Classifying Native American Tribes in Cultural Families Research Paper by Nicky

Classifying Native American Tribes in Cultural Families
An exploration of aspects of Native American history through the work of John Westly Powell, the Head of the Smithsonian's Bureau of Ethnology.
# 147258 | 4,153 words | 17 sources | MLA | 2010 | US


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Description:

This paper delves into Native American history through the work of John Westly Powell, the Head of the Smithsonian's Bureau of Ethnology, to better understand how the current classification of Native American Tribes into cultural families evolved. Ethnology is defined in the paper as one of the four subdivisions of anthropology, which embraces the study of cultures in their traditional forms, as well as their adaptations to changing conditions in the contemporary world. The paper discusses Powell's belief that "race" evolved as a worldview, a collage of prejudgments that distort a person's perceptions about human differences, and group behavior. The researcher asserts that the work of John Wesley Powell, who, contrary to some citizens of the West, saw the Native Americans not as savages, but as people, should be heeded and taken to heart today. This paper contains illustrative photos and figures.

Outline:
Introduction
Native American Considerations
Ethnology Defined
John Wesley Powell
Life Synopsis
Native American Race
The Bureau of American Ethnology
Major Powell and Lewis Henry Morgan
Influence of Morgan's Book
Mutual Nurtured Interests
The Interior Department's Instructions
Conviction to Capture Changes
The Theory of Cultural Evolution
Stevenson's Quest towards a Holistic Positivism
Controversy over Builders of Mounds
Cyrus Thomas and Powell's Perceptions
Monk's Mound at Cahokia, Illinois
Poverty Point, Louisiana
The Moundville Site
Works Cited

From the Paper:

" Whitney asserted that rather than stigmatizing the Indians, those who considered themselves civilized should learn everything they could from the Indians. Whitney's words "foreshadowed the theoretical perspective that Powell would pursue later by means of the method of testing mutual intelligibility statements with lexical data". To better understand how the current classification of Native American Tribes into cultural families evolved, this paper explores John Wesley Powell's work as the Head of the Smithsonian's Bureau of Ethnology.
"Prior to the establishment of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE), Secretary Joseph Henry, from the start of his tenure, encouraged/supported systematic efforts by the Smithsonian Institution to develop a linguistic classification. For Henry, language merited a vital status in constructing human history. Along with Henry R. Schoolcraft, who in 1855 wrote "A letter on the affinities of dialects in New Mexico" (In Vol. 5 of Information respecting the history, condition, and prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States), Henry perceived comparative philology to be the key to unravel the origins of native groups. Languages, according to Henry's understanding, evolved from instinctive, mental, physical, and environmental factors, and consequently were able to proffer clues to universal, as well as these groups' particular characteristics."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • About John Wesley Powell. John Wesley Powell River History Museum. 2009. Aavailable from http://johnwesleypowell.com/about_jwp.html. Internet. Accessed 23 February 2009.
  • Bast, Robert. North America. Survive 2012. 2008. Monk's Mound at Cahokia, USA section. Available at http://www.survive2012.com/america_pyramids.php. Internet. Accessed 28 February 2009.
  • "Ethnology," Microsoft(r) Encarta(r) Online Encyclopedia 2008. Available from http://encarta.msn.com (c) 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation. Internet.Accessed 28 February 2009.
  • Garlinghouse, Thomas S., "Revisiting the Mound-Builder Controversy," History Today, September 2001, 38. [database on-line]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5000871014; Internet; accessed 23 February 2009.
  • Hieb, Louis A., "Social Memory and Cultural Narrative: The Hopi Construction of a Moral Community," Journal of the Southwest 44, no. 1. 2002. [database on-line]. Available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5002472326. Internet. Accessed 23 February 2009.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Classifying Native American Tribes in Cultural Families (2011, March 06) Retrieved October 03, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/research-paper/classifying-native-american-tribes-in-cultural-families-147258/

MLA Format

"Classifying Native American Tribes in Cultural Families" 06 March 2011. Web. 03 October. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/research-paper/classifying-native-american-tribes-in-cultural-families-147258/>

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