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Social Organization and the Demographic Survival of the Tolowa

Russell Thornton
Ethnohistory
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Summer, 1984), pp. 187-196
Published by: Duke University Press
DOI: 10.2307/482620
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/482620
Page Count: 10
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Social Organization and the Demographic Survival of the Tolowa
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Abstract

Between European contact and 1890, several million American Indians in what is now the United States were reduced to fewer than 250,000. Since then, the American Indian population has partially recovered and was enumerated at 1,418,195 in the 1980 census. During this period some American Indian tribes became extinct while others obviously survived. Survival or extinction does not seem to have been a mere result of depopulation experiences, however; similar events culminated differently for different tribes. Understanding what led to tribal differences in survival is important in American Indian population history. As a step towards this, a demographic history of the Tolowa Indians is presented from scholarly reports and oral traditions. It illustrates that features of tribal organization were important in their recovery from severe population reduction and ultimate survival to today.

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