Indigenismo, Education, and Indigenous Women

My final project for this class is related to my research that I am doing independently. For the sake of the class, I decided to focus more on how indigenistas (promoters of a political ideology known as indigenismo in post-revolutionary Mexico) were using archaeology to promote nationalism, push for certain education reforms and reshape Mexican history.

With this research project, I became easily sidetracked from education to eugenics when learning about indigenismo. It is a fascinating topic that I am excited to learn about. This class gave me an excuse to look deeper into archaeology and anthropology instead of just knowing the basic information of Manuel Gamio (the father of Mexican anthropology) being an active indigenista. Learning more about the role of anthropology in shaping indigenismo and social reform programs led me to understand the incredible impact this discipline had on the ideology.

Which was perfect. In a Spanish secondary source, I came across the first woman indigenista, a feminist mestiza named Elena Landázuri. She not only helped Gamio in excavating archaeological sites, but also helped established misiones permanentes. Many people saw feminists as a threat to national identity, including Gamio who addressed it in his patriotic essay Forjando Patria. I look forward to learning more about this character and how her feminist views as a mestiza affected the policies made for indigenous women during my trip to Mexico City.

To follow my research before presenting this May, you can visit my blog at DaisysFindings.

Research Findings: What to do with them in collaborative archaeology

Knowledge is a systems of place and people, and that has no disciplinary boundaries

–Dr. Chip Colwell, 02/16/2017

First breakout session – Twitter account @preserveseminar

The second workshop of the “Preserving the Past Together” seminar series had a guest key note speaker, Dr. Chip Colwell, senior curator of anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I walked in half way through the lecture and was glad to see the room was full of people because the types of the conversations that are occurring throughout this series need to be discussed more often. It shouldn’t just be for individuals in the archaeology field, but also among those in museums, history, cultural resource management and any discipline that is involved with some type of historical preservation, including tribal preservation.

One conversation that arose was the creation of knowledge and what to do with it. Sure, there is some public outreach to educate people about new discoveries.  But more often than not, the information does not reach the community it should be reaching. Several of the panelists addressed the importance of sharing the knowledge with the community related to the space where the knowledge is produced. Academics shouldn’t share their knowledge just among themselves, but back with the community itself. This is probably one of the last, but equally important steps to take when working in a collaborative archaeology project, a main theme in the overall series.

Two other important aspect of collaborative archaeology that I took from this seminar  were knowing how to listen and knowing when to step away from the collective. There are more workshops in the making that will be produced this academic year, but if there is one word that can sum up all of these themes and topics its respect.

Poppin’ Bottles: Ν.Καλλικούνη

When Team No Sleep began splitting up the glassware collection assigned to us to see who would date what portion I was secretly hoping I would get the aqua-colored, vertically embossed bottle. Although it was just the body, the foreign language written on it caught my attention.

Glasswares from the Atlantic/Central Bus Base Expansion. Broke aqua-colored bottle on right is the focus of this post.

Using a Greek alphabet to search for the brand, I learned that the company has been passed down for five generations since 1850. The name of the company is Callicounis and they sell a variety of liquors. They have a video that shows their process of distillation and have scenes of pouring them into the manufactured bottles. Callicounis seems to pride itself in its drink, and boast that its Cognac N.Kallikouni won gold medals at the 1900 Paris International Exhibition. Adding in the fact it was imported, I assume it may have been a little pricey to get a hold of. There may have been a well established bar near by, or a household that was well off that disposed of the bottle in the dump.

One of the stores in Greece for Ν.Καλλικούνη

From the page, I got the impression it is local only to Greece, meaning the bottle was manufactured in Europe. I had no luck finding a European glass bottle dating catalog, so I unfortunately had to depend on the Society for Historical Archaeology Bottle Index, which is based in the US. According to the site and only have the body of the bottle, it must have been manufactured between 1890 to 1915, which aligns with its time of popularity.

Life, medicine, and death

In 1889, the Calvary Cemetery was blessed by the local bishop to formally become a Catholic cemetery. Various of the sections are name on behalf of saints, with one section called ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’. It appeared to me the most neatly organized section. However, it was not an area of focus. As a class, we gathered data from various other sections with each individual in charge of collecting information from 15 gravemarkers. According to the site, there are over 40,000 people who have been laid to rest in this particular cemetery. Our data consisted of nearly 200 gravemarkers. Minimal, but there was much to learn. I focused on the number of deaths per year, noticing a gradual increase from the early 1900’s until 1930’s and again from the 1940’s until the 1950’s.

This fits in with not only the end of the world wars, but also before the mass production and availability of penicillin, one of the first antibiotics.Although there is a spike in deaths in 1949, in the years to follow there is never as a high of a spikes with deaths per year averaging our between 2 or 3, compared to prior 1950 the average being 3 or 4. After the accidental discovery of penicillin there was a wave of new medication that occurred that has increased life expectancy. In the 1950’s, for both sexes it was on average 68 years. Today, life expectancy on average is 78.8 years. Our data is an excellent representation of the effect medicine has had on the human population in the past years.

From school to community center: Still a place of education

In 1892, the Bay Side Addition sold land to the Seattle school council to build an elementary school. As population increased in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, a new building was erected alongside of the first to accommodate more students. This second building is the focus of this post.

Beacon Hill Elementary School, 1904

The 1904 building can hold 400 students. But by 1926, the school again was overcrowded with 800 children. Portables were brought to make more room as parents demanded a new school. Finally, in March of 1971, the elementary students walked five blocks to their new school. Over the next year and a half, the neighborhood and city debated about what to do about the property. A group of Chicanos asked to view the building as possible buyers. Once inside, they staged a sit as they had spent months prior trying to negotiate with the school council their pitch for the building, a community center for people of color.

El Centro celebrates 10 years The Seattle Times, October 1982

The social justice movement of the time inspired this group as Native American peoples occupying Fort Lawton in 1970 to restore their treaty rights of fighting in Washington. By the end of 1972, the city of Seattle leased the group the building for $1 a year until they officially bought the building in 1999. It became known as El Centro de la Raza and since its establishment has helped various communities by providing bilingual services, building apartments complex for low to mid income families and holding cultural events.

A day in Melqart’s life.

**This story was constructed from a self-recorded garbology report from an individual known as Melqart. Below are some of the recordings that was used to construct this story**

It’s a Friday morning and Melqart wakes up feeling off. She knows she only had one glass of wine last night, so it wasn’t a hangover. Dressed, she heads to the kitchen where she finds an empty wine bottle on the table. “My roommate must have finished it” she thinks as she places the bottle in the recycling bin.

Image result for stash tea chamomile nights

She starts eating a banana and boils water for tea while she packs her school supplies. The bus is coming in 15 minutes and she still needs to pack her snacks (a granola bar and orange). She looks for her French bread to make a quick sandwich only to realize it has gone bad. As she throws it away, Melqart thinks about what to do for lunch. She looks out the window and notices it’s another rainy day in Seattle. Suddenly, pho sounds like a reasonable meal. She finishes her tea and catches the bus.

As the day goes by, Mel isn’t feeling any better, but she also isn’t feeling worse. Before going home, she does a quick stop at a Fred Meyers to buy some cough medicine.

Image result for night time cough medication krogers 10 oz

Melqart doesn’t want to risk getting sick enough to miss school. But it has been a long week, and on the bus ride home she convinces herself to relax tonight. Upon arriving, she grabs a glass of wine (what better way to relax), orders couple of pizza from Vince’s and puts water to heat up.

As she wait, she does some minuscule cleaning, throwing away the granola wrapper, orange peels, recycling the pizza box and even shreds a couple of documents with private information. She’ll take her medication tomorrow night if her sickness persists. (Spoiler alert, it does).


Selective recordings from Melqart’s report



Meet Daisy

Returning from the FMIA 2015 team, fourth- year undergraduate student Daisy Jaime has yet to crowd surf at a concert. But she has done other things, such as traveling to Ecuador, officially declaring her double major and minor, and starting her own research project. Much of her experience in FMIA 2015 inspired her current project, which focuses on indigenous women in post- revolutionary Mexico, and she hopes to continue learning more about historical archaeology’s relationship with indigenous populations, gender, and sexuality.

Daisy La Biblioteca Pública del Estado de Jalisco Juan José Arreola in Jalisco, Mexico

Daisy at La Biblioteca Pública del Estado de Jalisco Juan José Arreola in Jalisco, Mexico

You can still find Daisy at a local concert venue or trying a new restaurant in Seattle.


Tedious is a word that can sometimes be given a bad reputation. But it shouldn’t. This was one of the discussions that occurred back in the lab at the University of Washington. However, there is no better word to describe lab work. The process goes as follows (and bear with me):

  • Artifacts collected from a unit, let’s use FMIA-SCHOOLHOUSE-07162015-009 as our example, first need to be washed.
  • Afterwards, all the artifacts are laid out on a tray and paper towels with their original provenience information (plastic level bag, paper bag, and bag slip) and left to dry.
  • Once all the artifacts have been dried thoroughly, the cataloger needs to “Check Out” a unit by writing their initials on the Lab Catalog Register.
  • The cataloger then sorts out the artifacts, grouping them into Basic Groups, Material Categories and Artifact Classes. For example, an iron nail (a common find at the Schoolhouse) would be catalogued as European American, Metal, Ferrous which would be abbreviated to EA-ME-FE. All of this information is written out on a Lab Catalog Record form along with the cataloger’s name and date.
  • After all of the artifacts are sorted, grouped and counted, each class is weighed and that information is recorded on a separate Artifact Inventory Form that records counts and weights for common Material Categories and Artifact Classes.
  • Following weighing, the cataloger creates a new plastic bag for each Material Category or Artifact Class and a new bag slip for each of these bags. The plastic bags record basic provenience information including the Field Catalog Number, Unit Coordinate, SC for Surface Collection or Exacavation for an excavation unit, the Artifact codes. Bag slips include this data in addition to the number of artifacts contained within the bag, weight and the number of bags created for the entire unit.

Plastic Bag

  • Once all the artifacts are sorted, weighed, counted and cataloged, the cataloger pulls the Artifact Control Card from the index file, records their name, the date, and total number of bags for the unit and level and refilled within the Lab Control Card index file.


Although the process may seem long, in practice t did not feel that way. I worked on a unit that had a high number of artifacts and spent at least 90 minutes on it. A lot of it was repetitive work, rewriting the Field Catalog Number and whatnot, but time flew by real quick. By the time I checked out another unit, I was genuinely shocked at how much time had passed by. Tedious the work may be and time consuming, but all for good measure.

This isn’t the type of lab work where where I was constantly checking the time, but rather was continually surprised when I did check the time to realize how much time had actually passed. It was easy to get lost in the work and just let my mind wander as I washed and sorted and cataloged.

Volunteering in the lab was also an opportunity to see a different side of archaeology. As undergraduate students, we have read endless archaeology-based articles and books related to a class or topic. We know the importance of field research and its role within the discipline. As field school students, we experienced this physical aspect and the great toll of doing archaeology (on sites?  The body?). Getting dirty is part of the job. As students in a lab, we saw the time commitment it takes to catalog everything in an easily tractable way. And it turns out, tedious isn’t so bad. It’s the little details that, although can make us go a little insane, helps stay sane in the long run.

Invitations, Relationships and Reality

We were waiting for Scott’s phone to download a video from “Epic Meal Time”, some extreme food show, when a tribal member came over to invite us to the plank house. During this specific week and weekend, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde was holding a Powwow to honor all Veterans. Although the main event would take place during the weekend, there were smaller, more intimate events going on for those who had come to camp out early. And because of this, I was personally shocked to have been invited. A couple of us forgot about Scott and his video (sorry Scott!) and literally jumped up to follow the tribal member to the plank house.

As soon as we entered, the smell of burning cedar greeted us. There was a small gathering of people sitting in the stands with a fire pit centered between them. We sat near the entrance, quietly but excited we all patiently waited for the ceremony to start. Others from our camp came a little after us, they at least got to see Scott’s video. And then, the event began.

We did our best to go along with the event. We stood up when everyone stood up and sat down when they all sat down. We had the chance to hear the history of the building, staring in awe at the size of the cedar pillars. They told creation and traditional stories throughout the event. We participated in a dance called the Heron dance. We would jog around the building and when a certain beat was made we had to stop immediately, go side to side, forward and when we leaned back we threw our hands in the air and shouted “Hey!”. I found it fun but also educationally and personally important that we went.

Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology is a community-based project, meaning that we have been working side by side on an equal pedestal with the help of community members. Although we are excavating the schoolhouse with the CTGR’s permission, we have been working closely only with a handful of tribal members. Attending this event gave us the opportunity to interact with different members, members who maybe weren’t so keen on outsiders coming, members who are hesitate about trusting archaeologists.

Often times, as school-oriented students, it can be easy to place history in an unreachable distance, making it harder to grasp the reality of it. For me, I can read all about archaeology and the methods and tools that come with it, but it’s a completely different experience when I go out into the field and put them in practice. And it was the same with learning about the history of the CTGR. It’s hard to actually understand a culture until you can interact with it. Words can only do so much and can only paint a mental image so detailed. Seeing it person, for me, was a reality check. I was reminded of them not completely trusting us as archaeologists, as one elder put it, he’s “watching us”. When he spoke these words, I could feel the long and deep distrust Native Americans have towards archaeology.  It was a reminder that the people whose presence we were in are descendants of the ones who went to the school house. This added to the amount of pressure on us. But also a served to remind us that what we are doing, working with the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, is a great honor. And it is important to be respectful.