The hypothesis examined in this paper is that the form of ecological adapatation and social organization of American Indian tribes in the post-contact and/or early reservation periods is predictive of the relative ranking of their crude and accidental mortality rates at present. It is suggested that semi- nomadic tribes are likely to have higher mortality rates than semi-sedentary and sedentary tribes as a result of the development of differing mechanisms of social control A primary mechanism of social control and conflict resolution among semi-nomadic populations, periodic dispersion, is no longer possible in the reservation situation whereas social control mechanisms among sedentary tribes are better suited to the present system. Fertility rates are ranked in the same fashion as mortality rates but are also highly correlated with infant mortality, which does not follow the same ranking as crude or accidental mortality. Changing fertility may result from a complex interaction of changing infant mortality—which is the result of contemporary soci-economic factors—and factors related to traditional forms of social organization and personality structure. While the rates are ranked as the hypothesis suggested they would be, available data do not permit an exploration of these factors or their interactions. The findings are more suggestive than definitive.
Kunitz, Stephen J.
"Fertility, Mortality, and Social Organization,"
2, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol48/iss2/10