The Western Basin Tradition - Algonquian or Iroquois? A 1992 Perspective
Publication Type:Conference Paper
For two decades, Canadian and American researchers have recognized an hitherto unknown, archaeological manifestation, which inhabited the lands surrounding the western end of Lake Erie between ca. 500 and 1300 AD. This group, originally called the Younge Tradition, and subsequently renamed the Western Basin Tradition, bas since caused a fury of controversy between some of these Canadian and Amer-ican researchers. The Murphy and Ferris; 'Algonquian / In Situ hypothesis', in the recently published Ontario Prehistory volume, has brought the Canadian view into perspective, as an alternative to the 'Iroquoian hypotesis' proposed by Stothers et al. The present paper will reaffirm the 'Iroquoian' perspective of die American contingent, drawing from multiple lines of mutually supportive data. The interpretation of these data sets seem to logically conclude that the Western Basin Tradition is a distinct cultural and ethnic entity, both in southwestern Ontario, and Michigan and Ohio, having no affiliation to or continuity with the contemporaneous Algonquian-speaking populations of the same region, known as the Sandusky Tradition. Rather, it is clear from the available data that the two existed in a state of conflict into historic times as members of the historic Neutral Confederacy and Fire Nation, respectively.