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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Native Americans

A safe keeping place

Painting by Hilda Deutsch, Palouse Landscape, 1939.The path to reconcile relationships with Indigenous communities needs a modern digital platform.

Free, open source, and available as a mobile app, Mukurtu, a content management system created and maintained by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC) at Washington State University, intends to be that platform. » More …

Protein limits in prehistoric Pacific Coast diets

Salmon jumping upstream.Humans cannot live on protein alone—not even the ancient indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest whose diet was once thought to be almost all salmon.

In a new paper led by WSU anthropologist Shannon Tushingham, researchers document the many dietary solutions ancient Pacific Coast people in North America likely employed to avoid “salmon starvation,” a toxic and potentially fatal condition brought on by eating too much lean protein. » More …

Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers

Turkey feathers.“Blankets or robes made with turkey feathers as the insulating medium were widely used by Ancestral Pueblo people, but little is known about how they were made because so few such textiles have survived due to their perishable nature,” said Bill Lipe, emeritus professor of anthropology at WSU and lead author of a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Lipe and a team of archaeologists analyzed an approximately 800-year-old turkey feather blanket from » More …

The curation crisis

The Marmes RockshelterMore than 8,500 years ago, a group of people used a rock shelter at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers as a base camp. When rediscovered in the early 1950s, the shelter amazed scientists, including Washington State University archeologist Richard Daugherty, with its wealth of artifacts—and the age of its human remains. Named after the property owner at the time, the Marmes Rockshelter was soon inundated by waters from the recently closed Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake. Although a levee had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the shelter dry, the Corps neglected to take into account the layer of permeable gravel beneath the site. Within three days, it was all under water. » More …