WEBINAR: Native American Life at Mission Santa Clara de Asis Rancheria with Dr. James Potter

Dr. James Potter Presents Webinar in Partnership with Crow Canyon Archaeological Center on Chronicle’s Work at California’s Mission Santa Clara de Asís

May 10, 2024

Dr. James Potter, Chronicle Heritage’s Director of Quality Assurance and a Principal Investigator, recently conducted a webinar in partnership with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in southwest Colorado on Chronicle’s recent excavations at the rancheria at Mission Santa Clara de Asís in California.

These excavations, which turned up finds including thousands of burned clamshell disk beads deposited in lots within pit features, have produced abundant and exciting data on the life of Native Americans in the context of missionization from A.D. 1790 to 1840. The dataset provides rare insight into the lifeways of Native Californians at the mission not represented in historical documents, particularly the persistence of some traditional practices.

Dr. Potter discusses a range of documented activities, including those conducted in private spaces in adobe domestic structures and those performed in more communal spaces, such as feasting and the performance of traditional mourning ceremonies. Food for such events was provided by matanzas, seasonal mass slaughters of cattle. These actions, with the exception of the matanzas, would have occurred in spaces hidden from the eyes of the mission’s padres, allowing for the persistence of Native practices and the creation, performance, and maintenance of a communal identity distinct from that realized in the more public spheres of mission life.

Check out the webinar on Youtube here.

Our deepest thanks to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center for hosting this webinar series.