Deerskins and domesticates: Creek subsistence and economic strategies in the historic period

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Previous research indicates that, following European colonization, animal husbandry did not replace hunting as the primary source of meat in the diet of southeastern Native Americans until the early nineteenth century. However, while the introduction of Eurasian domesticated animals had little immediate impact on the lives of indigenous peoples in the Southeast, the expansion of the European market economy had profound implications for the economic and subsistence strategies of Native Americans in all regions. In response to European demands for deerskins, furs, and other goods, Native Americans of the Southeast and elsewhere intensified exploitation of indigenous resources. The Creeks became one of the largest producers of deerskins for the European commodities trade in the Southeast. Ethnohistoric and zooarchaeological evidence indicates that the intensification of localized resource exploitation had a suppressive effect on the adoption of animal husbandry by the Creeks. It was only after the collapse of the deerskin trade in the Southeast that animal husbandry replaced hunting as the primary source of meat in the subsistence strategy of the Creeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-33
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology

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