Arikara Tradition

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In his essay, “Ancient History in the New World: Integrating Oral Traditions and the Archaeological Record in Deep Time,” author Roger C. Echo-Hawk argues for the integrity of indigenous oral traditions found throughout the continent. He covers primarily the Caddoan language family groups such as the Arikara and Wichita peoples. By providing multiple examples of story truths and evidence, Echo-Hawk makes a convincing argument for the importance of oral traditions as valid historical sources. This is achieved by explaining NAGPRA policies, highlighting the origin stories parallelling migration patterns, touching on deep historical memories, and tracing lineages through various accounts. The author believes that oral traditions are an essential …show more content…
The stories often are backed up by physical evidence that proves a particular group moved through a certain location or two groups share the same ancestors, etc. One of the initial groups of people the author talks about are the Hogback people of Colorado. They are a Plains people. Arikara oral tradition along with archaeological evidence implies that the Hogback are associated with the Mountain Tradition. This theory is corroborated by the similarity of Apishapa phase ceramics and architecture to that of the Hogback. The Apishapa phase unites Arikara oral traditions with the Blue Mountain/Rocky Mountain theory. Most researchers believe the Apishapa to have its origins with the Plains people. Another cultural group Echo-Hawk talks about are the Southwestern people. Pawnee oral history speaks of ancestors who lived in the southwest, past the Rio Grande. Bert Peters, a Pawnee man, says that these ancestors lived in mud and stone buildings. This can be matched to Antelope Creek, Apishapa, and perhaps to Great Bend architecture. Echo-Hawk provides proof of the various ancestral groups spoken of in oral traditions through objective archaeological …show more content…
This essay gives numerous examples as proof of the importance that oral traditions hold in knowing the past of North America and its inhabitants. Oral traditions tell not only the history of their people, but also of past landscapes, climates, and even extinct megafauna in some cases. They bridge the physical evidence with cultures that are still thriving and active. Roger C. Echo-Hawk provides an objective argument rooted in facts without vilifying mainstream archaeological techniques. His evidence and proposal for reform proves that oral traditions can, in fact, be incorporated into modern archeology to create a more comprehensive understanding of Indigenous

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