Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Nedra K. Lee

Second Advisor

David B. Landon

Third Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski


In the 18th and 19th centuries, Indigenous peoples on Nantucket defied settler-colonial narratives of erasure. Native Americans negotiated the dynamics of racism by increasingly interacting with a rapidly developing free-Black population on the island. In the mid-18th century, a predominately Black racialized community established itself, in which many Native Americans, particularly Native women, began to reside. Among these Native women was Thankful Micah, a fifth-generation Wampanoag who married Seneca Boston, an African American man. Archaeological excavations at the Seneca Boston-Florence Higginbotham House have revealed evidence of Indigenous cultural material; however, Indigenous identity at the site and in the community has been under-studied. This thesis uses documentary and zooarchaeological data to understand the continued presence of Indigenous identity at the Boston-Higginbotham House. Using foodways as an entry point for discussing the reproduction of Indigeneity, this study analyzes the diet of Thankful Micah’s household to understand the intentional connections to the family’s Native and African American cultural heritage. This thesis discusses how dietary preferences and consumption patterns of certain hybridized Native, African, and Anglo-American foodways reinforce Indigeneity in this pluralistic space. By disrupting the narratives of erasure for Nantucket’s Indigenous people, this work reinforces to scholars and the public that Native women were critical social actors in the past who reproduced culture in the perpetuation of community persistence. Moreover, this work encourages scholars of Indigeneity to examine similarly racialized spaces for evidence of Native persistence.


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