The Roots of Dependency: Subsistance, Environment, and by Richard White

By Richard White

Bargains a research of the cave in into 'dependency' of 3 local American subsistence economies that represents the simplest type of interdisciplinary attempt.

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Additional resources for The Roots of Dependency: Subsistance, Environment, and Social Change among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos

Sample text

Assuming an average requirement of 2 ,500 calories per person per day, corn alone could have provided about two-th irds of the total calories the Choctaws needed. 2 0 Since these figures also assume that the Choctaws were farming on ly their best lands , some calculation which takes into account the extent of th is land as well as the necessity for fallow lands is also necessary . An examination of the town of Tala, regarded as densely settled in 1 795 , \Vith its population of 343 , is instructi ve .

Rfh e immediate cau se was lack o f game, but they probably had to rely o n game because of a c r o p failure . This list of droughts and other d i sasters , th o u g h long, i s certai nly i ncomplete, pa r ti c ula r l y fo r the fi rst t h i r ty years o f the ei ghteen th century , when relatively few Eu ro­ peans visited the n a tio n . 30 Choctaw Subsistence 29 A summer d rought had to last for only a few weeks to severely red uce yields if it occurred at certain times in the growing cycle .

I n 1 7 1 7 intertribal wars d isrupted harvests. These wars may h ave been con fined to t h e coast, but certainly the earlier slaving wars had sim il ar e ffects on the Choctaws. I n 1 7 3 2 a hurricane caused widespread crop dan1age , bu t \vh ethe r it reached the Choctaws is not known. I n 1 7 34 the Choctaw corn crop de finitely failed from drought, and in 1 7 3 7 it \Vas very poor because of worm s and hot winds . 29 The late 1 7 7 0s \vas the beginning of a prolonged period of sporadically poor crops.

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