This project explores how the indigenous people of North America and New Zealand utilize geothermal features. In particular, it aims to better understand the relationship of indigenous groups to the distinct geothermal activity that makes up their environments. To do so requires the examination of certain cultural and religious aspects. The Māori people of New Zealand have always had a deep-rooted cultural and spiritual connection to nature. Native American tribes who inhabited and visited the Yellowstone area also have mythology that connects them to the geothermal features of the environment. Both groups utilize thermal springs and other geothermal features as important cultural locations.

This research focuses on the Taupo Volcanic Zone on the northern island of New Zealand. This zone is an active geothermal area that has volcanic vents and geothermal fields that contain many types of hot springs and pools. These pools were used frequently by the Māori people for multiple purposes. The other location is Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, sections of which were used by the Shoshone Bannock. Yellowstone and the Taupo Volcanic Range have very similar geological formations including geysers, variations of hot springs, and fumaroles.

Data collection involved conducting interviews and visiting Yellowstone National Park to observe and collect observational data. The theoretical framework utilized is the revitalization theory introduced by A.F.C. Wallace.


Kardulias, Nick


Sociology and Anthropology


Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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