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Culture Contact or Colonialism? Challenges in the Archaeology of Native North America Author(s): Stephen W. Silliman Reviewed work(s): Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Jan., 2005), pp. 55-74 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40035268 . Accessed: 06/11/2011 16:12
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CULTURE CONTACT ORCOLONIALISM? CHALLENGES IN THE ARCHAEOLOGY OFNATIVE NORTH AMERICA


StephenW. Silliman

Whathas frequently been termed "contact-period"archaeology has assumed a prominentrole in NorthAmerican archaeology in the last two decades. This article examines the conceptualfoundation of archaeological "culturecontact" studies by sharpeningthe terminologicaland interpretivedistinctionbetween "contact"and "colonialism."Theconflation of these two terms, and therebyrealms of historical experience, has proven detrimentalto archaeologists' attemptsto understand indigenousand colonial histories. In light of this predicament,the article tackles threeproblems with treating colonialism as culturecontact: (1) emphasizingshort-termencounters ratherthan long-termentanglements,which ignores the process and heterogeneousforms of colonialism and the multifacetedways that indigenous people experienced them; (2) downplaying the severityof interactionand the radically differentlevels of political power, which does little to reveal how Native people negotiatedcomplexsocial terrainbutdoes muchto distance "contact"studiesfrom what should be a related research focus in the archaeology of African enslavementand diaspora; and (3) privileging predefined cultural traits over creative or creolized culturalproducts, which loses sight of the ways that social agents lived their daily lives and that material culture can reveal, as muchas hide, the subtleties of cultural change and continuity. Lo quefrecuentementese denominaarqueologia del "periodode contacto" ha adquirido en los ultimos 20 ahos un papel en la arqueologianorteamericana. Este trabajoexaminael legado conceptualde los estudiosarqueologicossobre prominente el contacto culturaly aclara la importantedistincion terminologicae interpretativa entre "contacto"y "colonialismo." La tendenciaa confundir ambosconceptos,ypor lo tantoel mundode las experienciashistoricas,haperjudicadoel intentoarquetanto la historia indigenacomo la colonial. Bajo semejantepredicamento,este articulo aborda tres ologico por comprender problemas que se generan al equipararcolonialismo con contacto cultural: (1) poner enfasis en los encuentrosde poca - lo que ignora lasformas y los procesos heterogeneosdel colonialismo, asi duration- en vez de las relacionesprolongadas como las multiplesdimensionesde las experienciasindigenas,(2) poner menoratencion a la intensidadde la interacciony a los grados de poder politico tan diferentes,lo que no permiteapreciarcomo la gente autoctonanegocio en contextossociales complejos,promoviendoademds un distanciamientoentre los estudios de "contacto"y las investigacionesafines sobre la arqueologiade la esclavitudy didsporas africanas; y (3) privilegiar rasgos culturalespredefinidossobreformas culturales novedosaso criollas, lo que impideapreciar lasformas en las que agentes sociales vivieronsus quehacerescotidianos, olvidando a la vez que la culturamaterialpuede revelar,asi como ocultar,las sutilezas del cambio culturaly de la continuidad.

of culture contact and colonialism have assumeda recognizableplace in contemporaryarchaeology.Whetherin North America, Latin America, South Africa, western or Hawai'i,archaeologists have Africa,Australia, the commade enormousstridesin documenting betweenindigenouspeople plexitiesof interaction andthe expanding mercantilist andcapEuropean italist world economy and political sphereof the last half-millennium. The implications of this researcharebroadand profound,not only affectof local histories,identities, ing the understanding

and indigenousculturalsurvivalbut also illumiof European-derived natingthe global trajectories imperialexpansion,colonialism,and decolonization. Some havebroadened this projectby considering culture contact and colonialism in contexts in Latin precapitalistand "precontact" andelsewhere(Alexander America, Mesopotamia, 1998; Cusick 1998c; Dominguez 2002; Gosden 2004; Lyons and Papadopoulos 2002; Schortman andUrban1998; Stein 2002), a worthwhileeffort thatmay ultimatelyhelp breakdown the artificial barrier betweenhistoricalandprehisdisciplinary

of Anthropology,Universityof Massachusetts,Boston, 100 MorrisseyBoulevard, Stephen W. Silliman Department Boston, MA 02125-3393 (stephen.silliman@umb.edu) AmericanAntiquity,70(1), 2005, pp. 55-74 Copyright2005 by the Society for AmericanArchaeology
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toricarchaeology thatcurrently hindersdiscussion about historicalprocesses and culturalhistories (Lightfoot1995;Williamson2004). Although a research interest truly as old as Americananthropology, a focus on NativeAmericans in NorthAmerica'sso-calledcontactperiod didnot assumea positionof archaeological prominence until the 1980s. This is despite the wideranging acculturationresearch in anthropology duringthe 1930s,suchas thatsummarized by Herskovits(1958), which did not engage consistently with the materialrecordof Native historiesavailablethrough As practitioners of North archaeology. Americanarchaeologyrecognize,a centralimpetus for the expandedresearchprogramwas primarily the approach of the 1992 Columbian the500-yearanniversary of Columquincentennial, bus'sfateful1492landfall in theCaribbean thatusheredin European colonialismandexpansionin the Americas. Another influence involved the 1990 passageof the NativeAmericanGravesProtection andRepatriation Act by theU.S. Congressbecause this legislationprompted morecollaborative work between archaeologists and tribal members. In of the quincentennial and in recognianticipation tionof the lacunaein archaeological research dealwith the a number of influential ing period, thatgrappled with issues of publications appeared colonialism and Native American European responses (Fitzhugh 1985; Ramenofsky 1987; Rogers1990;RogersandWilson 1993;Taylorand Pease 1994; Thomas 1989, 1990, 1991; Walthall and Emerson 1992; Wylie 1992; see also Axtell 1995).Sincethen,the subfieldhas expanded exponentiallyacrossNorthAmericaandelsewhere,and havebegunto takestockof recentlyarchaeologists the field (Cusick 1998b;Deagan 1998; Lightfoot 1995; Murray 1996, 2004a, 2004b; Rubertone 2000; Silliman2004b). My goal in this articleis to offera different perspectiveon culturecontactand colonial archaeology, especially as practicedin NorthAmerica:I seek to interrogate the terms and parameters that defineit. In particular, I wantto examinethe theoretical,historical,andpoliticalimplicationsof the termsculturecontactandcolonialismas theypertainto the archaeological studyof indigenouspeoin North America.I arguethat ple post-Columbian we have not paid enough theoreticalattentionto the basis of our inquiries:"Whatthe quincenten-

nialthrowsintoreliefis theneedforarchaeologists to take responsibilityfor the work theirresearch does in a worldthatis structured by classist,racist, and sexist politics"(Wylie 1992:593).I take this chargeseriouslyand suggestthatthe way we talk about and present our research on "contact"in forthe is problematic American North archaeology the and outwork" within it "does discipline way side of it. use of culThe articlearguesthatan uncritical turecontactterminologyfor clearlycolonialconshort-term textsdoesthefollowing:(1) emphasizes encounters over long-term entanglements; (2) downplays the severity of interactionbetween groupsand the radicallydifferentlevels of politiand those relationships; cal power that structured and almost essentialized (3) privilegespredefined cultural traitsovercreative, creolized,ornovelculturalproducts.I am not the firstto have concerns of culture contact(Hill 1998; abouttheterminology 2004b:215; 1996:202, Paynter2000a:9, Murray the or about 200Jb:202) problemsof uncritically models the acculturation culture contact to linking of the first half of the twentiethcentury(Cusick 1998a),butI hope to deepenthe discussionshere. to rethink At a theoretical level,thisarticleattempts in the metaphor(sensu Kuhn 1979) of "contact" North American archaeology in the hopes that changingthe metaphorwill recastthe process - thatit purports I agree to represent. colonialism conwith Williamson'sconcernthat "thecurrent we are to instruments that using investigate ceptual contactareactuallymakingthejob of understand(2004:191),butto complement ing moredifficult" hisfortreating herproposal precontact/postcontact I 1 seek toriesas a continuum (afterLightfoot 995), term itself. The metaphor to revisit the "contact" not only our conceptsand of "contact" structures of the interactions of NativeAmerinterpretations icansandsettlersbutalso thementalimageformed when we narby our audiencesand collaborators ratethose histories. Drawing Distinctions Culturecontact or colonialism?The point about terminology may seem pedantic, but conflating colonialism with contact underwritesmisunderstandingsof indigenouspeople in NorthAmerican archaeology.An anecdote will illustrate.A

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revieweronce questioned me on a manuscript conNative Americans and cerning living workingon - Why a nighteenth-century ranchoin California did I call this contextculturecontactwhen it was clearly colonialism?The rancho and adobe site had been occupied in the 1830s and 1840s by a handful of Mexican Californiansand around a thousandCaliforniaIndianpeople laboringin a varietyof economicroles (Silliman2004a). Some conductedthis labor voluntarily;others worked undercoercion and force. The reviewerimplied thatI downgraded boththe severityof interaction andthe extentof possible changethathad already in NativeAmericangroupsimplicatedin occurred thisparticular colonialsettingjust by usingtheterThat is, could Rancho Petaluma,the minology. if the researchsite, reallybe considered"contact" ranchoinvolvedwilling andforcedNativeAmerican laborers,some of whom had been in or near SpanishandthenMexicanmissionsfor morethan 30 years?At the time I brushedoff the criticism as a matterof semanticsbecause I really meant colonialismwhen I said culturecontact.In fact, I continuedto use the termin my publications(Silliman 2001a, 2003) despite some consternation (Silliman 2004b), and numerousarchaeologists havealso used contacteven while otherwisecarefully arguing and elucidating complex colonial processes (Carlson 2000; Cobb 2003a; Deagan 1998;Johnson1997;Lightfoot1995;Lightfootet al. 1998;Loren2001b;NassaneyandVolmar 2003; 2003). Wagner However, after a few years of reflection, it becameclearthatthisinvolvedmorethana semanCalifornia tic problem.Referringto my northern research as contactdid seem to downplay,at least the violenceof the colonialfronterminologically, tier;the laborregimeforcedon indigenouspeople the presenceof nonindigeby settlerpopulations; nous groupsin the generalregion for more than threedecades;and the ensuingmaterial,cultural, I began to reflect on and political entanglement. and how students, publicvisitorsto theexcavation, must have American consultants Native thought my conaboutmy effortsto call this context"culture tact."The same goes for my currentarchaeologiTribal Nationhistory onEastern calresearch Pequot How couldI consider in southeastern Connecticut. workon the seventeenth, eighmy archaeological New centuriesof southern teenth,and nighteenth

whentheEastEngland partof the"contact period" ern PequotTribalNationcommunityhadbeen on a colonial reservationsince 1683 after enduring severe casualties and dislocation following the PequotWarof 1636-37? Simplyput,I cannot,nor can my tribalcollaborators. "Culture contact" remainsa problematic phrase fordescribing all indigenous-colonial interactions in NorthAmericaand elsewhere,and we need to reconsider ourconceptual A recentreview baggage. of the relationship betweenhistoricalarchaeology and anthropological archaeologyexpressedconcern that"historical archaeologyhas yet to find a for the bland 'Contact replacement period'" (Paynter 2000a:9).Yet the researchitself is not bland;it is insteadfrequently mislabeled,sometimesundertheorized,and as a result,remarkably disempowered. Indigenous people, particularlyin North America,find the last five centuriesof attackon their culturaltraditions,heritage,and lives more politically chargedthan simple "contact"might convey.In addition,we conductour archaeology in a disciplinethat tracesits heritagein colonialism, not in contact,but we have yet to fully come to grips with that legacy (Gosden 1999; Thomas 2000). As a result,we face a largeproblemin the ways that we presentour studies of indigenousencounters European solely as "contact" episodes to archaeology's variousaudiencesandcollaboradescendant tors,whether communities, indigenous the generalpublic,or students. At issuearetheexplicitandimplicitfeatures that differentiate contactfrom colonialism.Therefore, I beginby clarifying my use of thesetermsandtheir applicability to different regional traditions in The articlefocuses on NativeAmerarchaeology. ican interactionswith Europeansand European descendants becausearchaeologists who research NativeAmericans in thetimesfollowingEuropean settlement tendto referto theirperiodandtopic of interest as contact ratherthan colonial. Perhaps lack of North telling is the likely noncoincidental in a recentvolume entiAmericanrepresentation tled TheArchaeologyof Colonialism(Lyons and 2002), in whichthe idea of "culture Papadopoulus contact" seemsnowhereto be found.Althoughthis articlecenters on NorthAmerica,archaeological work pertainingto Aboriginal Australia should offerpertinent parallelcases, even thougharchaeologists workingthereseem moreattuned already

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to the colonial natureof these historicalcontacts (Harrison2002; Harrisonand Williamson2004; I do not expect 2004a, 2004b). Moreover, Murray that my points about culturecontact necessarily will havethe sameresonancewithLatinAmerican for they do not regularlyconfuse archaeologists, colonialism by calling it contact. The problem seems to lie in the study of regions north of Mesoamerica's urbancities andhinterlands. Terminology orculture term contact,standsas a general Contact, usedby archaeologists to referto groupsof people coming into or stayingin contactfor days, years, decades,centuries,or even millennia.In its broadest usage, this contactcan rangefromamicableto hostile,extensiveto minor,long termto shortduration,or ancientto recent,andit mayincludea variety of elements such as exchange, integration, anddiaspora. Its colonialism,imperialism, slavery, value lies in a framepotential offering comparative work for the study of intercultural interactions, andexchanges,a pointillustrated encounters, by a volumethatintegrates varioustime periods,study areas,and points of view (Cusick 1998c). Cusick has definedculturecontactas "apredisposition for to interact with 'outsiders' a groups necessity created human settlement through diversity, pattern, - and to want to control and desire for exchange thatinteraction" andUrban (1998b:4).Schortman defineculturecontactin the same volume as "any caseof protracted, directinterchanges amongmembersof socialunitswho do notsharethe sameidentity"( 1998:102). Gosdenrecentlyoffereda similar definitionbut with attentionto colonialism:"As thereis no suchthingas anisolatedculture,all culturalformsarein contactwith others.Culture contact is a basic human fact. What differentiates colonialismfromotheraspectsof contactareissues of power"(2004:5). In whatfollows, my critiqueof culturecontact in NorthAmericadoes not attempt to archaeology undermine the value of culturecontactstudieson a broader level but,rather, to illustrate the ineffectivenessof this termfor studiesof colonialism.As a result of culturecontactbeing a "basichuman fact,"the terminologyrapidlybecomes vacuous anduninformative, in thecase of North particularly Americacolonialism.Similarly, I thinkthatwe are

to grapplewith the specificcontact fully prepared cases of colonialismand need not wait while we to the "developtheory and methods appropriate in all time contact of culture (Schortperiods" study needsconmanandUrban1998:104).Colonialism siderationin its historicity(Dirks 1992; Thomas 1994). Similarly,we mustbe waryof the negative consequencesof terminologicalslippage for our If colonialintrusions intotheAmericas, audiences. involveonly "predispositions Africa,andAustralia the definifor groupsto interactwith 'outsiders,'" colonialismandsimplifiesindigetion neutralizes nous experiencesof it, likely accountingfor why the term is no longer in vogue in cultural anthropology. Colonialismis generallydefinedas the process stateexertscontrolover which a city- or nationby - and territories outtermed indigenous people This exertion boundaries.1 side of its geographical is frequently butnot alwaysaccomof sovereignty which involves the colonization, plished through stateconof coloniesthatadminister establishment trol, manage interactions,and extractlabor,raw materials,and surplus (Alexander 1998). Colonizationusuallytakesplacein thecontextof imperialism, whether,for example, expansionby the in Aztec and Inca in ancienttimes or Europeans the last 500 years.However,as developedfurther below, care must be taken not to conflate coloof colonialism, nization,a vehicleormanifestation with colonialism, a process. Colonialism in the modern world, although sharing elements with othercolonial times, operatedon "fixedordersof racialand culturaldifference"(Gosden2004:22) of geographic and resultedfrom the trajectories and mercantilism, capitalism (Orser expansion, 1996). This colonialismis the focus of my article. Othershave made it clear that this kind of colonialismmay not applyto the ancientworld,where one can sometimesarguefor colonies (e.g., trade diasporas)without colonialism in Mesopotamia (Stein 2002) or even colonialism without colonizationin the Mediterranean (Dominguez2002). theprocessof removingcolonies By definition, or transferring political control from colonizing to entity independentsettlementsor burgeoning nations is decolonization,a condition that truly happened in the "modern" world only in the This phenomenon mid-twentiethcentury. lays the foundationfor postcolonialstudiesin humanities

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andsocial sciences.Althougha useful formaldefinition,treatingcolonialism(and its end) in only this structural mannerdeflects attentionfrom the ways that indigenouspeople may have struggled withtherealitiesof colonialandsettlersocietiesin theirterritories. Ontheonehand,evidenceabounds thatshiftsfromcolonialto postcolonial indicating periodscanbringaboutchangesnotonly in administrative and governmental control but also in indigenous experiences, opportunities,and conin a system of domination. straints LatinAmerica is a case in pointwherethe loss of Spanishcontrol of Mexico in the early 1820s resultedin the end of New Spain and its colonies and the beginningof the Republican period, with new contexts for indigenous people to act, react, and counteract (LangerandJackson1988). On the otherhand,the end of a settlersociety's statusas a colony does not necessarilymean that thisadministrative labelchangehas saliencefor all as illustrated involved, againby theendof theSpanish Empirein theAmericas.Althoughthe shiftsin politicalcontrolin 1821 markeda new periodin dominions of theSpanish theprevious fronCrown, tier locations such as Californiadid not witness meaningfulshifts for the CaliforniaIndianswho missions and toiled on ranworkedin Franciscan chos andin pueblos.Thatis, indigenousresidents continuedfor anotherdecade in the mission and another two anda half decadesin the ranchosand pueblos before California was annexed by the wasno longerpart UnitedStatesin 1848. California of a Spanishcolony and might arguablynot have been a colony of Mexico but, rather,a territorial of thesolidifyingnation-state. Yettheend extension in formalhistorical of "colony"or "colonization" termsdidnot meanthe end of colonialismfor California Native people. The 1830s and 1840s remained"colonialCalifornia" for Native people engulfedin its problemsand prospects(Silliman 2004a), making my earlier anecdote pertinent colonial"proper. despitenot being "Spanish The same can be said for indigenouscontexts in theUnitedStatesfromits inception.Gosdenhas arguedthatratherthanenteringa postcolonialor decolonizedrealm following independencefrom the British Empire, "the egalitarian American republicforcedIndiansto do whatthe Frenchand Britishempirescould not:to becometruecolonial (2004:30).Formanyindigenouspeople, subjects"

the internalcolonialismthatoccurswhen a settler populationcontinuesto try to exert control over andsexualrelasocial,political, economic,cultural, tionsdidnotcease intothetwentieth Some century. wouldarguethatit continuestodayin a numberof forms (Churchill1998): "Suchcontinuitiesmake it difficultto believe thatwe arepost-colonialanything other than a formal sense, with the divide betweenthe colonialandthe post-colonialmaking (Goslong-termhistoricalanalysismoredifficult" den 2004:156). The "colonialperiod"is a definablemomentin historyfor certainregions,butthis of historybased on the structure of periodization the settlernationcannotbe allowedto box in colonialismas a process. I use thetermcolonialismin thisartiTherefore, cle to referto thedualprocess( 1) of attempted dominationby a colonial/settlerpopulationbased on perceptions and actions of inequality, racism, oppression,laborcontrol,economic marginalization,anddispossessionand(2) of resistance, acquiescence, and living throughthese by indigenous theseprocessesto become peoplewho neverpermit final and complete and who frequentlyretainor remakeidentitiesandtraditions in the face of often brutal conditions. Thelatter fitscomfortably within the genre of postcolonialtheorythathas proliferated in the last few decadesfollowing broadscale decolonization but does so in a materially grounded,ratherthan textually privileged, way (Gosden2004:18-23). This gives archaeologyits theoreticaland empiricalpower. The latter also indicatesthat I do not mean for a focus on colonialismto entaila focus on top-downchange,overarching European powers, or deterministic outcomes.Whatmatters is thatwe do notcall these relationshipsprimarily"culturecontact"for the threereasonsI developbelow. Emphasizing Encounter over Entanglement The firstproblemwith labelingcolonialismas culturecontactconcernsthe way a long-termprocess of colonialentanglement is represented as a potencollision of distinctcultures. tially short-duration Eventhougharchaeologists havedocumented longtermculturecontact,this terminologyshouldnot applyto colonialcases in NorthAmerica.Thelabel "contact" to nonarchaeologist implies,particularly audiences, a short-duration event, novelty of

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historiesof contactinggroups, encounter, separate and the importance of exchange relationships. one mightquestion whether suchencounAlthough tersare"culture" contactat all, the situations under this rubricare a differentbreedthan the colonial interactions thatcharacterized full-scaleEuropean settlement of indigenous areas. These types of encountersdid occur, even in areas later characterizedby colonialism,as exemplified by theEurothe waters of eastern North pean explorerssailing America,westernNorthAmerica,and the Pacific Islands in various centuries. They included moments of first (sometimes additional)contact - material,genetic, epidemiologiand exchange - thathad profoundconsequencesfor cal, sexual later interactionsand the demographicsustainabilityof indigenousgroups. As Nicholas Thomas (1991:83-84) demonstratesfor Melanesia,Europeans held no position first contact to enforce demands or labor(a during situation thatGosden[2004]wouldstillterm"middle ground"colonialism). Europeansmay have approachedtheir encountersand the indigenous peoplewith whomtheymadecontactfroma colonialmind-set,buttheinteractions oftenconstituted a differentorderthan the settlement,missionization, and exploitation that frequently followed. Sahlins's between (1981, 1985)workon encounters Pacific Islandersand British sailors, particularly Captain Cook, offers examples of this type of encounter. Sahlinschartsthe cultural historiesand context from which Hawaiiansand other Native islanders understood theBritishwho explored their islands and their interactionswith them, tracing out the different experiences and strategies employed by commoners and elite, men and women. Initial explorationsby Europeansalong California's coast offer anotherexample,one that has been investigatedarchaeologically (Lightfoot and Simmons 1998). Yet most archaeological studiesthatfall under the rubricof culturecontactdo not concernthese initialencounters, firstcontacts,orintermittent visits. Infact,archaeologists oftentrytoo hardto focus on theseearlymomentsor at leastbelievethatthey are actually focusing on such initial encounters whentheyarenot:"Thecelebration of firstcontact situationsalso distractsattentionfrom important changes that unfolded in remote areas . . . [as] indigenous peoples of the Americas were con-

to identitiesas theyadjusted new cultural structing distant and diseases, technologies, power European struggles"(Hill 1998:148).After the decades or even centuries of colonialism that characterize much of what North American archaeologists and trade outposts, study,suchas missions,ranches, of contact is the notion stations, inappromilitary priate. The same applies to Native villages and house sites associatedwith these settings:"Thus of indigenoussocieties thehistorical archaeologies do not cease with contact (or shortlythereafter). Ratherthey shouldbe understood really to begin then and to continueup to the present,as they do for the colonial societies with which they share 2004a:8). (Murray landscapesandexperiences" in North American archaeologUnfortunately, ical parlance, archaeologists generallylabelNative not colonial, when American sites as "contact," contain they Europeangoods, but the European sourcesof thosegoods andcontextsof multiethnic not conare referredto as "colonial," interaction tact, sites. Orser(1996:59-60) hints at the persistence of this dilemmawhen he astutelyobserves that a collection of symposiumpaperson French colonialarchaeology resultedin two volumes,one on colonialism when talking about the French (Walthall1991) and one on contactwhen talking betweenFrenchandNative aboutthe interactions Americans (Walthall and Emerson 1992). The stemsin part inheritance of this site nomenclature from Fontana's(1965) early and highly problemsites archaeaticclassification systemfor "historic included a which ology," five-part scheme: "frontier," ," "contact," "protohistoric "postcontact," and and"nonaboriginal."2 Although "protohistoric" seem are still in use, archaeologists "postcontact" to prefer now, in a shorthandmanner,to place rubricall studiespertogetherundera "contact" to indigenous-European encounters, taining whetherfirstcontactsin the 16th centuryor industriallaborcontextsin the early twentiethcentury (see Cobb2003b).3 However,these long-termcontextswe mistakof hisinvolvethe intertwining enly call "contact" of colonialism. tories,experiences,and structures As Hill (1998) has argued,the same perspectives momentsof first that might illuminateparticular contactdo not sufficewhenconsidering long-term processes of power relationsand violence. Similarly, "a model of acculturation, developed to

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exchange,is not an approexplain cross-cultural priatemodel for studies of conquestor colonialism" (Cusick 1998a:138). Considering a collision of cultural understandings may(ormaynot,according to Obeyesekere [1992]) reveal what Native as CaptainCook sailed the Hawaiians"thought" ritualpath of Lono, but these models of cultural cannotprovideanalyticalaccess to the interaction unequalrelationsof power,labor,economy,gender, sex, and politics that wrappedup colonizers andcolonizedalikein latertimesandotherplaces. As Byrne (2003:83) has recentlyarguedfor herin New SouthWales,Australia, itage preservation dividing these realms artificially"disentangles" andsettlerhistoriesandpromotes them indigenous He rightlynotes as segregated cultural experiences. that this is a political process of representation, even thoughperhapsmore a resultof entrenched training,funding,and protocolsof archaeological policies. These are the disciplinaryruts that we forthe mustescape,as Lightfoot( 1995) hasargued prehistory-history divide in North American archaeology. Ratherthanepisodes of contactbetweenindesimplyto makecognipendentculturesstruggling tive sense of each other, colonialism is about Intersections of identities,relations, intersections. and intimacies require a different perspective becausetheyinvolveentanglement 2004; (Harrison N. Thomas1991;WilliamsonandHarrison 2004), histories" andsharedpredicaments "shared (Murof ray 1996, 2004a, 2004b), and an "intertwining two or moreformerlydistincthistoriesinto a single historycharacterized by processesof domination, resistance, and accommodation" (Hill 1998:149). The entangling, sharing, and intertwining do not unify; however,"the existence of 'sharedhistories'and 'sharedidentities'does not mean thattherecan ever be, or should ever be, a of thosehistoriesorthoseidentities" singleaccount self-contained 2004b:215).Autonomous, (Murray that cultures do notexistin colonialism,something Wolf (1982) demonstrated over two decadesago; instead,individualswalk the fine, often painful, line between old ways and new directions,past practicesand futurehopes, dangeroustimes and outcomes. Thisdoesnotdenycultural trauncertain does notsugditionsandcognitiveunderstandings, gest that groups have no identity boundariesor anddoes notinsinuate thatcoloresistant practices,

nialism is final or determinant. What it does sugis thatcallingsuchinteractions "congest,however, tact"provideslittle clarityandobscuresthe nature of multipleintersections. Archaeologistmight arguethat "contact" only serves as a convenientlabel, one past which they but quicklymove to discusscolonialrelationships, the termholds implicationsfor disciplinarypractice andfor presentation of archaeological results. Drawingon Wolf's (1982) classic analogyfor isolatedcultures,Payntermakesa poignantobservation about conceptual terminology and its wordslike 'Contact implications: "Unfortunately, Period'commonlyused by archaeologists to talk abouttheinteraction betweenwould-becolonizing Europeansand their targetssound too much like the comforting click of billiardballson the cosmic billiardtableof worldhistory"(2000a:9).Extendthesebilliardballsdo not merge ing this metaphor, and reformas theirpathsintersect,and they only canbreakuponimpactwithotherballs.As a result, some archaeologists,other scholars,and particularlythe generalpublicstill look only for the shattered indigenous people scatteredabout on the velvet, crackedopen or forcedinto pocketsby the "white"cue ball. This is a problematicview of colonialismandindigenousaction,andits greatest implications may be in the way archaeological is perceivedby nonspecialists. reporting The common image of contact manipulates processintoevent.Onecanrecalla culturecontact episode as a bounded, historical event- people come intocontact,theychangewithrespectto one another'straditions,and a final productappears. This formsthe core of acculturation in paradigms the 1930s (Herskovits1958).Murray sumsup this dilemmawith respectto Australia: Where oncethehistorical of Aboarchaeology Australia have been conceived of riginal might as the archaeology of "contact," an encounter of briefduration afterwhichIndigenous peobecame ple archaeologically indistinguishable frompoorwhiterural orurban we populations, thattheprocessis morecomnowunderstand (and more likely to plicatedand ambiguous counter-intuitive results)[2004b:215]. yield The same issues hold for NorthAmerica:"As the inheritors of a long traditionof 'frontier' history,we arein danger yet againof conceivingNorth

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Americanintercultural contactsas brief,decisive, and one-sided confrontations ratherthan as protracted,cumulativeand reciprocalassociations" in archaeological (Wood1994:486).Whether publications,museums,or historicparks,we can present these contact events as severed and distinct from the present, as fleeting albeit significant - particumoments in world history.The public mainstream America like the comfortlarly may a in sound a historical click, ing momentary larger narrativethat frequently centers on European expansionand the rise of the modernworld, but to indigenouspeople whose historieswe purport recover and study find that click less than comforting:"Whydo we putthisdistancebetweenthis contactperiodof historyandourselves?It is politically safer and emotionallyless taxing"(Wilson 1999:5). Unlikenotionsof contact, colonialism forcesthe that these untenable recognition metaphorically balls are actually part of much largernetworks, in open to negotiation,and in fact all transformed those intersections.In many cases, so-called isolated cultures affected each other with material items, diseases, and incursionslong before fullfledged colonialism gained momentum (Wolf cultures themselves 1982).Thenotionof individual in the "modern world"may even be a colonialcreation (Dirks 1992), and the bounded ethnogeothatstillinform graphic mapsof earlyanthropology for better or area case worse, archaeologists today, in point.Colonialism,as an analyticalframework, - indiushers in a considerationof social agents colonist shared social ternew, gene, negotiating rainforgedin sustained contact. Itdoesnotpresume homogeneousculturesbumpinginto one another, especially as "colonialsettlementswere pluralistic entrepots wherepeoplesof diversebackgrounds andnationalities lives, worked,socialized,andprocreated" (Lightfoot1995:201). Colonialismis not about an event but, rather, aboutprocessesof cultural whether entanglement, or in a broader world not, voluntary economy and of labor, conversion, system religious exploitation, material value,settlement,and sometimesimperialism. We find it much harderto pinpointwhen colonialism, rather than the "Contact Period," ended. Colonialismis an unfinished,diverseproject that cannotbe ignoredin today's contemporaryworld, even if consideringonly its extensive

- "we arestill legacy.It ties the pastto the present - andgives in the contactperiod" (Wilson1999:6) remarkable salienceto contemporary strugglesfor 2004; (Gosden Lilley 2000; indigenous people Thomas 2004a; 2000). Murray Downplaying Severity and Power A second problemplaguingculturecontactstudies is the way thatnotionsof contactcan downplay of power,inequality, colonialrelations domination, and oppression.The problemhas plaguedacculturationstudies since they began drawingon the for the Study of Accultura1936 "Memorandum tion" (Redfield et al. 1936) because power was either ignoredor downplayedto the point that it assumed to residewiththe"conwasthenimplicitly Colonialism Cusick 1998a: 129-132). (see queror" relations institutional and involved personal proper on attacks of power,laborandeconomichierarchy, with racism and and often cultural beliefs, practices directeffectson indigenous peopleandtheirstrateoneit didnotstrike or abilities for survival. Yet gies sided, "fatalimpact"blows to indigenousgroups, cases contact" despitethefactthatthe classic "first interaction often gave way to vioof autonomous lence and attempted genocide (Hill 1998). To characterize colonialism,some mightargue that archaeologistsalreadyhave a way of distinkindsof contactthatemphasize guishingdifferent the natureof inequalityand power relationships, contact versus "nondirected" such as "directed" Recent see Cusick 1998a: 1962; 137-139). (Spicer for have used that distinction studies archaeological reasonable 1998; (Saunders Wagner interpretations 1998), butI wonderwhy we still botherwith such a termas directedcontactfor NativeNorthAmerica when colonialismbettercapturesthe process hisworkto broader and links our archaeological torical and anthropologicalstudies. I have met who recoil at the many culturalanthropologists that still archaeologists use the term culthought ture contact to describecolonial processes.Even in consideringwhat culturemeansto participants contact'fails theinteraction, "thenotionof 'culture to takeinto accountthat,in colonialcontexts,culturalprocesseswere themselveseffects andforms of power" (Den Ouden 2005:16). Moreover, it would be hard to imagine how Schrire's(1995) book Digging through Darkness, about South

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Africanarchaeology, history,andpersonalexperi- andI wouldargue,lost ence, mighthavediffered significant impact hadshe nottalkedaboutcolonialismand insteadfocused on directedor nondiHer thirdchapter,"Chronicles of rectedcontact.4 outlinesmuchmorethancultures Contact," bumping into each other;she (1995:49-70) describes in SouthAfricabetweenthe Dutchand encounters Khoikhoias palpablyand strikinglycolonial. The recognitionof violence andharshrealities does not at all meanthatNorthAmericanarchaeologistsnow needto thinkof somethinglike "con- farfromit, in fact.Despite as a validmodel quest" its commonusage in LatinAmerica,conquesthas tradition as a been criticizedeven in thathistorical termthatportraystoo "final"of a scenariowhen realitiesweremorecomplexand theon-the-ground negotiated(Taylor1994:154).The point is to recthe notionof ognizehow violence-andpower-free contactcan be. Take,for instance,the wordsof a Latin American historian: "The Spaniards' with the Indianswas not simplyculture encounter werefreely contactin whichbeneficialinnovations adoptedor merged with the existing cultures.It was a conquest"(Hassig 1994:147).Cultureconof accultact transforms here into a restatement andlikely Hassigis not the only one who turation, thatterminological slip. undergoes the violence,disparities, Theneedto remember and intersectionsduring colonialism should not dispelpossibilitiesof contactepisodeswherepeople met as autonomousgroups and neither had politicalor powersway overthe other.Anthropologists and historianshave used these important model cases to levy criticismsof the "fatalimpact" that portraysEuropeancontactdeliveringa onesided crushingblow to a passive and incapable Thesecontact cases,orwhat indigenous population. Gosdenbetterterms"middle groundcolonialism," resistance andagenhaverevealed how indigenous thetrajectory of laterrelationships dashelpedchart and how indigenous people made sense out of colonists and theirmaterialculturebased on preandtraditions 2000; (e.g.,Clarke existingmeanings Rogers 1990;Whelan1993). Yetwe mustconsidercarefullythe manyyears life forNativeAmericansandrecall of postcontact of indigenousexperiencespossiblein thediversity For instance, the realmof colonial entanglement. Native Americans who traded with Jesuit mis-

sionariesat small outposts near the GreatLakes would have had very differentexperiences than those in southernCaliforniawho were forced to work from dawn until dusk underthe control of Catholic Franciscanmissions. Maritimeindigenous groups along 16th-centurycoastal Maine wouldhavehadverydifferentexperiencestrading with Europeanfishing vessels than seventeenthcenturyeasternMassachusettsgroups who were proselytizedin "PrayingIndianTowns"by English colonistsandviolentlyincarcerated afterKing Philip'sWarin 1675. Even in severecases, Native Americansin Californiaand New Englandwho battledmilitarilywith invadingEuropeanforces interfacedvery differentlywith colonialism than membersof those same indigenous groups who were incorporatedinto colonial households as domestics or field hands.I doubtthat anyjustificationexists for categorizingall of these instances undera "culture contact"label. If takentoo far,one mightclaim thatmy criticism of culture contactcouldportray all indigenous people as passive victims in a colonial scheme or all indigenoushistoriesas subsumedin a broader colonialnarrative. However,sucha positionwould be academicallyfalse and politicallydisengaged. Rubertonenotes that we run the "riskof encourthatemphasize colonialencounagingexplanations ters as the single transforming, if not traumatic, eventin Nativepeoples'lives,rather thanacknowledging their ability to withstandand sometimes resist these invasionsand the incursionsthat followed" (2000:434^35). I agree strongly.Howtheprofundity of the latterdoes not ever,admitting require that we abandon a focus on colonial processesin place of an emphasison culturecontact.It simply meansthatwe have to devise more sophisticatedanalyticallenses and terminologies thatcancapture theuniqueness of indigenous experiences, lives, and traditionsin colonial or postcolonial eras. We must be vigilant to prevent a neededfocus on colonialism-as-context fromturning into an unwanted focus on colonialism-asdefiningmoment. Recognizing overarchingstructuresand relationsof powerin colonialismdoes notdenyindigenousagencies,intentions, ortraditions. resistances, In fact, quite the opposite is true, despite early traditions thatfocused on the foranthropological mationof "conquest societies"(Foster1960).Con-

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textualizing individual action within a colonial worldplaces social agentsin real-world situations anddistinctive which practicesthrough theynegotiate identitiesand communities.To ignore colonialism's sharper edge means to overlook the settings in which indigenous people frequently foundthemselveslaboring:missions,plantations, ranches,forts,mines,andfarms.Focusingonly on cases of autonomous contact,tradeandexchange, or armed conflict abbreviates the diversity of North indigenousexperiencesin post-Columbian Americaandelsewhere."Contact research period" tends to privilege these moments. A balanced approach emphasizesthe creativity, practices,and of and the resiliency indigenouspeople severityof colonial rule, labor requirements, economic andso on. Inconinequality, religiouspersecution, trastto the case in actual"contact" sites, archaeoldo not have an task of recovering ogists easy in those colonial indigenous people spacesof longtermdominationwhere individualsfound it difficult to stakea material or spatialclaim,butresults arepromising 2002, (Deagan1983, 1996;Harrison 2004; Silliman2001a, 2004a, 2005). Forinstance, the persistence Lightfootet al. (1998) demonstrate and negotiationof culturalidentitiesamong differentindigenous withinthecongroupscohabiting text of Russiancolonialism. As a way of integrating colonialismandpower whenstudying North American indigenous people, thehistoricalarchaeologies of slaveryoffera point of comparison. in Whydo historical archaeologists NorthAmerica typically not consider plantation slavery studies as culturecontact?Are these not cases of different cultural groups(i.e., Africanand into European)coming regularcontact and coneach other's cultural whilenegofronting practices their own? The few who have situated their tiating workin culturecontactstudieshaveexpressedsignificanthesitationand anxiety in doing so (Armbecause strong1998;Singleton1998),particularly theirother with colopublications grapple explicitly nialismandits various expressions (Singleton1995, 1999,2001). In the 1980s, manyplantation studiesdrewon acculturation models derived from early-twentiresearchon eth-centuryculturalanthropological Native Americans, but these attempts did not acknowledgetheirlink to NativeAmericanissues (Singleton1998:174),nordidtheyevadecriticism

(Howson 1990; Singleton 1998). Howson (1990) modthattheseacculturation-style has maintained of inequalels didnottrulyaddress thecomplexities ity, resistance, and the structural order of plantations, and Ferguson (1992) has argued instead for a model of creolization.In a related vein, Eppersonnotes thatemphasizingthe partial autonomy of oppressed slaves in creating new meaningsand practicesis worthwhileand approthe autonomyof priatebutthat"overemphasizing slave culturerunsthe risk of mystifyingrelations of power"(1990:35).I thinkthe sameoutlookcan view of NativeAmersharpenour archaeological ican experiencesin colonial times. Little parallel to plantationsexists in cases that we might call "firstcontact"situationsin the Americas,but the whenfaced divisionbreaks downquicklythereafter with colonial institutionslike missions, ranches, but still starkly andmines or with noninstitutional colonial settings. An answerto the question of why plantation as culturecontactis contextsarenot characterized offers thatthe so-calledcontactliterature currently of enslaved Africans littleclarityto theexperiences or to plantationsocial order.This marksa sharp reversalof an earliertrend,in which the anthroin theNew pology of peoplewithAfricanancestry in acculturation, orculture conWorld fell squarely The reasons tact,research 1927, (Herskovits 1958). for the reversalare detectablein the hesitationof AfricanDiasporascholars: "Plantation slaverycan be addressed contactbut withinthestudyof culture it is that relations of power when only recognized werecentral to the construction of anyinteraction" (Singleton1998:173).Theneedforthisdisclaimer shouldawakenmany "contact period"archaeoloin Native North America to thenotionthattheir gists workhas yet to grapplefully with issues of power andcolonialismandto examinethe ways in which indigenous people became implicated in often severerelationsof inequality, labor,andracism. Forall thereasonscitedabove,the terminology embedded in culture contact frequentlyimplies short-duration encounters,autonomy,and, most at this important juncture,labor-freeand culturerelations. Such characteristicsdo little to only Ameraddress thefullrangeof African andAfricanicanexperiences on plantations, butthemorepressing dilemmais thatsucha focusalsodoesrelatively little to illuminatethe experiencesof indigenous

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mispeoplewhojoinedorwereforcedintoSpanish sions in Florida, Mexicanranchosin northern Calon the Pacific Coast ifornia,Russiantrading posts of North America, English "PrayingTowns"in - Spanish and New England, or- fartherafield Mexicanhaciendasin Mexico or settlerlivestock stationsin northern Australia. This resultsin plantationarchaeologists seeing the workof historical on Native Americansas irrelevant archaeologists a (measured by relativelack of citations),despite Native thefactthatmanystudiesof colonial-period Americansactuallydo engage with topics of creolization(Cusick2000;Deagan1996, 1998;Loren 2000), identities (Lightfoot et al. 1998; Loren 2001a, 2001b, 2003; Silliman2001a;Voss 2002), labor (Silliman 2001b, 2004a), and resistance (Rubertone1989; Scarry2001; Scarryand McEwan 1995). Againusinglack of citationsas a measure,culin NorthAmericatypturecontactarchaeologists not return the favor by consultingplantation ically andslaverystudiesfor anyinsightinto the politics and practices of social inequality and colonial The lack of engagementignores administration. the astute observations by Farnsworth (1989:230-231), afterstudyingboth slave plantations andSpanishmissionsin NorthAmerica,that sharemanyof the samecharthesetwo institutions makesa simacteristics. broadly, Paynter Speaking aboutcommonthemesin historical ilarobservation research:"The most obvious hisarchaeological toricalpointof commoninterestandworkis in the contact period. This too-often-ignored period of colonialismand conquest,in NorthAmericaand elsewherearoundthe globe, saw the massivedislocationof indigenouspeople and theirpractices from crucialland resourcesby new ways of life whitesupremacy, basedon capitalist accumulation, work andpatriarchy" 202).Archaeologists' (2000b: as to tackle must be recast so on indigenous people these broader issues of colonialism in North America. to colonial thelackof attention Complementing the disconNorth in Native America, relationships nect between the archaeologyof slaveryand the archaeologyof Native-European"contact"also thatNativeAmerirelatessubtlyto the perception cans and Africans share no common heritage, despitethe one poignantyet diverseexperience did colonialism thatthetwohighlydiverse groups

share.Colonialismdoes not offerthe ultimateoriandcultural traditions, gin of difference, practices, but it provides a context that cannot be ignored when discussing culture. The minimal overlap between those who profess to study the contact period and those who study plantationslaveryin NorthAmericaalso relatesto the assumption that NativeAmerican andAfrican historical experiences in the Americaswere separate,despitethe multitudeof interethnic unionsbetweenthemthatcarry connotations in strongpolitical today,particularly New England.This overlapshould be noticeable in a culture contact realm, but contact period researchers the typicallyignoreit. Acknowledging of colonialism would complexinterplay rectifythe imbalance.Finally,contactperiod archaeologists typically do not engage with questions of race, despite the importanceof this topic in cultural studies of colonialism (e.g., Den anthropological Ouden 2004; Thomas 1994) and AfricanAmerican archaeology(Epperson1990; Franklin2001; Orser2000, 2003; Singleton 1995). Privileging Predefined Traits over Creative Cultural Products To identify the third problem in culturecontact archaeology requireslookingat definitionsof culturecontinuityandchange.One of the moredifficult positions upheld,howeverimplicitly,by the contactis thatthecollisionof peonotionof culture ple in the post- A.D. 1400 global word involved anddiscard retention, only an exchange,adoption, of cultural traits. Acculturation modelsarefounded termion this assumption. Althoughacculturation withinthediscipline, thecore nologyhasdecreased in popularinterpreideas often linger,particularly cultureintroduces to tationsof the past:a "donor" culturenew ideas,mateor forceson a "recipient" orrelations.In thisview,predefined rial,practices, or indigenous,change cultures,whetherEuropean withothercultural becauseof theirencounters systems, typically involving a directionalshift from whatthey had been priorto contacttowardsomething akin to the contacting culture. Distinct, makeupthepolesfromortoward bounded cultures which these groupsmove, despitethe multiethnic natureof colonialism. of the Arkush(2000) offersa recentillustration for of thisnotion.He (2000:194)argues persistence

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acculturation as a validframework, forNative Americans being the "receptor culture" (albeitnot pascontact,all despite sively so), and for nondirected the factthathis studyinvolveslate-nighteenthand in interactions California early-twentieth-century betweenPaiuteandEuroAmerican settlers in what is clearly colonialism. Although Herskovits thatthechange ( 1958:119) warned against assuming will alwaysbe toward whiteEuropean orAmerican cultures,NativeAmericansare typicallystill presumedto movetoward withtheadopEuropeanness tion of Westernmaterialgoods (for critiques,see Lightfoot 1995:206-207; Orser 1996:60-66; Rubertone 1989:34-36, 2001:430-432). whatif insteadof becomingmore Alternatively, however defined,with the adoptionof European, introducedmaterialitems, Native Americansor otherindigenouspeoplefashioneda way to remain Native in very changed and very conflicted cir- as we cumstances? Whatif changeandcontinuity - are thoughtof often thinkaboutin archaeology as the same process? This does not presume an essentializedidentitybut, rather,one that can be maintained or mobilized,entrenched or regained, in colonial worlds.In seventeenth-century southernNew England,Narragansett confronted people colonialism,not contact,head-onandalteredtheir burial andmaterial to strategically survive practices - but not by "acculturating" the colonial world to see the focus on 1989; Europeanness (Nassaney resistancein Rubertone1989). In northernCalimatefornia,indigenouspeopleadopted European rialitemsat the Russiancolony of Ross (Lightfoot et al. 1998) and at the Mexican-era Rancho Petaluma (Silliman 2001a) but in particularly Native ways that give little indicationof "acculIn the GreatLakesregion,the Chippewa turation." andothertribalnationsused the furtradeandnatural resources market,coupled with indigenous economicrelationsof reciprocity, to dodge incorinto a for poration capitalisteconomy close to two centuries (Cleland1992, 1993).Otherstudieshave revealed that indigenous people changed their materialrepertoire with the additionof European but that held to traditional goods they waysof using the landscapeand viewing place, such as in New England (Rubertone 1989, 2000). These cases speak of individualsliving throughnew colonial worlds,sometimesresistingandothertimes making do, butneveracculturating.

We can perhapsthinkof culturesin contactas a way to sortout these issues, butI remainunconvinced thatsuch a notionoffersthe most comprehensive framework.For one, the issues revolve aroundmore thana simplisticnotionof "culture" andactive becausetheysummonidentity, ethnicity, the influence of in the with 1990s agency. Only archaeoloand feminist contextual, interpretive, gies did agent-centered approaches secure a contact(Deagan1996, footholdin studiesof culture 1998;Lightfoot1995;Lightfootetal. 1998).These relied not on atomistic,self-interinterpretations ested individualsperformingon a colonial stage but, rather,on culturallyproducedand culturally producing,historically contingent social agents These influential dealingwith complex situations. contributions servedto shiftemphasisfromacculwhichimpliedmoreone-waymovements turation, whichinvolved of cultural to transculturation, traits, interindividual mixtures of cultural and complex direcof multiple actionsthatofferedthepossibility tions of influence (Deagan 1998). They also inspiredefforts to look at the complex material ways that indigenouspeople and settlersforged ahead in colonial worlds (Harrison2002, 2004; Lightfootet al. 1998; Loren2001a, 2001b; Mur2001; Scarry2001; ray 2004a, 2004c; Rubertone and Maxham Silliman 2001a, 2001b; 2002; Scarry Wesson2002;see vanDommelen2002 fora related example). Theforgingaheadcreatespartof whatmightbe termed "colonialism'sculture"and constitutesa postcolonial theoryof colonialism(Thomas1994). is notsimplyimposedfrom "Colonialism's culture" a European core or pre-givenas a uniformentity; and it is made,remade,andcontestedin "projects" in the interactionbetween individuals(Thomas 1994; see also Gosden2004; Murray 2004a). The takesplacebothin the creationof colonialcultures it is not a pushfrom colony andin the motherland; notonly coreto periphery. characterizes Variability to colonial encounters (N. indigenousresponses Thomas1991; see Waselkov1993 for an archaeological example)but also the assumeduniformity of indigenous and colonizing groups (Lightfoot 1995; Lightfoot and Martinez 1995; Schortman and Urban1998:108-109; Simmons 1988; Stoler the front1989;Thomas1994).Colonialfrontiers, conline of muchsustained European-indigenous manifested the and tact, fluidity complexity of

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colonists sometimes not confident of their own identitiesandrole in a broader colonizingscheme (Dirks 1992:7; Stoler 1989:137; Thomas 1994:143-169), of colonists often far away from in Eurothe core of presumedculturaluniformity and nations 1995:200; (Lightfoot Lightfoot pean face Martinez1995),andof individuals interacting the detailsof life andidento face andnegotiating on the cultural frontiers of colonialism. tity Colonial settingstend to confuse our assumptions aboutthe easily recognizablesides in culture contact,not only in revealingmorediversityin the seemingly homogenizedtwo sides of "colonial" themovebutalsoin highlighting and"indigenous" ments of individualsin and out of those assumed sides as they acquiesceto or contestvariouscolonial projects.This vision of colonialismadmitsa contextually fluid and ambiguous, yet often defended, boundary between the presumed dichotomiesof colonizer and colonized (Murray we haveyet to takeFerguson's 2004a:10).Similarly Indianswere to heart:"Although astutestatement nativeto the New World,we may safely say that norAfricans NativeAmericans, neither Europeans, to New Worldplanwere 'ancestrally indigenous' tationsettlements" (1992:xli) or, I would add, to othervenues such as missions and settlertowns. discoveriesof ceramics As a result,archaeological fromEuropeor stonetools fromlocal sourcesat a colonialsite do not easily speakabouttheiruses or Theseobjectsdo not in identities. theirmobilization demarcate "cultures." simply Rather than arguing that colonialism brings for individuals,particularly aboutan opportunity remaketheir tradito ones, suddenly indigenous tions and to craft a new kind of instrumentalist identity,these perspectivesindicatethatcolonialcreative as simultaneously ism mustbe understood and destructive.Focusing on colonialism easily earth andscorched summons policiesof destruction (andoftenshould!),buttheseimagesmustbe temperedwith the ways that indigenouspeople (and landcolonists) devised a new world of "shared" a histories. Such and perscapes, experiences, is in no way apologetic: spective Paradoxically perhaps,I see colonialismas andexperisource of creativity oftenbeinga not ment,and while certainly being without cause the dissolupain, colonialencounters

tionof valueson all sides,creating new ways of doingthingsin a material andsocialsense. A stress on creativitytakes us away from notionssuch as fatalimpact,domination and resistance orcoreandperiphery, emphasizing thatcolonialcultures werecreated by all who in them, so that all had agency participated andsocialeffect,withcolonizer andcolonized alike being radicallychangedby the experience [Gosden2004:25]. In no way shouldthis perspective be construed as buildingup a notionof colonialismas a "good norshouldit takepostcolonialtheoryto the thing," extreme of calling all colonial identitieshybrids lackinganyties to theprecolonial pastorto authenas defined courts that decide on Native by ticity Americanheritageandlineage.Instead,it calls for redirects,deploys, and exploringwho maneuvers, subvertscolonialismand how they do so. Thatis, colonialismbecomesa context,albeitoutof necessity, in which indigenous people find ways to survive. As anexample,laboris a nodeof colonialinteraction laced with power, but ratherthan seeing labor as only an economic or political force imposedon indigenouspeopleby colonialsettlers, it can be viewed simultaneouslyas a vehicle for social action on the partof those performingthe labor(Silliman2001b).Doing so hasbegunto clarify the natureof colonial experiencesfor Native Americansin California'sSpanish missions, for focusedon muchmorethan"spirtheseinstitutions in theirbodilydisciplineandecoitualconversion" usedlabor nomicactivities.Missionaries regularly tool (e.g., "idlehandsarethedevil's as a conversion the coloandas a meansof sustaining workshop") nial community,but a labor-as-practice approach has given me ways to envisionmaterialculturein the contextof social and physicallaborrelations. In this view, it is possible to see how indigenous to laborandmadeuse of its matepeopleresponded riality for their own ends and projects(Silliman 2001b). Similarly,a colonial frameworkhas revealed in NativeAmerculture of material thecomplexities ican living areas and their relationshipsto labor ranchosfollowingmissionsecdutiesatCalifornia ularization (Silliman2004a).Theseranchos,especially the large one forming the focus of my

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research,requiredhundredsof Native people to workon farming, tasks andmanufacturing herding, of outindebtedness, through policies peonage-like and alliance with rightcapture, political building neighboringtriballeaders.Investigating partof a Native worker living site on Rancho Petaluma (1834-1 850s) producednumerousartifactspertaining to residentiallife in the context of labor duties.Materials tools, rangedfromchipped-stone to glass bottlefragments, to scissorsandthimbles. labormighthaveled me to talkonly about Ignoring NativeAmericanculturalpatternsas thoughthey were isolated from the colonial labor regime in which people workedfor manyhoursa day.Cen- withits thancontact teringon colonialism,rather on labor and me de-emphasis power gave thepurchase thatI neededto trackthe effects of colonial labor in Native households and gender relations throughstudiesof dietarydebris,discardedtools, and objectsof daily life (Silliman2004a). Another central withthecultural traits difficulty notion lies in our conceptionsof materialculture in therealmof colonialism.Despitegreatadvances in interpretivearchaeologyand materialculture stillprefer to see matestudies,somearchaeologists rialcultureas a reflectionof culturerather thanan active participant in constitutingit. This theoretical issue lies at the heartof ourmisunderstandings of colonialism. The perspective comes across contactstudieswhere"European" clearlyin culture artifacts reflect"Europeanness" rather thanconstitutethe mediumfor expressingor contestingsuch an identity. As a result, the material culture of indigenous lives duringthese times of upheaval andoppression becomes scattered andambiguous virtue of In North American by terminology. bottles and metal tools are frearchaeology, glass termed "historical artifacts" quently regardlessof who used them (i.e., Europeans or NativeAmeristonetools or shell cans),butindigenous-produced ornamentsare rarely,if ever, called that, even if foundwell intodefined"historic" Theclarperiods. of material clouds when ity indigenous practices labelspredefine these "historic" and"Native" artifacts as incompatible in originandpurposeandas irreconcilable when materializing colonial period identities. In truth,however,these objectswere the complex materialpackagethatconstituted indigenous resistance to and residence in colonial worlds.

idenbuiltandmaintained ManyNativeAmericans culof material tities throughnovel combinations culture ture.As such,I advocatestudyingmaterial but as items or "European" not as either"Native" takenup by individualsto forge theirway in new colonial worlds (see also Loren 2001a:67; N. Thomas 1991). The definingelementfor material culturerestsat least as muchin its use andnegotiatedmeaningas in its origins(Silliman2005; van Dommelen 2002:123-124). We must get away fromessentialistnotionsof whatindigenousmatefocuson howindirialculture lookslikeandinstead or constructed andcontextually vidualsmaterially of identities those laborers, traders, expressed spouses, warriors,ritualists, seamstresses, field - in colonialsettingswith hands,men,andwomen the resourcesat hand.In these ways, we can still hold onto the promiseof previousculturecontact and complexity studiesthatrevealthe singularity andchangebutcan of Nativepersistence, survival, now contextualizethem withinthe last 500 years of colonialism. Conclusion North American archaeologists face several in the studyof indigenouspeople in predicaments Howdo we analyzetheirexpethe"contact period." riences in ways that simultaneously admit the harshnessof colonial intrusionand capturethe meanings of lived lives? How do we divest our studies of autonomous, bounded cultures and replace them with individualagents negotiating setin multiethnic cultural anddiscourses practices archaeolHow do we better ties with tings? forge ogists working on the African Diaspora and enslavement? How do we come to grips with the of colonialism thathelpedto defineourdislegacy In part, of North American cipline anthropology? the answerlies in revisitingour disciplinaryterof ourworkfor the minologyandthe implications descendantswho bear the legacy of colonialism. As highlightedabove,both of these turnssuggest that archaeologistsneed to be very carefulwhen contact"as a conceptualdevice in using "culture situationsthatareclearlycolonial. contactsoundsas thoughentirecultures Culture come into contactvia brief encounters; as though the collision happenedbetween autonomousculturesthatremainedbounded;and as thoughcolo-

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nial relationsof power,labor,economy,andidenlittleweight.In NorthAmerica,culture titycarried contactarchaeologytypicallyrefersto studies of the Native side of European-indigenous encounters. On the other hand, colonialism emphasizes withpower,domination, individuals and struggling economic transformation; underscoreslong-term andnegotiation; episodesof violence, oppression, admits individuals forging their way into new worldsandidentities;andrecognizesno bounded cultureswhile also recognizingthe possibilitiesof ethnogenesisand culturalsurvivaland revitalization. Many North Americanarchaeologistswho focus specificallyon colonialismemphasizeonly the European aspects:colonies, colonial policies, andcolonialgovernment. thisis very Interestingly, muchunlikeour colleagues who work in Mexico and the rest of LatinAmericanand tend to keep ForNorthAmerica, colonialismin the foreground. what we need is a sophisticatedarchaeologyof colonialismthatcenterson indigenous peoplesand theirrelationswith, andin spiteof, colonizersand settlers. a notion I do not suggestthatwe mustabandon of "contact," andI do not seek to excludefromthis genre those archaeologistswho do not work on clearlycolonialsettingsbutwantto focus theirperaround a notionof culture contact. Wecerspectives tainly have much to discuss. Similarly,I do not thinkthatarchaeologists shouldagonizefor hours over whetheror not they have a culturecontactor colonialcase. Instead,we shouldtakequalitytime to understand the colonial andpostcolonialliteratureandto traceout the implicationsof terminolandfor descendant communities. ogy for research The need for reconsidering terminologyis particularly salient for the archaeologicalstudies that move beyond"firstcontact"situationsto examine the colonial worlds that indigenouspeople navito this Referring gatedfordecades,if notcenturies. researchas the "historical archaeologyof indigemarks nouspeople"(see Rubertone 2000) perhaps a step in the rightdirection.We may, in fact, find thatneithercolonialismnorcontact,as terms,best in capturesthe completeprocessof entanglement NorthAmerica.Regardless, all of post-Columbian the point remainsthat we need to returnthe historicalrealitiesof colonialismand contactto the places and times where they belong. Conflating to ourabilthemwill continueto provedetrimental

itiesto recover realistic of theNativeAmerpictures ican past and to conversewith those who find our workinteresting orpertinent to their archaeological lives.
Shortervariantsof this article were preAcknowledgments. sented at the Fifth WorldArchaeological Congress in June 2003, the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in March 2004, and the "Intersectionsand Exchanges: Theory and Practice in Culture Contact Research"mini-conference at StanfordUniversity in April 2004. I thank the symposia organizersat all three for their invitationsto participate.I appreciatethe helpful comments on content, direction, and sources from the journal manuscript reviewers: Rani Alexander, Tim Murray, and Bob Paynter.I also thank those individuals who offered useful comments or encouragementon the article in its earlierpresented forms: Tony Chapa, Charles Cleland, Jon Daehke, Sandy Hollimon, Kathleen Hull, Roberta Jewett, Kurt Jordan, Rosemary Joyce, Kent Lightfoot, Diana Loren, AndrewMartindale,Nette Martinez,Alistair Paterson,Amy I am Ramsay, Pat Rubertone,and Barb Voss. Furthermore, gratefulto my department colleagues, Amy Den Ouden and Judy Zeitlin, for our ongoing discussions about culturecontact and colonialism. As expected, I hold none of these individuals responsible for what I have done with this article. JavierUrcid helped in preparingthe final Spanishabstract.

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Notes
1. A recentredefinitionof colonialismofferedby Gosden that althoughcolonialismin the modattemptsto understand ern world is differentthan anythingprecedingit, the process shareswith earlierversions in Rome or Urukthe centralrole of materialculture:"Colonialismis not manythings, butjust one. Colonialismis a process by which things shape people, rather than the reverse" (2004:153). I suspect that this approachwill prove useful for comparativestudies of colonialism, but I do not opt for this broaddefinitionin this article. Much of what I discuss as NorthAmericancolonialism concerns what Gosden calls terra nullius and "middle ground"colonialisms. Terranullius has as its characteristics the "mass death of indigenous inhabitants;technologies of transport, communication, production and militarism of unusual sophistication;the drive supplied by the capitalist world system to seek new raw materialsand markets,and which provided a supra-nationalset of values; ideologies such as terranulliuswhich providedthe ideological andlegal basis for takingover land,plus hardening categoriesof racism creatinga hierarchyof humanbeings and allotting different forms of labour and rewardsuitable to each, the Christian churchand ideology which offered other sets of global organization and the necessity to save the pagans" (Gosden 2004:27). Middle groundcolonialismwas "created througha mutually beneficialexplorationof differencesin the form of sociability on all sides and the values so produced.While not beneficialto all the individualsinvolved, none of the participating groups was disadvantaged, although the newly extended field of social action added a new dimension to social action which was impossible for anyone to control" (Gosden 2004:31). Gosden offers the North American fur tradeas an example,where "it was not always the power and values of the colonizers that came to dominate.Rather,it is very common for new culturalmixes to arise out of colonial middle grounds"(2004:113). 2. Fontana'sdistinctionsare based on the kinds of artifacts presentratherthanon any aspects of social or historical processes.Archaeologistshave adheredto somethingakin to Fontana'smodel, but they tend to have retainedonly the catto refer to sites before full-scale egories of "protohistoric," Europeancolonizationbut with some contact and documentation, and "contact"(a.k.a. "historic"),to refer to times of sustained Europeaninteractionwith Native Americans and I find the desigsubsequentextensivewrittendocumentation.

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nationshistoric andprotohistoricdeeply problematic for reasons thatparallelmy concernswith contact.As far as nonarchaeologists are concerned (e.g., cultural anthropologists, students,the public,NativeAmericans),these termscontinue to granthistory only to Europeansby virtue of literacy and theirperceiveddominance.The privilegingof Europeanliterfor classificationpurposes acy ends up turninga periodization into a substitute for process, particularlywhen the words carrypolitical weight outside of specialistarchaeologicalcircles. The correspondingsibling term,prehistory,holds even more problems,as it continuesin students'and public members' eyes to lump Native Americans with dinosaurs and mammoths.Even though professional archaeologistsmean this term to refer to times without documents,I feel that we should probably discard it completely (see Nassaney and Johnson2000:7). 3. Cobb's edited book serves as an example of how colonialism can be interpreted in poignantcases that span multiple regions and periods but simultaneously how the classificationof studies under a "contact"rubric draws the theme into confusing territory. For instance, are overarching late-nighteenth- and early-twentieth-century commercial

whaling stationswith Inupiatlaborersin the Arctic properly partof a "contactera"?Cassell's (2003) chapterwould suggest not, as he neveruses the terminology;instead,he speaks of industriallabor within the realm of colonialism and capitalism. My own chapterreveals my growing personaldifficulties with terminologyas I alternatebetween contact and colonial in my discussions of nighteenth-century California (Silliman 2003). I mean this illustrationnot to criticize the content or vision of Cobb's volume in pulling togethersolid lithic studies that illuminate European-indigenousinteracto tions and technologicalpersistenceand change but, rather, underscorehow a timely topic can get caught in a web of problematicterminology. 4. Some have even opted to refer grippinglyto the study of these colonial encounters in southern Africa as the "archaeologyof impact"(Hall 1993; Perry 1999) and have illustrated,like Schrire, though with differentperspectives, the natureof colonialism in the modernworld (Hall 1999).

Received July 2, 2004; Revised October8, 2004; Accepted October20, 2004.

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