Partners and Power: Understanding Ancestral Wichita and French Trade at the Deer Creek Site

  • Sarah TrabertEmail author


Deer Creek is an eighteenth-century fortified site in Oklahoma that is featured in dozens of publications yet was not excavated until 2016. While archaeologists today acknowledge the site as a Wichita village, others have insisted Deer Creek is a European fort. Historical narratives bereft of archaeological investigation can prove problematic and have minimized the role of Wichita communities in economic relationships. The Deer Creek site was just one of many villages in the region where Indigenous peoples held significant power as they negotiated with European travelers and archaeological work can reveal the perspective of those who there.


Great plains Wichita Colonialism France 



A great many thanks are owed to the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes and the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their support of this work. The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Archaeological Survey, Oklahoma State University, the Oklahoma Anthropological Society, the National Parks Service, and individual donors to an OU Thousands Strong Campaign provided financial support. I wanted to thank Scott Hammerstedt and Amanda Regnier for conducting the geophysical survey at the site. I would like to acknowledge all of the hard work that Richard Drass, Susan Vehik, and Stephen Perkins put into laying the groundwork for investigating the site, their advice and help during the excavations, and their comments on an early draft of this paper. Anonymous reviewers provided detailed and useful feedback that shifted this paper in a much more interesting direction. Lastly, thanks go to all the OAS members and students who worked tirelessly in the excavations and lab analysis.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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