Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Places of Rituals and Every Day Practices

            Before this semester, I didn’t even know that Fort St. Joseph existed, let alone that it had such a rich history filled with many cultures. This history has come to include the Niles community, WMU’s archaeological field school and now, Dr. Nassaney’s  Anthropology in the Community class, even if our impact is a small (but mighty) one.
            This semester, my partner, Lakenia Payne, and I have been focusing our research efforts towards uncovering the unknown world of the special purpose architecture of Fort St. Joseph. While this includes buildings like barns and churches, to name a few, we’ve also expanded it to include temporary structures like tents and smoking huts, even the sweat lodges of the local Native Americans.
            While Lakenia is tackling temporary structures, my particular area of study is focused on the special purpose building that were permanent. One of my main interests within this is to uncover more about the church that may or may not have been at Fort St. Joseph, which was founded originally as a Jesuit mission. Because there has been little evidence of a church, besides a few religious artifacts and vague references in texts, examples of architecture from neighboring forts, such as Fort Pontchartrain and Fort Michilimackinac, have been very helpful.
            Our goal is to obtain a better understanding about the rituals and every day practices of those who inhabited Fort St. Joseph. What places did these people inhabit when not in their homes?  What distinguished these special buildings from the other architecture in the fort? Did anything distinguish them?
              If you would like to know answers to these questions and those posed by classmates, well, I guess that you’re just going to have to come to this year’s open house to find out.

Adrienne Andrus