Navigating regional landscapes with Jicarilla personal narrative

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Interpretation of how prehistoric hunter-gatherers may have charted the landscape they inhabited is often based on the physical materials left behind. The potential exists to interpret Jicarilla narratives as providing mental templates for movement through and perception of their environments. Personal narratives may have facilitated remembering significant paths and passing this knowledge on to others. These narratives are rich resources that inform our understanding of how the Jicarilla, and perhaps prehistoric plains people before them, may have perceived and travelled through the complex eco-corridors that buffered the Pueblos, extending onto the plains of northern New Mexico and southeastern Colorado. This chapter examines whether specific Jicarilla Apache narratives encoded navigation patterns within oral tradition. Personal hunting narratives are examined as pathfinding mechanisms. Creation stories and ceremonial landmarks mentioned in the text are treated as points of significance on the landscape. Cognitive maps were developed that reveal a series of patterned movements, which may prove insightful in interpreting prehistoric movement and spatial construction.


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