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ASU doctoral student wins competition

December 15, 2006

Rex Weeks, a doctoral-level student in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, won the competition for Best Student Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Archaeological Conference, held in Urbana, Ill.

His paper took on issues in a heated debate in the anthropology of Native American peoples of the northeastern United States, and it gives clear credibility to Native American's own understandings of their religious history compared to a recent interpretation made by some anthropologists.

Weeks' paper, titled “Notes on the Pre-contact Origins of the Midewiwin,” inferred from strong archaeological evidence the pre-European contact antiquity of the “Grand Medicine Society,” or Midewiwin, of native peoples of the northern Eastern Woodlands: the Anishinaabeg. The Midewiwin stands at the heart and soul of the Anishinaabeg and their culture.

Recent anthropological thought on the Midewiwin as a post-contact revitalization religious movement in response to European intrusions has been distasteful to Anishinaabeg peoples. Weeks' paper helps to set the record straight.

As part of the award, Weeks' paper will be published in the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology. Weeks also was given a long bookshelf of publications on Eastern Woodlands archaeology, worth more than $1,500.