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The KASHAYA POMO INTERPRETIVE TRAIL PROJECT

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RECENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS: A SYMPOSIUM DEDICATED TO FRITZ RIDDELL, LEE MOTZ, AND NORM WILSON 179
Proceedings of the Society for California Archaeology, Volume 17, 2004, pp 179-182
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KENT G. LIGHTFOOT, OTIS PARRISH, AND EDWARD M. LUBY
This paper explores the creation of an interpretive trail detailing the culture history of the Kashaya Pomo tribe and their encounters with
the Russian colony of Fort Ross (1812-1841). Situated in the Fort Ross State Historic Park in Sonoma County, the proposed interpretive
trail offers an exceptional opportunity for the public to view the archaeological remains of a multi-ethnic colonial community, and to
understand how the first mercantile colony in California impacted local Indian peoples. The project is a collaborative effort of California
State Parks, the Kashaya Pomo tribe, Caltrans, UC Berkeley, and SFSU. The purpose of the paper is to address several critical issues
involving the development of the interpretive program. A significant challenge is the presentation of multiple histories of Fort Ross
derived from archaeological research, native oral traditions, and archival documents. Another challenge is the public viewing of
archaeological remains — is it possible to interpret and protect archaeological sites at the same time? What are the best mediums for
conveying information to the public while walking the interpretive trail? An important issue is how to develop an efficient interpretive
program that is cost effective in light of the current economic recession.
Kent G. Lightfoot, Archaeological Research Facility, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
Otis Parrish, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
Edward M. Luby, Museum Studies Program, San Francisco State University
This paper introduces a proposed interpretive
trail in the Fort Ross State Historic Park that
highlights the culture history of the Kashaya
Pomo and their encounters with the Russian
mercantile enterprise of Colony Ross (1812-1841) and
other colonists. The goal of the interpretive trail is to
employ archaeological information, archival sources,
and native narratives to tell multiple stories of the
entanglements that took place between the Kashaya
Pomo and successive waves of foreigners. The
Russian-American Company, a commercial monopoly
representing Russias interest in the lucrative North
Pacific fur trade, established Colony Ross in 1812 in
the heart of Kashaya territory along the coastal stretch
of what is now western Sonoma County. For the next
29 years, Russian merchants and their multi-ethnic
workforce hunted sea otters along the northern
California coast, raised crops and livestock, and
established a small manufacturing center to produce
goods for trade with the Franciscan missions in Alta
California. The Russians exploited local Indians as
manual laborers and as spouses for the colonial
workforce. When the Russian closed their California
colony in 1841, the Kashaya encountered new colonists
with the founding of Mexican ranchos and the
subsequent migration of Euro-American ranchers into
the area.
Recent archaeological research is addressing the
long-term implications that colonialism has had on the
Kashaya Pomo people. Through the collaborative
efforts of the California Department of Parks and
Recreation, the Kashaya Pomo Tribe, the University
of California at Berkeley, and CALTRANS, a growing
corpus of archaeological work is presenting new
insights on the ancient and recent histories of the
Kashaya (Dowdall and Parrish 2003; Farris 1989, 1997;
Lightfoot, et al. 1997; Parkman 1993, 1996/1997;
Parrish, et al. 2000). The idea of developing an
interpretive trail grew out of the archaeological
research and discussions with Kashaya tribal scholars
and elders. An exceptional opportunity exists to tell
the stories of what happened to native peoples who
were incorporated into the first mercantile colony in
California. By employing the rich archaeological
record, native oral traditions, and Company documents
we can vividly show how the Kashaya Pomos multi-
ethnic experiences and laboring practices produced
material innovations and cultural transformations 
how they adopted new foods and artifact forms,
labored in agricultural pursuits and manufacturing
activities, interacted with diverse peoples from across
the North Pacific, and established inter-ethnic
households comprised of native women and colonial
men. We can also show how the Kashaya maintained a
strong sense of Indian values and meanings that
continued to direct their lives throughout their
encounters with colonists.
The proposed interpretive trail builds upon one
our most significant findings. Within a 1½ mile radius
of the Fort Ross Visitors Center are found a diverse
range of Kashaya Pomo sites nestled among some of
the most spectacular coastal scenery in California.
180 PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY FOR CALIFORNIA A RCHAEOLOGY, VOL. 17, 2004
These include shell middens, lithic scatters, cupule
rocks, and village sites that vary in age from the oldest
(6000-8000 B.P.) to the youngest sites in the park.
Other archaeological sites illustrate the various work
areas and residential places of the pluralistic work
force of Colony Ross (Russians, Native Alaskans,
Kashaya and other Native Californian peoples), as well
as later Mexican and American period ranchers.
The creation of the interpretive trail will appeal to
park visitors for two reasons. First, the current
interpretive program at the Fort Ross State Historic
Park emphasizes a Russian history of Colony Ross with
its reconstructed stockade and buildings where the
elite Russian managers resided. The interpretive trail
will take park visitors beyond the stockade walls to
walk in the hinterland of the colony where working-
class Russians, Creoles (people of mixed Russian/
Indian ancestry), Native Alaskans, and Kashaya Pomo
lived and labored. Second, there are very few places in
California where the public can view interpreted
archaeological sites. We will broaden the scope and
experience of park visitors by featuring a diverse range
of archaeological sites that present a flow of history
from the earliest prehistoric sites to the interactions
that the Kashaya had with the multi-ethnic peoples of
Colony Ross and later ranchers.
With support from the California State Parks, the
Kashaya Pomo tribal council, the California Council
for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the
Humanities, and the Archaeological Research Facility
at UC Berkeley we will develop a master plan for the
Kashaya Pomo Interpretive Trail this summer. A
summer field school in the Fort Ross State Historic
Park will carry out the following three tasks.
The first task is the training of Kashaya Pomo and
UC Berkeley students in the practice of archaeology.
A coordinated team of Kashaya and Berkeley students
will work on the interpretative plan for several sites
along the trail system. The field program will not only
provide training in archaeological field techniques and
the methods of site interpretation, but it will
emphasize to both Indian and non-Indian participants
the crucial importance of collaborative research.
The second task will be to collect narratives of
Kashaya Pomo history. A very rich oral tradition exists
among the elderly generation of tribal members, and
this corpus of stories is a powerful source for examining
how colonialism impacted the Kashaya people, and
how they negotiated and survived colonial encounters
over multiple generations. These stories represent a
living oral history of the Kashaya Pomo community
one which defines who they are and how they have
maintained a strong tribal identity despite many
decades of challenges and difficulties resulting from
colonial oppression, loss of land, racial abuse,
exploitation as laborers, and disease. However, outside
of Robert Oswalts (1966) pioneering work in the
1950s, few of these stories have been recorded and
transcribed. The oral tradition that plays such an
important role in defining the Kashaya Pomo
community is being lost as the current generation of
elders disappear. We have identified six elders Violet
Parrish Chappell, Adrian Franklin, Leslie Marrufo,
Lester Pinola, Ina Scott, Vivian Wilder  who are
experts in the language, cultural practices, history, and
oral traditions of the Kashaya Pomo tribe.
Representing a total of almost 500 years of Kashaya
experiences, they were raised at the Stewarts Point
Rancheria and grew up speaking their language,
participating in feasts, ceremonies, and dances, and
listening to their parents and grandparents tell stories
that had been handed down about Fort Ross.
In addition to presenting native narratives, the
Kashaya elders will also be consulted about the
archaeological sites included on the trail and where to
place interpretive stops in telling the culture history of
the Kashaya Pomo tribe. A critical component of this
work is identifying sites that may contain sacred or
sensitive remains that should not be part of a public
interpretation program. Kashaya and Berkeley
students will work with the native elders to produce
memory mapsspatial representations of memories
and stories of the past and present as told about
specific geographical places along the trail system.
The third task is to consult with various experts on
the logistics of constructing the trail and the best
mediums for conveying information to the public.
California, State Park, CALTRANS, and museum
specialists will be brought up to field school to
participate in workshops with tribal elders and
archaeologists.
In developing a master plan for the interpretative trail
we recognize three significant challenges.
1. How do we develop an interpretive program that provides
public interpretation and access to archaeological sites in
a state park, yet also provides for the long-term protection
and stewardship of these cultural resources? The inclusion
of archaeological sites (especially those relating to Native
American ancestry) on interpretive trails is rare in
California. In part this stems from a real concern to
protect the location of sites from the public to prevent
looting and vandalism. It also stems from some Native
California tribes who have voiced concern about public
access to ancestral sites. Fort Ross State Historic Park
RECENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS: A SYMPOSIUM DEDICATED TO FRITZ RIDDELL, LEE MOTZ, AND NORM WILSON 181
provides a unique opportunity to showcase a very rich and
diverse archaeological record in full coordination with the
Kashaya Pomo tribal council. But the challenge remains:
how can we both interpret and protect cultural remains in
a way that allows the public to enjoy and experience the
archaeological record.
2. Another challenge is that of presenting multiple histories
based on different lines of evidence drawn from archival
documents of the Russian-American Company and other
European accounts, native oral traditions, and
archaeological research. An exciting part of the
collaborative effort is working with tribal members in
presenting alternative histories of the Kashaya Pomo
and Colony Ross to the public. For example, we may
want to interpret an archaeological site from the
perspective of a Kashaya Pomo story, from Company
documents, and from archaeological findings. We
recognize that different historical perspectives may be
generated from these sources and that a more balanced
and sophisticated interpretation may result from their
inclusion in the interpretive narrative. But a major
challenge is how to employ these diverse sources in our
interpretive program without making the story so complex
that we lose our targeted audience. Workshops with
Kashaya elders, interpretive specialists, and archaeologists
will take place to explore how these alternative historical
scenarios might be presented to the public.
3. The final challenge is developing the nuts and bolts of
the trail  how do we present these multiple or alternative
histories to the public? James Clifford (1997) recently
wrote in his book, Routes: Travel and Translation in the
Late Twentieth Century, that any interpretation of native
history in the Fort Ross State Historic Park will pale in
comparison to the imposing reconstructed Russian
stockade. The Kashaya elders have already rejected the
idea of reconstructing or rebuilding a full scale Kashaya
Pomo village in the park, arguing that they do not want
to denigrate Kashaya history by turning it into a Disney
or Kashaya land. We have considered the possibility of
exposing features and stratigraphy of selected
archaeological sites to public view, but this is probably
unrealistic given the current budgetary situation and the
challenges of maintaining such exposures over time.
One viable option is the placement of permanent panels
containing texts, maps, and pictures along the trail system.
But probably the simplest and least costly option
is to place numbered posts along the trail. While at
first discounting the numbered post option as
outdated, we will be giving it serious thought this
summer in our meeting with various museum and
interpretive specialists. Not only is it the least costly
solution, which is an important factor given the dire
outlook for the states economy, but it is the least
obtrusive in presenting the broader archaeological
landscape to the public. It also represents a flexible
system with numbered posts keyed to a pamphlet and/
or booklet that can be readily updated. Furthermore,
as Barbara Bendera noted archaeologist and expert
on cultural landscapesrecently stressed to us,
multiple pamphlets may be produced that present
alternative histories or different memory maps of
Kashaya elders. Finally, numbered posts may be
incorporated into the cutting edge of archaeological
interpretation given the rapid development of wireless
computer technology that could allow us to develop a
web site for the trail that will take connected visitors
on simultaneous real and virtual walk into the
archaeological landscape.
Since the presentation of this paper at the Society
for California Archaeology meeting in March 2003, the
field school proposed for the summer of 2003 had to be
canceled when two key members of the research team
were immobilized by injuries/illness. The field
program has been rescheduled for a four week period
for the summer of 2004 (first four weeks of June), and
we invite you to come up to Fort Ross to assess our
progress in developing the master plan of the Kashaya
Pomo Interpretive Trail.
REFERENCES
Clifford, J.
1997 Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth
Century. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Dowdall, K. M. and O. Parrish
2003 A Meaningful Disturbance of the Earth. Journal
of Social Archaeology 3(1):99-133.
Farris, G. J.
1989 The Russian Imprint on the Colonization of
California. In Columbian Consequences, Volume 1:
Archaeological and Historical Perspectives on the
Spanish Borderlands West, edited by D. H. Thomas,
pp. 481-498. Smithsonian Institution Press,
Washington, D.C.
1997 The Age of Russian Imperialism in the North
Pacific. In The Archaeology of Russian Colonialism
in the North and Tropical Pacific, edited by P. R.
Mills and A. Martinez, pp. 187-194. Kroeber
Anthropological Society Papers No. 81. Kroeber
Anthropological Society, Berkeley.
182 PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY FOR CALIFORNIA A RCHAEOLOGY, VOL. 17, 2004
Lightfoot, K. G., A. M. Schiff and T. A. Wake
1997 The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Fort Ross,
California. Volume 2: The Native Alaskan
Neighborhood: A Multiethnic Community at Colony
Ross. Contributions of the University of California
Archaeological Facility No. 55. Archaeological
Research Facility, Berkeley, California.
Oswalt, R. L.
1966 Kashaya Texts. University of California
Publications in Linguistics 36. University of
California, Berkeley, California.
Parkman, E. B.
1993 Preserving the Fort Ross Archaeological Record.
Paper presented at the Society for California
Archaeology Meeting, Pacific Grove, California.
1996/1997 Fort and Settlement: Interpreting the
Past at Fort Ross State Historic Park. California
History 75(4):354 -369.
Parrish, O., D. Murley, R. Jewett and K. Lightfoot
2000 The Science of Archaeology and the Response
from Within Native California: The Archaeology
and Ethnohistory of Me?tini Village in the Fort
Ross State Historic Park. Proceedings of the Society
for California Archaeology 13:84-87.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Prologue: In Medias Res TRAVELS Traveling Cultures A Ghost among Melanesians Spatial Practices: Fieldwork, Travel, and the Disciplining of Anthropology CONTACTS Four Northwest Coast Museums: Travel Reflections Paradise Museums as Contact Zones Palenque Log FUTURES Year of the Ram: Honolulu, February 2, 1991 Diasporas Immigrant Fort Ross Meditation Notes References Sources Acknowledgments Index
Book
In this collage of essays, meditations, poems, and travel reports, Clifford takes travel and its difficult companion, translation, as openings into a complex modernity. He contemplates a world ever more connected yet not homogeneous, a global history proceeding from the fraught legacies of exploration, colonization, capitalist expansion, immigration, labor mobility, and tourism. Ranging from Highland New Guinea to northern California, from Vancouver to London, he probes current approaches to the interpretation and display of non-Western arts and cultures. Wherever people and things cross paths and where institutional forces work to discipline unruly encounters, Clifford's concern is with struggles to displace stereotypes, to recognize divergent histories, to sustain dqpostcolonialdq and dqtribaldq identities in contexts of domination and globalization. Travel, diaspora, border crossing, self-location, the making of homes away from home: these are transcultural predicaments for the late twentieth century. The map that might account for them, the history of an entangled modernity, emerges here as an unfinished series of paths and negotiations, leading in many directions while returning again and again to the struggles and arts of cultural encounter, the impossible, inescapable tasks of translation.
Article
In this article, we provide an example of what we consider to be a productive archaeological collaboration between a State Agency and a Native American tribe that we believe has both theoretical and methodological implications. Our work implements and extends Hodder's reflexive method (1999) through the use of inclusivity, reciprocity and mutual respect. We describe how coupling our mutual regard for knowledge of the past with our respect for the spiritual significance of the Kashaya landscape necessarily led to the breaking down of boundaries between the scientific, the sacred and the personal. A 1997 excavation provides a case study of our collabora- tive process. We conclude by suggesting that the space between the usual oppositions of secular and sacred, science and religion, expla- nation and understanding, holds promise for Native Americans and archaeologists to participate with each other in non-dichotomous and mutually beneficial ways.
The Russian Imprint on the Colonization of California
  • G J Farris
Farris, G. J. 1989 The Russian Imprint on the Colonization of California. In Columbian Consequences, Volume 1: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives on the Spanish Borderlands West, edited by D. H. Thomas, pp. 481-498. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
Wake 1997 The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Fort Ross, California The Native Alaskan Neighborhood: A Multiethnic Community at Colony Ross. Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Facility No. 55
  • K G Lightfoot
  • A M Schiff
Lightfoot, K. G., A. M. Schiff and T. A. Wake 1997 The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Fort Ross, California. Volume 2: The Native Alaskan Neighborhood: A Multiethnic Community at Colony Ross. Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Facility No. 55. Archaeological Research Facility, Berkeley, California.
Kashaya Texts. University of California Publications in Linguistics 36
  • R L Oswalt
Oswalt, R. L. 1966 Kashaya Texts. University of California Publications in Linguistics 36. University of California, Berkeley, California.
Preserving the Fort Ross Archaeological Record. Paper presented at the Society for California Archaeology Meeting
Preserving the Fort Ross Archaeological Record. Paper presented at the Society for California Archaeology Meeting, Pacific Grove, California. 1996/1997 Fort and Settlement: Interpreting the Past at Fort Ross State Historic Park. California History 75(4):354 -369.
The Native Alaskan Neighborhood: A Multiethnic Community at Colony Ross. Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Facility No. 55
  • K G Lightfoot
  • A M Schiff
  • T A Wake
Lightfoot, K. G., A. M. Schiff and T. A. Wake 1997 The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Fort Ross, California. Volume 2: The Native Alaskan Neighborhood: A Multiethnic Community at Colony Ross. Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Facility No. 55. Archaeological Research Facility, Berkeley, California.