DR. KATHLEEN L. HULL, San Jose State University, San Jose, California, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in November 2004 to aid research and writing on 'Hunter-Gatherer Demography and Culture Change in the Wake of Euroamerican Contact in Yosemite Valley, California.' This study is an historical anthropological analysis of the timing, magnitude, and cultural consequences of introduced fatal infectious diseases amongst the native people of North America during the colonial period. Using the Yosemite Indians of the Sierra Nevada of California as a case study, this research confronts the ongoing debate on the precedence and impact of non-native disease in colonial encounters in North America, and thereby challenges concepts of colonialism in anthropological archaeology. The dual aggressive forces of colonialism -- disease and physical incursion -- are considered separately in this case, focusing on native experience and decision-making in each circumstance as revealed through historical documents, native oral history, and original archaeological data. The Yosemite Indian case demonstrates that, contrary to some critiques of the posited scenario of catastrophic native depopulation in the Americas, epidemic disease did spread to and through hunting and gathering groups prior to face-to-face encounters with colonists. Conversely, this study also establishes that even widespread disease and catastrophic depopulation were insufficient to destabilize some, if not many, native cultures in the long term. Comparative data from other foraging peoples and agricultural tribes and chiefdoms elsewhere in North America are drawn upon to support these conclusions.
Hull, Kathleen. 2005. Pestilence and Persistence: Yosemite Indian Demography and Culture in Colonial California. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles.