This chapter introduces the book with a discussion of culture contact dynamics and the need to investigate these questions in complex non-state societies. The spread of Cahokia’s influence through both direct and indirect interaction across the Midcontinent, had diverse outcomes in different regions. Mississippianization was a historical process whereby Woodland peoples had the agency to resist or participate in Cahokian practices and did so with reference to their own identities and traditions. Within this framework, the chapter lays out the following research questions: 1) did the Lower Illinois River Valley’s (LIRV) proximity to Cahokia enable certain social, political, and economic interactions with American Bottom groups that did not transpire with more distant groups; and 2) how did these interactions impact the social organization and daily practices of groups in the LIRV?
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