Anthropology, Department of


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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 23 (2008). Copyright © Cynthia J. Wiley; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


The crossroads of archaeological investigation and indigenous oral tradition are ripe with potential for increased interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans. This interaction may become increasingly mandated in the future as NAGPRA affects excavations and material culture collections. Currently this body of information is not being fully utilized. However, as examples of chronologically lengthy prehistoric memory develop, including myths and traditions related to Pleistocene mammals, archaeologists must be prepared to incorporate this information into research designs and interpretations. Strong (1934) and Echo-Hawk (2000) provide a way to critique and organize oral tradition for analysis. Archaeologists must build on this foundation to create a methodology that will allow us to systematically examine oral tradition and incorporate it into interpretations. Recognizing and synthesizing memories of the prehistoric past has the potential to inform mobility studies by changing the way archaeologists ask questions about past movements.

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