North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence
294 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Feb 2013
Release Date:15 Sep 2007
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North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence

The University of Arizona Press

Despite evidence of warfare and violent conflict in pre-Columbian North America, scholars argue that the scale and scope of Native American violence is exagerated. They contend that scholarly misrepresentation has denigrated indigenous peoples when in fact they lived together in peace and harmony. In rebutting that contention, this groundbreaking book presents clear evidence--from multiple academic disciplines--that indigenous populations engaged in warfare and ritual violence long before European contact. In ten well-documented and thoroughly researched chapters, fourteen leading scholars dispassionately describe sources and consequences of Amerindian warfare and violence, including ritual violence. Originally presented at an American Anthropological Association symposium, their findings construct a convincing case that bloodshed and killing have been woven into the fabric of indigenous life in North America for many centuries.

The editors argue that a failure to acknowledge the roles of warfare and violence in the lives of indigenous North Americans is itself a vestige of colonial repression--depriving native warriors of their history of armed resistance. These essays document specific acts of Native American violence across the North American continent. Including contributions from anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, and ethnographers, they argue not only that violence existed but also that it was an important and frequently celebrated component of Amerindian life.




Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza

1. Traditional Native Warfare in Western Alaska

Ernest S. Burch Jr.

2. Barbarism and Ardour of War from the Tenderest Years": Cree-Inuit Warfare in the Hudson Bay Region

Charles A. Bishop and Victor P. Lytwyn

3. Aboriginal Warfare on the Northwest Coast: Did the Potlatch Replace Warfare?

Joan A. Lovisek

4. Ethnohistoric Descriptions of Chumash Warfare

John R. Johnson

5. Documenting Conflict in the Prehistoric Pueblo Southwest

Polly Schaafsma

6. Cahokia and the Evidence for Late Pre-Columbian War in the North American Midcontinent

Thomas E. Emerson

7. Iroquois-Huron Warfare

Dean R. Snow

8. Desecrating the Sacred Ancestor Temples: Chiefly Conflict and Violence in the American Southeast

David H. Dye and Adam King

9. Warfare, Population, and Food Production in Prehistoric Eastern North America

George R. Milner

10. The Osteological Evidence for Indigenous Warfare in North America

Patricia M. Lambert

11. Ethical Considerations and Conclusions Regarding Indigenous Warfare and Violence in North America

Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza


About the Contributors


Richard J. Chacon is an assistant professor of anthropology at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork among the indigenous peoples of Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador. Rubén G. Mendoza is a professor of social and behavioral sciences at California State University, Monterey Bay, where he founded and directs the Institute for Archaeological Science, Technology, and Visualization. A widely published author, he is also a past president of the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists.
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