Comments on Richard O. Clemmer, ?Pristine Aborigines or Victims of Progress? The Western Shoshones in the Anthropological Imagination"
This document includes “Aborigines or Victims of Progress? The Western Shoshones in the Anthropological Imagination” by Richard O. Clemmer, and John H. Bodley's comments on the article. The abstract for Clemmer's article reads: "In the anthropological literature, the Western Shoshones as presented by Julian Steward loom large as a group of people who adapted as best they could to scarce resources in the high interior desert areas of North America: Utah and Nevada. Steward’s work has become entrenched and enshrined as unassailable, at least from a methodological point of view. I suggest that Steward’s Shoshones are an example of a tradition that has become entrenched in the discipline of anthropology, resulting in its constant replication as a form of particular intellectual authority despite the development of new approaches. Attention is focused on Steward’s actual data and the historical circumstances that produced them. In light of these historical circumstances, it might be more accurate to conceptualize Steward’s Shoshones as “victims of progress” than as a pristine group of hunter-gather-foragers. Examination of three cases of Western Shoshone subsistence along the Humboldt River in 1828–1829, Ruby Valley and vicinity in the 1860s, and the mountains and valleys of south-central Nevada in the 1860s and 1870s supports and illustrates this point."