Date of Graduation

Summer 2012


Master of Science in Applied Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Sobel


Osage Nation, Native American, trade beads, indigenous agency, cultural continuity, cultural change, colonial period, contingency table, diversity index

Subject Categories



Previous archaeological studies characterize post-contact Osage cultural development as a process of inevitable change due to Osage adoption of European culture. The lack of discussion about cultural continuity and indigenous agency is problematic because it minimizes the Osages' role in their own cultural development. This problem is addressed through a study of archaeologically recovered glass beads from four post-contact Osage sites in Missouri: the Brown, Plattner, Carrington, and Hayes sites. Contingency table analyses and diversity indices of the bead data are used to test two hypotheses generated by the cultural change framework. Hypothesis 1 posits that Osage people used higher proportions of European goods over time. Hypothesis 2 posits that Osage bead style preferences changed over time. The test of Hypothesis 1 indicates that over time, the Osage did not necessarily use higher proportions of European-made glass beads compared to Native-manufactured strung ornaments. The test of Hypothesis 2 suggests that Little Osage bead color preferences changed over time while Big Osage preferences remained similar. These results show that continuity as well as change characterized Osage culture during the colonial period. These findings point to Osage agency as an important force shaping post-contact Osage cultural dynamics.


© John Albert Fox

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