Oasisamerica is a term used by some scholars, primarily Mexican anthropologists, for the broad cultural area defining pre-Columbian southwestern North America.It extends from modern-day Utah down to southern Chihuahua, and from the coast on the Gulf of California eastward to the Río Bravo river valley. Its name comes from its position in relationship with the similar regions of Mesoamerica and mostly nomadic Aridoamerica. The term Greater Southwest is often used to describe this region by American anthropologists.
An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology, and philosophical anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life, while economic anthropology studies human economic behavior. Biological (physical), forensic, and medical anthropology study the biological development of humans, the application of biological anthropology in a legal setting, and the study of diseases and their impacts on humans over time, respectively.
In anthropology and geography, a cultural region, cultural sphere, cultural area or culture area refers to a geography with one relatively homogeneous human activity or complex of activities (culture). These are often associated with an ethnolinguistic group and the territory it inhabits. Specific cultures often do not limit their geographic coverage to the borders of a nation state, or to smaller subdivisions of a state. Cultural "spheres of influence" may also overlap or form concentric structures of macrocultures encompassing smaller local cultures. Different boundaries may also be drawn depending on the particular aspect of interest, such as religion and folklore vs. dress and architecture vs. language.
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
As opposed to their nomadic Aridoamerican neighbors, the Oasisamericans primarily had agricultural societies.
Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.
The Navajo Nation is a Native American territory covering about 17,544,500 acres, occupying portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico in the United States. This is the largest land area retained by a Native American tribe, with a population of roughly 350,000 as of 2016.
The Tonto Apache is one of the groups of Western Apache people. The term is also used for their dialect, one of the three dialects of the Western Apache language. The Chiricahua living to the south called them Ben-et-dine or binii?e'dine'. The neighboring Western Apache ethnonym for them was Koun'nde, from which the Spanish derived their use of Tonto for the group. The kindred but enemy Navajo to the north called both the Tonto Apache and their allies, the Yavapai, Dilzhʼíʼ dinéʼiʼ - “People with high-pitched voices”).
The Laguna Pueblo is a federally recognized tribe of Native American Pueblo people in west-central New Mexico, USA. The name, Laguna, is Spanish and derives from the lake located on their reservation. Originally, this body of water was the only lake in what is now the state of New Mexico, and was formed by an ancient dam that was constructed by the Laguna people. After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680-1696, the Mission San José de la Laguna was erected by the Spanish at the old pueblo, and finished around July 4, 1699.
The Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture.
The Hopi-Tewa are a Tewa Pueblo group that resides on the eastern part of the Hopi Reservation on or near First Mesa in northeastern Arizona.
Acoma Pueblo is a Native American pueblo approximately 60 miles (97 km) west of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States. Four villages make up Acoma Pueblo: Sky City, Acomita, Anzac, and McCartys. The Acoma Pueblo tribe is a federally recognized tribal entity. The historical land of Acoma Pueblo totaled roughly 5,000,000 acres (2,000,000 ha). The community retains only 10% of this land, making up the Acoma Indian Reservation. Acoma Pueblo is a National Historic Landmark.
The Ak Chin Indian Community of the Maricopa (Ak-Chin) Indian Reservation is a federally recognized tribe and Native American community located in the Santa Cruz Valley in Pinal County, Arizona, 37 miles south of Phoenix and near the City of Maricopa. The Community is composed mainly of Akimel Oʼodham and Tohono Oʼodham, as well as some ethnic Hia-Ced Oʼodham members.
Jicarilla Apache, one of several loosely organized autonomous bands of the Eastern Apache, refers to the members of the Jicarilla Apache Nation currently living in New Mexico and speaking a Southern Athabaskan language. The term jicarilla comes from Mexican Spanish meaning "little basket", referring to the small sealed baskets they used as drinking vessels. To neighboring Apache bands like the Mescalero and Lipan they were known as Kinya-Inde . The Jicarilla called themselves also Haisndayin translated as "people who came from below", because they believed to be the sole descendants of the first people to emerge from the underworld, the abode of Ancestral Man and Ancestral Woman who produced the first people.
Lipan Apache are Southern Athabaskan (Apachean) Native Americans whose traditional territory included present-day Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas, prior to the 17th century.
The term "Oasisamerica" is derived from a combination of the terms "oasis" and "America". It refers to a wild land dominated by the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre Occidental. To the east and west of these enormous mountain ranges stretch the grand arid plains of the Sonora, Chihuahua, and Arizona Deserts. At its height, Oasisamerica covered part of the present-day Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sonora and Baja California, as well as the U.S. states of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and California.
Despite being a basically dry land, Oasisamerica contains several bodies of water like rivers: Yaqui, Rio Grande, Colorado, Conchos and Gila Rivers. The presence of these rivers (and even some lakes that have since been swallowed by the desert), combined with a climate that was much milder than eastern Aridoamerica, allowed the development of agricultural techniques that were imported from Mesoamerica.
The story of the origins of the cultural superarea of Mesoamerica takes place some 2000 years after the separation of Mesoamerica and Aridoamerica. Some of the Aridoamerican communities farmed as a complement to their hunter-gatherer economy. Those communities, among whom one finds adherents to the Desert Tradition, later would become more truly agricultural and form Oasisamerica.
Based on maize remnants found in Bat Cave, Arizona, it appears that agriculture practices date back to at least 3500 BC. Given that the oldest traces of maize in North America date back to the year 5000 BC, it would seem that the hypothesis of importation of agriculture from the south is correct. It is less certain who brought the agricultural technology and what role they played in the development of the high cultures of Oasisamerica.[ citation needed ]
At least three hypotheses have been proposed to explain the birth of the cultures of Oasisamerica. One, an endogenous model, posits an independent cultural development whose roots lie deep in antiquity. From this point of view, thanks to a superior climate, the ancient desert communities would have been able to develop agriculture much as the Mesoamericans did.[ citation needed ]
A second hypothesis presupposes that the nomads of the Mesoamerican culture slowly moved northward over time. Thus, the Oasisamericans would be an offshoot of their neighbors to the south. In this view, the development of the Oasisamerican cultures, much like the northern Mesoamerican cultures, began with a group of outsiders who were closely tied to the local original inhabitants of western Mexico.[ citation needed ]
There are many indications of a close relationship between the two great cultural regions of North America. For one, the turquoise that the Mesoamericans prized so dearly came almost exclusively from southern New Mexico and Arizona. Demand for this mineral alone may have played a large part in establishing trade relationships between the two cultural areas. At the same time, in Paquimé, a site connected to the Mogollon culture, there have been found ceremonial structures related to Mesoamerican religion and an important number of skeletons of Macaws that were carefully transported from the forests of southeastern Mexico.[ citation needed ]
The area encompassed by Oasisamerica fostered the growth of several major cultural groups: the Ancestral Pueblo people, Hohokam, Mogollon, Pataya, and Fremont.Smaller cultures within this region include the Sinagua.
Ancestral Pueblo cultures flourished in the region currently known as the Four Corners.The territory was covered by juniper forests which the ancient peoples learned to exploit for their own needs, since foraging among the other vegetation only sufficed for half of the year, only to fail from November to April. The Ancestral Pueblo society is one of the most complex to be found in Oasisamerica, and they are assumed to be the ancestors of the modern Pueblo people (including the Zuñi and Hopi). (The term "Anasazi" is also used to describe these cultures. It is a Navajo term meaning "enemy ancestors."
The Ancestral Pueblo is considered to be the most intensely studied Pre-Columbian culture in the United States. [ citation needed ]Archaeological investigation has established a sequence of cultural development that began before the first century BC and extended to AD 1540 when the Pueblo Indians were subjugated by the Spanish Crown. This long period encompasses the Basketmaker I, II, and III phases followed by the Pueblo I, II, III, and IV phases. In the Basketmaker II phase, the Ancestral Pueblo took up residence in caves and rocky shelters, and in Basketmaker III Era (AD 500–750) they constructed the first subterranean cities with up to four abodes in a circular arrangement.
The Pueblo period begins with the development of ceramics. The most prominent feature of these ceramics is the predominance of pieces of a white or red color with black designs. During the Pueblo I phase (AD 750–900), the Ancestral Pueblo developed their first irrigation systems, and their former subterranean habitations were slowly replaced by houses constructed of masonry. Pueblo II (900–1150) is defined by the construction of great works of architecture, including multi-family, multi-story dwellings. The following phase of Pueblo III (1150–1350) witnessed the greatest expansion of Ancestral Pueblo agriculture as well as the construction of large regional communication networks that would persist until the Pueblo IV Era. In Pueblo IV (1350–1600), much of the earlier society disintegrated along with the communication networks.[ citation needed ]
The reasons underpinning the decline of the Ancestral Pueblo remain somewhat of a mystery. The phenomenon is thought to be associated with a prolonged drought that befell the region from 1276 to 1299. When the Europeans arrived at the Ancestral Pueblo region, it was populated by the Pueblo Indians, a group without a unified ethnicity. The Zuni had no apparent relatives; the Hopi spoke an Uto-Aztecan language; the Tewas and Tiwas were Tanoanos and the Navajo were Athabaskans.[ citation needed ]
The religion of the Pueblo Indians was based upon the worship of plant-like deities and the fertility of the earth. They believed that supernatural beings called the kachina had come to the surface of the earth from the sipapu (center of the earth) at the moment of the creation of the human race. Worship in Pueblo societies was organized by secret all-male groups that met in kivas. The members of these secret societies claimed to represent the kachina.[ citation needed ]
The Hohokam occupied the desert-like lands of Arizona and Sonora. The Hohokam territory is bounded by two large rivers, the Salt River (Arizona) and Gila Rivers, that outline the heart of the Sonora Desert. The surrounding ecosystem presented many challenges to agriculture and human life because of its high temperatures and scant rainfall. Due to these factors, the Hohokam were forced to construct irrigation systems with elaborate webs of reservoirs and canals for the Salt and Gila rivers that could reach several meters in depth and 10 km in length. Thanks to these canals, the Hohokam harvested as many as two crops of corn annually.[ citation needed ]
The principal settlements of the Hohokam culture were Snaketown, Casa Grande, Red Mountain, and Pueblo de los Muertos, all of which are to be found in modern-day Arizona. The Hohokam lived in small communities of several hundred people. Their lifestyle was very similar to that of the Ancestral Pueblo in their Basketmaker III phase: semisubterranean but with spacious interiors. Several other artifacts are unique to the Hohokam, including conch necklaces (imported from the coastal regions of Greater California and Sonora) etched with acids produced by pitaya fermentation; and axes, trowels, and other stone instruments.[ citation needed ]
Archaeologists dispute the origins and ethnic identity of the Hohokam culture. Some hold that the culture developed endogenously (without outside influence), pointing to Snaketown which had its origins in the fourth century BC. Others believe the culture to be a product of migration from Mesoamerica. In defense of this line of thought, proponents point to the fact that Hohokam ceramics appeared in 300 BC. (also the time of Snaketown's founding), and that before this time, there was no indication of an independent regional development of ceramics. Along the same line of reasoning, several other technological advances like the canal works and certain cultural phenomena like cremation seem to have originated in western Mesoamerica.[ citation needed ]
The development of the Hohokam culture is divided into four periods: Pioneer (300 BC – AD 550), Colonial (550–900), Sedentary (900–1100), and Classical (1100–1450). The Pioneer period commenced with the construction of the canal works. In the Colonial period, ties were strengthened with Mesoamerica. Proof of this can be found in the recovery of copper bells, pyrite mirrors, and the construction of ball courts. The relations with Mesoamerica and the presence of such traded goods indicate that by the Colonial period the Hohokam had already become organized into chiefdoms. Relations with Mesoamerica would diminish in the following period, and the Hohokam turned to construct multi-story buildings like Casa Grande.[ citation needed ]
By the time the Europeans arrived in the Arizona and Sonora Deserts, a region which they named Pimería Alta, the urban centers of the Hohokam had already become abandoned presumably due to the health and ecological disasters that befell the indigenous social system. The Tohono O'odham live in this region and speak a Uto-Aztecan language. This community had an economy based on gathering and incipient agriculture on mountain slopes. They were a semi-nomadic people, probably because they had to migrate in order to compensate for the scarcity of food resources in the foothills of the mountains they called home.[ citation needed ]
The Mogollon was a cultural area of Mesoamerica that extended from the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, northward to Arizona and New Mexico in the southwestern United States. Some scholars prefer to distinguish between two broad cultural traditions in this area: the Mogollon itself and the Paquime culture that was derived from it. Either way, the peoples who inhabited the area in question adapted well to a landscape that was marked by the presence of pine forests and steep mountains and ravines.
In contrast to their Hohokam and Ancestral Pueblo neighbors to the north, the Mogollons usually buried their dead. The culture's graves often included ceramic art and semiprecious stones. Because the Mogollon burial sites displayed such wealth, they were often looted by grave robbers who sought to sell their spoils on the archaeological black market.[ citation needed ]
Perhaps the most impressive Mogollon ceramic tradition was to be found in the valley of the Mimbres River in New Mexico. The ceramic production of this region became most developed between the eighth and twelfth centuries. It was characterized by white pieces decorated with stylized representations of daily life in the community that created them. This was a very exceptional approach in a cultural area whose pottery was otherwise dominated by geometric patterns.[ citation needed ]
As another contrast with the Hohokam and Ancestral Pueblo, there is no widely accepted chronology for the development of the Mogollon culture. The scholars Alfredo López Austin and Leonardo López Luján, for their historical analysis of the region, borrowed a chronology proposed earlier by Paul Martin, who himself divided Mogollon history into two general periods; the "Early" period runs from 500 BC until AD 1000, and the "Late" period begins in the eleventh and goes to the sixteenth century.[ citation needed ]
The first period featured a more or less slow cultural development. Technological changes were produced very gradually, and the form of social relationships and organizational patterns remained almost static for 1500 years. During the Early period, the Mogollons lived in rocky dwellings from which they defended themselves from the incursions of their hunter neighbors. Much like the Ancestral Pueblo, the Mogollon also lived in semisubterranean abodes that often featured a kiva.[ citation needed ]
In the eleventh century, the population in the Mogollon area multiplied much more rapidly than it had in the preceding centuries. It is probably that in this period, the area benefited from trade relations with Mesoamerica, a fact that facilitated the development of agriculture and the stratification of society. It is also possible that Ancestral Pueblo influence could have grown at this time, because the Mogollon began to construct buildings of masonry, just like their northern neighbors.[ citation needed ]
The Mogollon culture reached its height in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. At this time, the culture's major centers grew in population, size, and power. Paquime, in Chihuahua, was perhaps the largest of those. It dominated a mountainous region that contains many archaeological sites known as casas alcantilado, outposts constructed in hard-to-reach caves on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre. Paquime traded with the heart of Mesoamerica, to which it provided precious minerals like turquoise and cinnabar. It also controlled the trade of certain products from the coasts of the Gulf of California, especially its Nassarius conch shells. Paquime received heavy influence from the Mesoamerican societies, as evidenced by the presence of arenas for the Mesoamerican ballgame and the remains of animals native to tropical Central America like the macaw.[ citation needed ]
The decline of the main centers of Mogollon power began in the thirteenth century, even before the apex of Paquime. By the fifteenth century, a large part of the region had become abandoned by its former inhabitants. The people of the Mimbres River emigrated and eventually settled in present-day Coahuila. It is supposed that the Taracahitas (including the Yaquis, Mayos, Opatas, and Tarahumaras) that currently live in northeastern Mexico are descendants of the Mogollones.
The Fremont area covered a large part of modern-day Utah. It was situated to the north of the Ancestral Pueblo cultural area. Its cultural development as a part of Oasisamerica took place between the fifth and fourteenth centuries. Scholars contend that the Fremont culture was derived from the Ancestral Pueblo culture. Theoretically, the Fremont communities would have emigrated toward the north, bringing with them the customs, social organization structures, and technology of the Ancestral Pueblo. This hypothesis neatly explains the presence of ceramics in Utah that are very similar to those found in Mesa Verde.[ citation needed ]
A second hypothesis suggests that the Fremont culture may have been derived from buffalo-hunting societies, probably from a culture of Athabaskan origin. As time passed, the foreign culture would have adopted the culture of their southern neighbors. In both this theory and the aforementioned, there is a justification for the less-complex development in Fremont as opposed to other regions of Oasisamerica because of their more suitable climates for agriculture.[ citation needed ]
The decay of the Fremont culture began as early as the second half of the 10th century and was completed in the 14th century. Upon the Spaniards' arrival, the region was occupied by the Shoshones, an Uto-Aztecan group.[ citation needed ]
The Patayan area occupies the western part of Oasisamerica. It comprises the modern-day states of California and Arizona in the U.S., and Baja California and Sonora in Mexico. The Patayans were a peripheral culture whose cultural development was probably influenced by their Hohokam neighbors to the east. From them they would have learned the Mesoamerican ballgame, cremation techniques, and techniques for the production of ceramics.[ citation needed ]
The Patayan culture began to disappear in the fourteenth century. When the Spanish arrived in the region, the Colorado River Valley was only occupied by the river-dwelling Yuman peoples.[ citation needed ]
The Puebloans or Pueblo peoples, are Native Americans in the Southwestern United States who share common agricultural, material and religious practices. When Spaniards entered the area beginning in the 16th century, they came across complex, multi-story villages built of adobe, stone and other local materials, which they called pueblos, or towns, a term that later came to refer also to the peoples who live in these villages.
Hohokam was a society located in the present states of Arizona, U.S.A., and Sonora, Mexico. Hohokam practiced a specific culture, sometimes referred to as Hohokam culture, which has been distinguished by archaeologists. People who practiced this culture can be called Hohokam as well, but more often they are distinguished as Hohokam people to avoid confusion.
Native Americans have inhabited what is now Arizona for thousands of years. It remains a state with one of the largest percentages of Native Americans in the United States, and has the second largest total Native American population of any state. In addition, the majority of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the US, and the entire Tohono O'odham Nation, the second largest, are located in Arizona. Over a quarter of the area of the state is reservation land.
Mogollon culture is an archaeological culture of Native American peoples from Southern New Mexico and Arizona, Northern Sonora and Chihuahua, and Western Texas, a region known as Oasisamerica.
Casas Grandes is a prehistoric archaeological site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Construction of the site is attributed to the Mogollon culture. Casas Grandes has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is under the purview of INAH.
The Sinagua were a pre-Columbian culture that occupied a large area in central Arizona from the Little Colorado River, near Flagstaff, to the Salt River, near Sedona, including the Verde Valley, area around San Francisco Mountain, and significant portions of the Mogollon Rim country, between approximately 500 CE and 1425 CE.
The Archaic Southwest was the culture of the southwestern United States between 6500 BC and 200 AD (approximately).
This is a timeline of in North American prehistory, from 1000 BC until European contact.
Southwestern archaeology is a branch of archaeology concerned with the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. This region has long been occupied by hunter-gatherers and agricultural peoples.
Kinishba Ruins is a 600-room Mogollon great house archaeological site in eastern Arizona and is administered by the White Mountain Apache Tribe. It is located on the present-day Fort Apache Indian Reservation, in the Apache community of Canyon Day. As it demonstrates a combination of both Mogollon and Ancestral Puebloan cultural traits, archaeologists consider it part of the historical lineage of both the Hopi and Zuni cultures. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The pre-Columbian history of the territory now comprising contemporary Mexico is known through the work of archaeologists and epigraphers, and through the accounts of the conquistadors, clergymen, and indigenous chroniclers of the immediate post-conquest period. While relatively few documents of the Mixtec and Aztec cultures of the Post-Classic period survived the Spanish conquest, more progress has been made in the area of Mayan archaeology and epigraphy.
Cuarenta Casas is an archaeological site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Construction of the site is attributed to the Mogollon culture.
Cueva de la Olla is an archaeological site located in the northwest of the Chihuahua State, some 47 km southwest of Nuevo Casas Grandes near the Ignacio Zaragoza Ejido.
Cueva de la Ranchería is an archaeological site located south of Ciudad Madera, in the Sirupa Canyon region, northwest of the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Cueva de la Momia is an archaeological site located in the region of Ciudad Madera, in the Sirupa Canyon region, northwest of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It is located at the foot of a very high cliff on the ravine of the Arroyo del Venado, shortly before it joins the Rio Chico; in the vicinity of the Huápoca Canyon, is a series of caves where a number of mummies were found.
Huápoca is an archaeological site located 36 kilometers west of Ciudad Madera, in the Huápoca Canyon region, northwest of the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
La Pintada is an archaeological site located some 60 kilometers south of the city of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, within the “La Pintada” canyon, part of the “Sierra Libre”, a small mountain massif of the coastal plains that extends throughout the Sonoran Desert.
The Pueblo V Period is the final period of ancestral puebloan culture in the American Southwest, or Oasisamerica, and includes the contemporary Pueblo peoples. From the previous Pueblo IV Period, all 19 of the Rio Grande valley pueblos remain in the contemporary period. The only remaining pueblo in Texas is Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and the only remaining pueblos in Arizona are maintained by the Hopi Tribe. The rest of the Pueblo IV pueblos were abandoned by the 19th century.
Indigenous peoples of the North American Southwest refers to the area identified with the current states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada in the western United States, and the states of Sonora and Chihuahua in northern Mexico. An often quoted statement from Erik Reed (1964) defined the Greater Southwest culture area as extending north to south from Durango, Mexico to Durango, Colorado and east to west from Las Vegas, Nevada to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Other names sometimes used to define the region include "American Southwest", "North Mexico", "Chichimeca", and "Oasisamerica/Aridoamerica".This region has long been occupied by hunter-gatherers and agricultural people.