry As a relative dating method, glottochronology must be calibrated using non-linguistic data. The next sections will review the chronological estimates of the Athapaskan migrations, based on linguistic evidence.
External evidence includes the patterning, diversity, and depth of differentiation cleavage between dialects or languages, wh ich may also hint at the direction and relative order of migr ations. The northern urheimat linguistic homeland or nucleus of the Athapaskans is demonstrated based on both types of evidence; there is more 32 PAGE 33 linguistic diversity and dialect cleavage in the north than in within ei ther the Apachean or Pacific Coast branch, and there is a clear patte rn of neologisms related to southwestern foodstuffs and horticultural products Sapir Furthermore, the cleavage between individual Northern Athapaskan and Southern or Pacific Coast Athapaskan languages e.
Navajo and Chipewyan is not as great as that between particular Northern languages, in other words Denaina and Chipewyan.
This establishes the north as the more ancient l anguage-bloc and the two sout hern blocs as peripheral. Sapir presented internal linguistic evidenc e which conclusively proved the recent northern origin of the Navajo; e.
It less well know n that a remarkably similar plant-name construction, made from the same na root-word for enemy, a lien, or foreigneris found in the language of the Chilcotin, in the southernm ost contiguous extension of the nuclear Northern Athapaskan bloc, and can likewise be used to demonstrate a southward migration, as report ed by A. They call the particular kind of grass Poa tenuifolia known as bunch-grass, which is one of the most valued possessions of their present country, nna-tl, which means grass of the Foreigners, that is the Shushwaps Morice Further, the Athapaskan names for a row of hills in the Great Bear Lake basin are arranged in a geos patial-chronological template following a northwest-to-southeast migrat ion itinerary, with First Promontory being the northernmost one, and Last Mountain and Last Steppe respectively being the southernmost two Morice The nineteenthcentury witnessed the annihilation of tens of thousands of California natives in massacres and through disease in the wake of white settlement, and the Pacific Coast Athapaskan groups were not spared Thornton Navajos during this era encountered a stream of Pacific Coast Athapaskan refugees who made the arduous journey by foot across t he Rocky Mountains, upon learning of the existence of their linguistic kin to the east.
Photographs o f t h e Paleoindians. L 1 LJ Owsley etal. Lee, personal communi- research. S 3 Turner, 1 9 9 1Old World archaeological specimens Table 1 demon- ba n individual f r o m B e n g a l t h a t dates t ot h e 19th strating U A P include a Bronze A g e individual from t h e or early 2 0 t h century Hawkey,a n d four G e r m a n Amencan Journal of Physical Anthropology K. O'Rourke and Raff, T h eBlack E a r t h site greatly i m p r o v e d t h e organization o f this article.
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Top of the Lake
A t e r m i n a l Pleistocene child cremation and residen- Sutter R C. D e n t a l v a r i a t i o n a n dbiocultural affinities tial structure f r o m eastern Beringia.
Diet and mobility i n Moquegua, P e r ua n dAzapa, Chile.