Ant 301 Unlv Oswalt vs. Denmore

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Of the authors of the two books studied both Oswalt and Densmore did actual fieldwork to gather data for their books. Oswalt’s only noticeable fieldwork, however, is the interview he had with Jonathan L. Buffalo, a Mesquakie historian. It would appear that the majority the information from the textbook simply stood on the shoulders of other previous ethnographies. Although he could interview the oldest peoples of the tribe, it could become tedious for a textbook chapter. Oswalt also omitted personal accounts of the Mesquakie people of today, but the modern Mesquakie people that he describes seem divided between the progressives and the conservatives. Buffalo seems to reflect an objective view of both the progressive and conservative viewpoints of all the Mesquakie. Therefore, the pattern would seem to be that he cuts to an objective view without relaying an entire chapter on the separate party politics. Densmore includes massive fieldwork and talked and worked with many natives. In fact, Densmore’s “informants” number more than 60 natives and peoples with information regarding Chippewa culture. It appears that her information of the time period is also very reliable. Although she does give a brief history of the Chippewa (which could be jaded through opinion), most of her accounts are simply objective information. It is possible her accounts could be tainted by the use of a translator, however she specifically defines the credentials of Mrs. Mary Warren English in the beginning if the volume. It is my opinion that both books are defined not only by their length, but also by their respective time periods. Oswalt has the advantage of being able to assimilate information from the time period that Densmore’s book takes place, but then is also able to follow up with the current condition of the tribe and the way they have adapted to “Longknife” society.…...

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