Before their interaction with the Spanish, the Native Americans had a rich history that dated back 10000 years ago by the 16th Century (Bullock Museum, 2018). Some of this history is preserved in the Bullock Museum in Texas. For eons, Texas had been the home of Native Americans who later diverged to other parts of the country that we now call the United States. In a move to better understand their ancient history, we visited the Bullock Museum on 12th February 2018 at 10.00 PM. I was in the company of 30 other students in my class. There were three instructors accompanying us to the tour of the museum. When we reached the entrance of the museum, we subdivided ourselves into three groups of ten students each. Every group had one instructor as the guide. The entry fee to the museum was subsidized for students. The museum staff at the entrance gave us a set of instructions and rules that would guide our conduct. They also gave us pamphlets that explained the history of the museum as well as its contents.
I was amazed by the wealth of artifacts that the museum had. At the entrance were three skulls of male water buffaloes and the details of each skull. However, I did not concentrate on this display since my interest was to study the ancient socio-economic history of the Native Americans. There were several sections in the museum dedicated to this purpose arranged in the order of timeline. I noticed an area dedicated for the agricultural tools and trade items. I quickly identified two artifacts that were relevant to my study: a mussel shell hoe and an abalone pendant. Each of these items had a peculiar history and was important in the study of the socio-economic activities of the Native Indians in before 1600.
A mussel shell hoe was an important farming tool used by the Caddo tribe living in Texas. The Caddo people were farmers who occupied large tracts of land in East Texas (Goebel, Waters, & O'rourke, 2008). However, they only farmed subsistence crops using primitive tools like the mussel shell hoe. The shell was attached to a handle and was very effective for tiling small pieces of land for planting corn and beans (Bullock Museum, 2018). The mussel shell hoe is an important historical artifact that explains the economic activities of the Caddo tribe in East Texas. The tribe did not interact very much with the outside world, and they lived confined in villages surrounded by a forest where they could hunt animals and gather honey and wild fruits (Goebel, Waters, & O'rourke, 2008). Like many other Native American tribes, the Caddo people were led by the women who carried out many chores to sustain the family and the clan (Goebel, Waters, & O'rourke, 2008).
The abalone pendant was located in a different place from the mussel shell hoe. This particular item caught my eye due to its glamor. It was a multicolored pendant that reflected light in different colors when viewed from various angles. The inscription on the item indicated that it came to Texas from the West Coast (Bullock Museum, 2018). The archeologist who discovered it opined that it was a tool of the trade that middlemen brought to Texan buyers from another place (Bullock Museum, 2018). It means, therefore, that the Native American tribes that did not engage in farming only traded amongst themselves in items such as the pendants.
Goebel, T., Waters, M. R., & O'rourke, D. H. (2008). The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas. Science, 319(5869), 1497-1502.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum. (2018). Retrieved from www.thestoryoftexas.com/ on 3/3/2018
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