Scarlet Macaws, Long-Distance Exchange, and Placemaking in the pre-Hispanic U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest

Exchange is a fundamental human behavior. While today, people rapidly exchange goods and information over great distances, in the past, long-distance exchange necessitated the mobilization of vast networks of interaction. Vibrantly colored scarlet macaws, which are native to the gulf coast of Mexico and Central and South America, are among the most engaging and challenging of objects to have been transported through these networks over hundreds of miles. This talk explores the long-distance acquisition, circulation, and use of scarlet macaws in the pre-Hispanic U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest, including the reasons for procuring these multifaceted animals, their significance in processes of placemaking and widespread social transformations, and their continued importance to descendant communities in this region.