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9859 - Paths to Constituitive Diversity

The Seminole Indians of Florida came into existence through the mixing of Muscogee Native Americans with Choctaw, Yamasee and other Native Americans, as well as escaped slaves of African origin and a few European derived settlers. Their current situation is as divided as their origins, although largely along different lines. The intermixing of two or more populations of different cultures and with distinct biological histories the is most obvious manifestation of the subject of this symposium, but there are other examples of cultural and biological diversity within the make-up a group now considered as a single tribe, or nation, or ethnic group. The lowland Quichua of eastern Ecuador are generally considered as one people, because they share a language and look similar, but their origins are in diverse linguistic groups of western Amazonia, who were, nevertheless, genetically similar. The Barí of Venezuela and Colombia show only slight genetic admixture with surrounding populations, but experienced a period of mission captivity around 1800 during which their culture was influenced in various ways by Spanish practices. The Waorani of Ecuador apparently adopted “foreign” culture traits from neighboring people with whom they were at war simply by observing them in secret. It is likely that most current labels for tribes and ethnic groups gloss over considerable diversity in origin of both genetic and cultural traits.

Keywords: diversity, South America, Ethnogenesis

Author: Beckerman, Stephen (Pennsylvania State University, Ud States of Am / USA)

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