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XII. Sacajawea’s Ancestors

Part of the job of the archaeologist is to reconstruct cultural history by defining the time and place that past peoples lived. To accomplish this goal, historic information is combined with archaeological evidence through a method known as the “direct historical approach.” Reconstructing culture history and ascribing the historic period to the past has always been tempting to archaeologists, but its interface between the historic period and the archaeological record remains pervasive when the process is used in a selective and capricious manner. In this essay, some of the assumptions, methods and problems associated with making connections to the past from historic records are discussed to connect Bird Woman (Sacajawea) and her language family — which ultimately originated in the Valley of Mexico (Uto-Aztecan or Numic speakers) — to the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.



Dr. Lahren
©2006 by
Larry A. Lahren, Ph.D.
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PHOTO: “Buffalo Gals,” Jeff Henry

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