In this title, Christopher Stojanowski seeks to understand changes in social identities among Christianized Native Americans living within Franciscan missions during the Spanish colonial period. His novel contribution is attempting to reconstruct identity transformation through skeletal analysis within a microevolutionary framework. Key to this narrative is a detailed, contextual analysis of data gathered from mission cemetery remains of Apalachee, Timucua, and Guale individuals interpreted within broad historical trends and social theoretical constructions of ethnicity and ethnogenesis. Stojanowski's investigation of biological data gathered from these earlier groups may help scientists trace the ethnogenesis of the present-day Seminole tribe in Florida. Analyses suggest the native communities throughout northern Florida and coastal Georgia were developing a common social identity by the end of the seventeenth century - a fact that allows for reinterpretation of eighteenth-century ideas about Seminole origins.
In this intriguing and controversial investigation, Stojanowski strives to bridge the divide between the social world of humans and the biological aspects of our lives by linking patterns of past skeletal variation to patterns of group affinity and identification.
Christopher M. Stojanowski is a bioarchaeologist affiliated with the Center for Bioarchaeological Research at Arizona State University's School of Human Evolution and Social Change. He is the author of Biocultural Histories in La Florida and coeditor of Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas.