Indigenous Studies and Cultural Diversity
Online ISSN : 2758-1012
Maritime Technologies and Coastal Identities: Seafaring and Social Complexity in Indigenous California and Hokkaido
Mikael FauvelleShiro SasakiPeter Jordan
ジャーナル オープンアクセス

2024 年 1 巻 2 号 p. 30-52


Complex watercraft were central to the functioning of many Indigenous coastal and island communities around the world. These communities, however, are often assumed to be small-scale bounded social entities adapted to local ecosystems, especially in comparison to land-based agricultural societies, states, and empires. In this paper we seek to understand how regional interactions helped create and sustain systems of Indigenous social and cultural diversity by taking a fresh and comparative look at the “active” role played by local boatbuilding traditions in the networks and social dynamics of Indigenous coastal communities. We argue that one critical yet often overlooked aspect of the use of watercraft is the capacity for advanced boat technologies to have “transformative” impacts on local communities by creating new kinds of social relations and networking opportunities. In this paper we undertake a comparative analysis of two Indigenous boat-building traditions, one in southern California and the other in Northeast Asia. We examine how innovation in maritime watercraft technology contributed to the formation of wide-ranging interaction spheres where participation by Indigenous communities helped shape the history of the wider region. We suggest that innovations in boat technologies led to positive-feedback loops of social intensification which significantly contributed to the historical trajectories of both world regions.

© 2024 Hokkaido University GI-CoRE Global Station for Indigenous Studies and Cultural Diversity
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