In North America, ethnographic research with contemporary peoples is largely separated from archaeological research on pre-European contact Native Americans. In fact most research on the late pre-European contact Mississippian period (ca. AD 1200-1500) depends heavily on a model that favors a Western science framework for the interpretation of native people’s intent, relationships, and experience. Our project unifies the scientific and humanistic approaches that exist within different Anthropology sub-disciplines (in this case archaeology, cultural, and linguistics) and bring about a new understanding of enduring human and animal relationships that integrates the perspectives of science and of native peoples themselves. Integrating information collected from Cherokee people living today and in the recent past with the data collected on material objects left behind by Cherokee ancestors in the late pre-Contact period, we create a third lens through which to view the enduring relationships between humans and animals. This third perspective, ethnozooarchaeology, is critical in that it includes the voices and practices of native peoples about their own experiences and beliefs.

 

(photo credit: http://www.lifeinthenorthwoods.com/Nature/Albino-White-tailed-Deer/i-nPnDxfL/A)