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Persistence in Aurora, Nevada: Survival Strategies of the Northern Paiute
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Negotiation and agency are crucial topics of discussion, especially in areas of colonial and cultural entanglement in relation to indigenous groups. Studies of agency explore the changes, or lack thereof, in material culture use and expression in response to colonial intrusion and cultural entanglement. Agency studies, based on dominance and resistance, use material and documentary evidence on varying scales of analysis, such as group and individual scales. Agency also discusses how social aspects including gender, race, and socioeconomic status affect decision making practices. One alternative framework to this dichotomy is that of persistence, a framework that focuses on how identity and cultural practices were modified or preserved as they were passed on (Panich 2013: 107; Silliman 2009: 212). Using the definition of persistence as discussed by Lee Panich (2013), archaeological evidence surveyed from a group of historic Paiute sites located outside of the mining town, Aurora, Nevada, and historical documentation will be used to track potential persistence tactics. The focus will be on persistence tactics taken up by the Aurora Paiute population during the late nineteenth century, during the most prosperous points of Aurora’s heyday.