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Deerskins and Domesticates: Creek Subsistence and Economic Strategies in the Historic Period

  • Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman (a1)
Abstract

Previous research indicates that, following European colonization, animal husbandry did not replace hunting as the primary source of meat in the diet of southeastern Native Americans until the early nineteenth century. However, while the introduction of Eurasian domesticated animals had little immediate impact on the lives of indigenous peoples in the Southeast, the expansion of the European market economy had profound implications for the economic and subsistence strategies of Native Americans in all regions. In response to European demands for deerskins, furs, and other goods, Native Americans of the Southeast and elsewhere intensified exploitation of indigenous resources. The Creeks became one of the largest producers of deerskins for the European commodities trade in the Southeast. Ethnohistoric and zooarchaeological evidence indicates that the intensification of localized resource exploitation had a suppressive effect on the adoption of animal husbandry by the Creeks. It was only after the collapse of the deerskin trade in the Southeast that animal husbandry replaced hunting as the primary source of meat in the subsistence strategy of the Creeks.

Résumé

Las investigaciones previas indican que, en seguida de la colonización europea, el cuidado de animales no substituyó la caza como la fuente primaria de la carne en la dieta de los Nativos Americanos del Sureste hasta el siglo XIX. Sin embargo, mientras que la introducción de los animales eurasiáticos tenía poco impacto inmediato en las vidas de la gente indígena en la región, la extensión de la economía de mercado europeo tenía implicaciones profundas para las estrategias económicas y la subsistencia de los Nativos Americanos en todas las regiones. En respuesta a las demandas europeas para las pieles de venados, pieles, y otras mercancías, los Nativos Americanos del Sureste y otro regiones intensificaron la explotación de recursos indígenas. Los Creeks se convirtieron en uno de los productores más grandes de pieles de venado para los comercios europeos en el Sureste. La evidencia etnohistórico y zooarqueológico indica que la intensificación de la explotación del recursos tenía un efecto negativo en la adopción de los animales eurasiáticos por los Creeks. Fue solamente después del derrumbe del comercio de pieles de venado en el Sureste que la granjería animal substituyó a la caza como fuente primaria de carne en la subsistencia de los Creeks.

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