Deep Time and Indigenous Knowledges in North America
Constructions of America’s ancient past—or the invention of American “prehistory”—occur in national and international political frameworks, which are characterized by struggles over racial and ethnic identities, access to resources and environmental stewardship, the commodification of culture for touristic purposes, and the exploitation of Indigenous knowledges and histories by industries ranging from education to film and fashion. The past’s ongoing appeal reveals the relevance of these narratives to current-day concerns about individual and collective identities and pursuits of sovereignty and self-determination, as well as to questions of the origin—and destiny—of humanity. Decolonizing “Prehistory” critically examines and challenges the paradoxical role that modern scholarship plays in adding legitimacy to, but also delegitimizing, contemporary colonialist practices.
Contributors: Rick Budhwa, Keith Thor Carlson, Kirsten Matoy Carlson, Jessica Christie, Philip J. Deloria, Melissa Gniadek, Annette Kolodny, Gesa Mackenthun, Christen Mucher, Naxaxalhts’i (aka Sonny McHalsie), Jeff Oliver, Mathieu Picas, Daniel Lord Smail, Coll Thrush
“Decolonizing “Prehistory” carries readers to the rugged landscapes of the Pacific Northwest to hear how they are known by communities with millennial depth as residents. The book adds breadth with chapters on the Penobscot River People, Maya communities living at tourist destinations Coba and Tulum, and Mammoth Cave. Philip Deloria concludes the book with a reading of his father’s no-holds-barred assertion of flaws in Western science, a position that time has brought closer to anthropologists’ own critiques seen in this volume.”—Alice Beck Kehoe, author of Traveling Prehistoric Seas: Critical Thinking on Ancient Transoceanic Voyages