Cahokian culture spread across eastern North America 1,000 years ago in an early example of diaspora

Cahokian culture spread across eastern North America 1,000 years ago in an early example of diaspora

Did the Cahokians create Mississippian culture as they moved outward from their homeland, bringing their artifacts and ideas with them? Or did Cahokians spread across the Midwest and Southeast, meeting new communities and sharing ideas along the way, eventually helping form Mississippian culture through a kind of melting-pot process? …

Whatever their motives, as Cahokian citizens spread out from St. Louis and migrated throughout the woodlands east of the Mississippi River, they carried their culture with them. Sometimes these were unique artifacts, like particular ceramics typical of their region. But they also brought with them specific cultural constructs, like their beliefs in the ordering of the cosmos and relationships between the upper and lower worlds. …

The broader anthropological implication of our Cahokian research is the reminder it provides across the centuries that migration and identity are an ongoing process by which individuals and communities make and remake themselves, all while remembering their homeland and adapting to a new one. This process describes the complexities of living in the diaspora, and it is as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago.

By Jayur Mehta, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Florida State University

Read Article