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STRATEGIES FOR AUTONOMY: AN ANALYSIS OF ETHNIC MOBILIZATION IN SEVENTEENTH CENTURY SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND (ARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOHISTORY, MISSIONIZATION; MASSACHUSETTS; NATICK AMERICAN INDIANS)
Indigenous societies living under colonial control employ strategies to resist political domination and cultural suppression. In the absence of conspicuous nativistic or revitalization movements to promote political autonomy, sociopolitical changes in native societies are ignored or are interpreted as passive compliance. I propose three hypotheses regarding native strategies for autonomy. I evaluate these hypotheses against ethnohistorical and archaeological data from a community of missionized native Americans at Natick, Massachusetts in the mid-seventeenth century. In aspects of the native system as basic as settlement and subsistence patterns, the Natick Indians practiced mobility in opposition to the missionaries' program of sedentism. The Natick Indians pursued traditional subsistence practices in contrast to the missionary program of full-time agriculture and cottage industry. Moreover, the Natick Indians traveled outside the geographical confines of their town for more than subsistence needs dictated; they followed a traditional pattern of intergroup visiting for purposes of cementing kin ties, for exchange, for information sharing, and for warfare. In the sphere of politics, despite attempts by missionaries to control the political process in the town, such control remained in the hands of native leaders. In the ritual sphere, shamanistic practices persisted, despite the fact that powwowing was outlawed. I argue that assertion of political and cultural autonomy under conditions of enforced change could occur only if the Natick Indians were mobilized for collective action. In the praying towns an interest group was mobilized by dominant individuals who legitimated their own authority at the same time that they marshalled their followers into a collectivity. I refer to the collectivity mobilized for the pursit of its own political interests as an ethnic group; the ideology manipulated to promote its political-economic interests I refer to as ethnicity. In sum, resistance to colonial domination occurred in Natick--in a community of native Americans who were, according to the colonists' plans, supposed to become the most "acculturated" and dominated group of native Americans in New England. Resistance to colonial policies took the form of the mobilization of material and ideological resources to marshal and coordinate collective political action.
BRENNER, ELISE MELANIE, "STRATEGIES FOR AUTONOMY: AN ANALYSIS OF ETHNIC MOBILIZATION IN SEVENTEENTH CENTURY SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND (ARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOHISTORY, MISSIONIZATION; MASSACHUSETTS; NATICK AMERICAN INDIANS)" (1984). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8410265.