|Abstract or Summary
- Franz Boas collected anthropometric data on approximately 15,000 people
from over 200 Native American tribal groups between 1888 and 1902. Twelve
basic measurements were taken: standing height, shoulder height, height to digit
III, arm span, sitting height, shoulder width, head length and width, face height and
breadth, and nose height and breadth. At the turn of the century, Boas was unable
to efficiently analyze these data. With computers now commonplace, several
investigations of the adult anthropometric data have been undertaken in recent
years; however, analysis of the child anthropometric data has not been undertaken.
This study analyzes child anthropometric data from Western North
America, giving special emphasis to children on the Siletz and Klamath
Reservations. More specifically, this study investigates the occurrence of
morphological differences in Native American children as a result of living within
the reservation system. It is well known that environmental factors play a crucial
role in child growth and development, and the effect of those factors can be measured through anthropometry. Differences in the growth and development of
the children on each reservation can be related to their unique histories.
An investigation of the literature and records kept by the Bureau of Indian
Affairs reveals differing socioeconomic conditions on the Siletz and Klamath
Reservations. Both reservations failed agriculturally, but while many Klamath
became successful in cattle raising and logging, the Siletz were unable to fully enter
these lucrative occupations. Additionally, the unratified treaties of many Siletz
tribes left the reservation without adequate support from the government, while the
Klamath received rations and supplies as stipulated by their ratified treaty.
Descriptive statistics and growth distance curves reveal that the Klamath are
shorter than the total sample of Western North American Indians, and the Siletz,
particularly the males, are shorter than the Klamath. The shorter stature is due to
the proportionately shorter legs of the Siletz, a finding that is consistent with other
studies of populations living in depressed socioeconomic conditions.