The Ninth Clan—Exploring Apachean Origins in the Promontory Caves, Utah

September 16, 2015. University of Calgary Room ES 162. 7:30pm

Dr. Jack Ives, University of Alberta

Twentieth century anthropologist Julian Steward concluded in the 1930s that the Promontory Caves on Great Salt Lake, Utah, contained highly suggestive evidence that Navajo or Apache ancestors had lingered briefly in the eastern Great Basin on their way between Canada and the American Southwest. Compelling though Steward’s arguments were, comparatively few archaeologists took them seriously. Today we can use the astonishing array of perishable materials (including hundreds of moccasins, as well as mittens, other clothing, basketry, bows, arrows, and bison robes) from Steward’s as well as our own more recent excavations in the Promontory Caves to illustrate how Steward was indeed correct, and how Dene ancestors originally from the Subarctic had begun their transformation toward historic Navajo and Apache cultural identities.