Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Gerald F. Schroedl

Committee Members

Jefferson Chapman, Michael H. Logan


Cherokee--Anglo-American culture contact during the Federal Period in eastern Tennessee is examined. This study attempts to understand the historic outcome of this particular contact situation by looking at the motivating normative beliefs underlying the actions of each culture. Also of interest is the identification of those core qualities of Cherokee culture that enabled survival of contact and extreme acculturation.

The Anglo-American culture was divided into two subcultures: the Federal Government and Frontier Settler. Both subcultures possessed distinctive beliefs and exhibited dissimilar patterns of behavior. The Cherokee studied embodied an eastern Tennessee regional subculture that was not necessarily reflective of the overall Cherokee ethnic and cultural group.

Analysis was oriented toward defining and discussing normative beliefs, behavior patterns, and patterns of material culture. Such analysis required both ethnohistoric and archaeological data bases. A structured set of questions was used to analyze historic documents in the collection of the Records of the Cherokee Indian Agency in Tennessee, 1801-1835. Proceeding with this analytic format, inferences of normative beliefs were made and patterns of behavior defined.

Analysis of archaeological remains representing the Cherokee, Federal Government, and Frontier Settler subcultures required the formulation of a quantitative classification scheme capable of incorporating both Native American and Euroamerican material elements. Quantitative artifact patterns were formulated for each subculture and then statistically tested to ascertain the degree to which they were related. This method also measured the degree of Cherokee material acculturation and gave insight into the frontier economic system.

Once normative beliefs, behavior patterns, and patterns of material culture were defined, the relationship of these categories within each culture was examined. One research objective was to understand the effect of normative beliefs on material culture and determine how the beliefs may be revealed by the archaeological record.

The dynamic interaction between the Cherokee and Anglo-Americans was analyzed from the perspective of the process of directed culture contact. Conditions characteristic of directed contact are defined and illustrated from the ethnohistoric and archaeological data.

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