Research Manuscript Series

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Santa Clara, Calif. : Santa Clara University, Department of Anthropology and Sociology


Today, Santa Clara Valley consists of a modern industrialized environment distinguished by concrete, pavement and automobiles. These "innovations" made by modern technology began only recently. The environment and ecology of 200 years ago was extremely different from ours today. Filled with many native habitats, it thrived through the inter-dependance of all plant and animal species. In this study, I examine the characteristics of Santa Clara Valley in centuries past and today, in order to understand the vast number of resources which were available to the native inhabitants of the Santa Clara Basin. This paper has its base in cultural ecology, the study of the way in which the culture of a human group has responded and adapted to the natural resources of the environment as well as to the existence of other human groups. Therefore, although I take a strong biological approach to ecology, I will also attempt to see how human society and culture in the Santa Clara Valley developed in response to the environment. The perspective of this paper will not be limited to environmental determinism, which limits the form and structure of a culture to a few environmental factors; or to a reductionistic perspective, which would assert that there are no regularities in culture and that culture is not an adaptive system. The perspective this paper will take deals with the human ecology of Santa Clara Valley and the fundamental questions associated with the adaptation to the surrounding environment for food resources and the capability to use those resources.

Part of

Research Manuscript Series;4


Skowronek, Russell K.



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