I take a landscape and apprenticeship approach that combines insights from traditional potters, geological source survey, replicative studies, and geochemical techniques to explore issues of tradition, identity and social transformation in the production of modern Native American and archaeological ceramics.
PROTOHISTORIC TO HISTORIC TRANSITIONS
My ceramic and archaeological research focuses on the demographic, economic, and social transformation of indigenous societies in the American Southwest following Spanish and American colonization of New Mexico. The introduction of Indian slavery and the forced population dislocations by the Spanish fostered violence and insurrection by Pueblo and Plains Indian peoples through much of the 17th-century. Economic reforms instituted by the Spanish Bourbon Monarchy stabilized local and regional economies by the late 18th-century, bringing relative peace and unprecedented demographic and economic growth to the mestizo descendants of these Spanish colonizers. New cultural patterns and craft traditions flourished under the Bourbon regime until the American invasion of the mid 1800s, which created widespread dependencies on wage labor and other institutions that still impact Hispanic and Indian communities today.
Segment of SegesserI hide painting depicting Indian auxiliaries with Spanish weapons attacking a tepee village defended by Indians on foot.
TRIBAL AND APPLIED RESEARCH
The history of colonialism in the U.S. Southwest and the inter-cultural and ecological interactions that it entails, has a strong bearing on present disparities in education, healthcare, and access to critical resources on Indian reservations and in rural Hispanic towns. More and more, these communities have asked archaeologists to provide the “hard evidence” of their history and cultural ancestry for use in claims for land, water, and other resources. These questions touch on now-classic themes of archaeological investigation such as interregional trade, socio-political and demographic change, and the movements or migrations of people in the past. Conflicts over land, water, and mineral resources will continue in the future, and archaeological data will certainly play a role in resolving these challenges.