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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 164–196 | Cite as

Sucreries and Ziizbaakdokaanan: Racialization, Indigenous Creolization, and the Archaeology of Maple-Sugar Camps in Northern Michigan

  • John G. Franzen
  • Terrance J. Martin
  • Eric C. Drake
Original Article

Abstract

Comparison of the remains on four northern Michigan archaeological sites with ethnohistorical accounts of maple sugaring confirms the function of these sites, occupied between the late 18th and late 19th centuries. All include charcoal deposits and artifacts associated with open-fire sap boiling in kettles, and three sites are notable for faunal remains dominated by fish and essentially without large mammals, wild or domestic. The sites’ archaeological characteristics contradict historical accounts that used racial terms, such as "Indian," "white," and "half-breed," to differentiate sugar makers and racialize both their practices and products. Instead, archaeological and historical evidence of sugaring can be explained by a process called “indigenous creolization.” This concept facilitates the balanced recognition of Native American (mainly Anishinaabe) and European (mainly French Canadian) influences on maple sugaring without reproducing colonial classifications based on race or racialized ethnicity.

Keywords

maple sugar creolization Michilimackinac Straits of Mackinac Gros Cap Pointe Aux Chenes Anishinaabe French Canadian 

Extracto

La comparación de los restos en cuatro yacimientos arqueológicos del norte de Michigan con informes etnohistóricos de la obtención de azúcar de arce confirma la función de estos yacimientos, ocupados entre finales del siglo XVIII y finales del siglo XIX. Todos incluyen depósitos de carbón vegetal y objetos asociados a la cocción de savia en fogatas en calderas, y tres yacimientos son notables por restos de fauna dominados por peces y esencialmente sin grandes mamíferos, salvajes o domésticos. Las características arqueológicas de los yacimientos contradicen los informes históricos que utilizaban términos raciales, tales como "indio", "blanco", y "mestizo" para diferenciar a los fabricantes de azúcar y racializar tanto sus prácticas como sus productos. En cambio, las pruebas arqueológicas e históricas de la obtención de azúcar pueden explicarse mediante un proceso denominado "creolización indígena". Este concepto facilita el reconocimiento equilibrado de las influencias de los nativos americanos (principalmente Anishinaabe) y de los europeos (principalmente, franco canadienses) en la obtención del azúcar sin reproducir clasificaciones coloniales basadas en la raza o en la etnicidad racializada.

Résumé

Une comparaison entre les vestiges sur quatre sites archéologiques du nord du Michigan et les récits ethno-historiques sur le sucre d’érable confirme la fonction de ces sites, occupés entre la fin du 18e siècle et la fin du 19e siècle. Tous comprennent des dépôts de charbon et des artefacts liés à la sève sur le feu bouillonnant dans les bouilloires, et trois sites sont remarquables pour les restes de la faune, dominés par les poissons et essentiellement sans grands mammifères sauvages ou domestiques. Les caractéristiques archéologiques des sites contredisent les récits historiques qui utilisent des termes raciaux, tels que « indien », « blanc » et « demi-race », afin de différencier les producteurs de sucre et de racialiser leurs pratiques et leurs produits. Au lieu de cela, des preuves archéologiques et historiques du sucrage peuvent être expliquées par un processus appelé « créolisation autochtone ». Ce concept facilite la reconnaissance équilibrée des influences indigènes américaines (principalement les Anishinaabe) et européennes (principalement franco-canadiennes) sur le sirop d’érable sans reproduire les classifications coloniales basées sur la race ou l’origine ethnique raciale.

Notes

Acknowledgments:

Thanks to Kathryn E. Parker, who provided advice and some preliminary botanical identifications. The charcoal analysis was conducted by the lead author. We are also grateful for the field assistance of Ryan Brown, John Steinhoff, Eric Larson, and Chuck Oslund, as well as the logistical support of numerous USDA Forest Service employees at the Supervisor’s Office and the St. Ignace Ranger District of the Hiawatha National Forest. Collections and associated data discussed in this article will be curated at Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Franzen
    • 1
  • Terrance J. Martin
    • 2
  • Eric C. Drake
    • 3
  1. 1.Bark RiverU.S.A.
  2. 2.SpringfieldU.S.A.
  3. 3.Hiawatha National ForestGladstoneU.S.A.

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