Anthropology Research

High School ・Anthropology ・Chicago ・8 Sources


 According to Sabine and Antje, most museums and anthropological halls display the superiority of the various cultures, which existed long ago. Through this the anthropology analysis, one is able to observe some of the materials and illustrations that existed numerous years ago. Therefore, exhibition of Eastern Woodlands Indians and African Peoples comprises of materials and illustrations that existed for many decades ago. Some of these impressions and materials do attract tourists across the globe. With regard to this remarks, this paper seeks to conduct anthropological analysis of Eastern Woodland Indians and African Peoples.

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Eastern Woodlands Indians

 According to McElrath and Thomas (2012), Eastern Woodlands Indians was officially opened in 1966. The hall comprises of anthropological presentation of the Native Americans especially of Canada and Eastern United States as they were perceived to have existed before the time of the interaction with the Europeans. The hall comprises of a good number of artifacts from Eastern parts of Canada, as well as Southern United States[1].

 The hall consists of presentations of clothing, models, jewelry, ritual articles, games and musical objects, commemorative and legal documents, hunting, pottery, fishing, as well as other agricultural tools. There are graphics and texts that illustrate the communities which settled around southern United States and Canada practiced ritual practices, farming, metalwork, beadwork, pottery-making, transportation, and housing[2].

 The name ‘Eastern Woodlands’ was derived from a canopy team. It included a variety of native groups. These individuals did not isolate neither did they change their lives before their contact with the European in the 17th century. The hall also covers the lives of the five enlightened tribes of the southern United States and Canada; the Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole and chick saw. This tribes were dominant between the seaboards of Mississippi and southeastern. Due to the long distance travel led to intermarriage between individuals which brought changes in the Native American communities. The history of Native American did not begin due to the coming of Europeans[3]. The meeting of French Spanish, Dutch, and native American societies was an encounter that brought disadvantages to the local people since many lost their lives from the disease, violence enslavement and demoralization within the years of the coming of Europeans. Furthermore, the relationship between Native Americans and Europeans was not simple. In order to further their interest NativeAmericans entered trading alliance and military with the colonialists which became a successful policy until when” French and Indian wars” came to a close. Despite the intermarriage between native people and Europeans the native fought for independence though the enough was not friendly. The intermarriage brought cultural exchange with is witnessed to date[4].

 Based on the anthropological analysis of the hall, one can deduce that the findings of this exhibition prove that the societies relied on the environment for their immediate needs. For instance, clothing, which were directly made from the locally available materials. The activities of the society they relied on the primitive tools, which were made to satisfy their direct needs. For example, the farming tools, which were not sophisticated, and communities focused on the immediate needs only. Unlike other museums, the Eastern Woodland Indians focused on the anthropological as well as the historical account of the natives from the Canadaand Southern United States (McElrath and Thomas, 2012).

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African Peoples

 African Peoples is a hall that covered the whole continent by sub-diving it into four distinctive surroundings; mainly, forests, grasslands, deserts, and river regions. Each of these surroundings comprised of societies which were adapted to their immediate environment. From this point of view, one can infer that the hall sums up peoples’ customs and lifestyles from all over the world. The hall was officially opened in the year 1968 after it was filled with ecological accounts of practices, artifacts, as well as intercultural relations[5]. The hall comprises of a panorama presentation of Mbuti family gathering and hunting in Ituri forest. This and many other images in the hall demonstrate the sort of glamorized realism that one can observe. Nevertheless, the Mbuti pigmies of the Ituri forest were able to adapt both physically and socially to the environment of the forest. This is one of the unique features that most people are attracted to see in the hall. Once can observe the pigmies’ completion made them to move around their environments without being unnoticed. Therefore, one can highlight that the economy did not demand much since most of their tools were primitive and were only designed for hunting and cultivation of crops[6]

 Conversely, most of the features of the hall were attributed by nature; for instance, the social functioning of the communities were shaped by the social settings such as the mutual benefits between farmers and Masai headers of the East African grasslands. This mutual relationship served as a safety valve where each side of the community to expressed their opposition in order to reinforce their values and beliefs without reinstating their welfare[7]. These displays Africa as one of the human adaptation sites to social and natural environments mostly uncompromised by the Euro-American slave trade as well as colonial incursions[8].

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 Even though there are little manifestations of the colonial relationships, the logic that guides the exhibition of the hall emanates from the ecological thinking of the natural history as well as those of anthropologists. The functionalism of the ecological unit was attributed by the ecological thinking about the historical developments. The anthropologists between the period 1930 and 1960s perceived the societies to be fully functional[9]. These societies included India, Africa, South America, and Asia. It happens that most of these historical accounts are not covered in most books. However, each of these societies had an important role to play with regard to their customs and beliefs. It is as a result of these manifestations that the communities were able to preserve knowledge, and conduct themselves in the manner they did from one generation to the other. Even conflicts among the communities were also an important feature where one can see the cohesion of the communities over time.

 Based on the ethnographers’ analysis of the hall, one can also highlight some of the defects of functionalism of the societies’. These functionalisms gives a clear impression that most of the non-westerns values were not covered with history and had manifestations of capitalism and colonialism, migration, war and conflict, as well as non-European trade systems[10]. One can also see the importance of cultural practices with regards to the way the societies functioned.

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 Anthropological museums and halls are some of the important features that attracts tourist. Some of the items and historical accounts are not covered by most of the historical accounts. For instance, the history of the non-western is mostly not covered in many books. Therefore, Eastern Woodland Indians and African Peoples cultural halls give the historical context of the Native Americans and Indians’ way of life before Europeans came and after independence. One is able to know the cultural practices of Indians and Native Americans.

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"African Ethnographic Collection at AMNH | Anthropology."Our Research. Accessed September 21, 2017.

"Exhibition Review: Hall of African Peoples at the ANHM." The Latest Photography Insights, News and Events. Accessed September 21, 2017.

"Hall of African Peoples."AMNH.Accessed September 21, 2017.

"Human Origins and Cultural Halls."AMNH.Accessed September 21, 2017.

Mainfort, R. C., C. W. Cowan, and D. S. Brose. Societies in eclipse: Archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands Indians, A.D. 1400-1700. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2012.

McElrath, Dale L., and Thomas E. Emerson."Reenvisioning Eastern Woodlands Archaic Origins." Oxford Handbooks Online, 2012. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195380118.013.0037.

SMITH, JAMES G. "Leadership Among the Indians of the Northern Woodlands." Currents in Anthropology (n.d.), 305-324. doi:10.1515/9783110809299.305.

Tischew, Sabine, and Antje Lorenz."Spontaneous Development of Peri-Urban Woodlands in Lignite Mining Areas of Eastern Germany." Wild Urban Woodlands (n.d.), 163-180. doi:10.1007/3-540-26859-6_10.



[1]"African Ethnographic Collection at AMNH | Anthropology," Our Research, accessed September 21, 2017,

[2]"Exhibition Review: Hall of African Peoples at the ANHM," The Latest Photography Insights, News and Events, accessed September 21, 2017,

[3]"Hall of African Peoples," AMNH, accessed September 21, 2017,          

[4]"African Ethnographic Collection at AMNH | Anthropology," Our Research, accessed September 21, 2017,

[5]R. C. Mainfort, C. W. Cowan, and D. S. Brose, Societies in eclipse: Archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands Indians, A.D. 1400-1700(Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2012), 52.         

[6] "Human Origins and Cultural Halls," AMNH, accessed September 21, 2017,

[7]Dale L. McElrath and Thomas E. Emerson, "Reenvisioning Eastern Woodlands Archaic Origins," Oxford Handbooks Online, 2012, 58.

[8]"African Ethnographic Collection at AMNH | Anthropology," Our Research, accessed September 21, 2017,

[9]JAMES G. SMITH, "Leadership Among the Indians of the Northern Woodlands," Currents in Anthropology (n.d.), 97.

[10]Sabine Tischew and Antje Lorenz, "Spontaneous Development of Peri-Urban Woodlands in Lignite Mining Areas of Eastern Germany,"Wild Urban Woodlands (n.d.), 85.

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