“The Past is Prologue:” Reflections of a Boasian Ethnologist on Issues of Great Basin Ethnobiology

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 5 May, 2011 - 17:45 to 18:00
FOWLER, Catherine S. - University of Nevada, Reno

Having been trained by a first generation Boasian, I have always favored a holistic approach to field work. The indigenous peoples of the Great Basin of western North America have been hunter-gatherers for roughly 14 millennia, developing relationships with the region’s environments and resources throughout that time. In order to try to understand something about these processes, I have tried in my work to include data and approaches from ethnography, linguistics and archaeology (I’m woefully out of date in biological anthropology). Through combinations of these plus museum studies, I have looked at economic and cognative ethnobiology, traditional environment and resource management, landscape perceptions, migration theories, and the relationships of these to the region’s material culture (particularly textiles). Problems and approaches are profiled.