Christopher Stojawski seeks to understand changes in social identities among Christianised Native Americans living within Franciscan missions during the Spanish colonial period. His vel contribution is attempting to reconstruct identity transformation through skeletal analysis within a microevolutionary framework. Key to this narrative is a detailed, contextual analysis of data gathered from mission cemetery remains of Apalachee, Timucua, and Guale individuals interpreted within broad historical trends and social theoretical constructions of ethnicity and ethgenesis. Stojawski's investigation of biological data gathered from these earlier groups may help scientists trace the ethgenesis of the present-day Semile tribe in Florida. Analyses suggest the native communities throughout rthern Florida and coastal Georgia were developing a common social identity by the end of the seventeenth century--a fact that allows for reinterpretation of eighteenth-century ideas about Semile origins. In this intriguing and controversial investigation, Stojawski strives to bridge the divide between the social world of humans and the biological aspects of our lives by linking patterns of past skeletal variation to patterns of group affinity and identification.
Christopher M. Stojanowski is coeditor of Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas .