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Culture history cont'd

Finally, six of the last seven chapters address the emergence of historic peoples (see Map). The selection of groups, and the discussion of the selected groups, reflects archaeological history as much as, if not more than, chronological history. Contemporary political reality is generally avoided and there is no discussion of the role of archaeology in land claims. For example, Bruce Jamieson (Chapter 12) does not discuss the evidence that the St. Lawrence Iroquoians were, in fact, the Mohawk who live there today, a point which is central to several land claims and a source of ongoing civil unrest. Ramsden's summary statement on the Huron (Chapter 11) lumps all vaguely Iroquois-looking sites in south-central Ontario into "Huron". This is likely to become a legal issue as well, if the Huron of Lorette, Quebec, decide to press claims on their ancestral lands in Ontario.

As noted, other groups living in the lower Great Lakes are not discussed, a point on which Wright is also critical. The New York Iroquois and the Iroquoian-speaking Erie occupied the lands south of Lakes Ontario and Erie. These people crossed the lakes without difficulty in historic times and it is likely that some of them did so prehistorically as well.

The Kickapoo, Fox, Sauk and Pottawatomi lived west of Lake Huron, and speakers of various Ojibwa dialects were resident along the northern shores of Lake Huron and of Georgian Bay. Murphy and Ferris (Chapter 7) discuss the ethnic identity of the Western Basin Tradition in some detail and conclude, cautiously, that they may have been Algonquians. Since this term refers to a language superfamily which includes all languages, except for the Iroquoian tongues, in the whole of northeastern North America, "Algonquian" could refer to any or all of the groups named above. (The ethnic Algonquins live considerably north of the Great Lakes.)

The Mississauga, who occupied the Lake Erie shore by the 18th century and may have lived there earlier, are not mentioned in the Green Bible. We need a lot more work on these issues.

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