Wanneh, Gawaso, 1881-1955

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Arthur C. Parker was born in 1881 on the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation of New York in western New York. He was the son of Frederick Ely Parker, who was one-half Seneca, and his wife Geneva Hortenese Griswold, of Scots-English-American descent, who taught school on the reservation. As the Seneca are a matrilineal nation, the young Parker did not have membership status at birth, as his mother was not part of the tribe, but he was descended from prominent Seneca, including the prophet Handsome Lake, through his father.

In 1903 Arthur was adopted into the tribe as an honorary member, when he was given the Seneca name Gawaso Wanneh (meaning "Big Snowsnake"). His grandfather Nicholson Henry Parker was an influential Seneca leader. As a youth, Arthur lived with Nicholson on his farm and was strongly influenced by him.

Arthur Parker was influenced by both the Seneca culture and the Christian missionary culture of his mother's family, and his social status of bridging peoples. He explored his Seneca lineage as a way of connecting himself to a powerful, symbolic past and integrating into twentieth-century American life.[4] Although his own family was Christian, he also witnessed followers of the Seneca prophet Handsome Lake, who had tried to resurrect traditional Seneca religion.

He was field archaeologist at the Peabody Museum in 1903; beginning 1906, he was archaeologist of the New York State Museum. In 1904, Parker was given a two-year position as ethnologist at the New York State Library, part of the New York State Education Department, and collected cultural data on the New York Iroquois. Then in 1906, he took a position as the first archaeologist at the New York State Museum (http://www.nysm.nysed.gov).

In 1911, together with the Native American physician Charles A. Eastman and others, he founded the Society of American Indians to help educate the public about Native Americans. From 1915 to 1920, he was the editor of the society's American Indian Magazine. In 1916, he was awarded the Cornplanter Medal.

In 1925 Parker became director of the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences, where he developed the museum holdings and its research in the emerging fields of anthropology, natural history, geology, biology, history and industry of the Genesee Region. During the 1930s and the Great Depression, he also directed the WPA-funded Indian Arts Project, which was sponsored by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.

In 1935, Parker was elected the first President of the Society for American Archaeology. In 1944, Parker helped found the National Congress of American Indians.

After retiring from directing the Rochester museum in 1946, Parker became very active in Indian affairs. He moved to Nunda-wah-oh, near present-day Naples, New York, where he felt his ancestors had lived. There he overlooked Canandaigua Lake. He died there on New Year's Day, 1955, aged 73.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Parker, Arthur Caswell. Arthur Caswell Parker Papers. 1915-1953. New York State Library
referencedIn Speck, Frank Gouldsmith. Frank Gouldsmith Speck Papers. 1903-1950. American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company. Houghton Mifflin Company reader reports on manuscripts submitted for publication. 1882-1931. Houghton Library
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Library. Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection. 1668-1983. American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Fenton, William Nelson. William N. Fenton Papers. 1933-2001. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Putnam, Frederic Ward, 1839-1915. Papers, 1807-1971 (bulk: 1855-1935) Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
referencedIn Houghton Library. Houghton Library printed book provenance file, L-Q. 1942. Houghton Library
referencedIn Pratt, Richard Henry. Richard Henry Pratt papers. 1862-1972. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Keppler, Joseph. Joseph Keppler Papers. 1882-1944. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Keppler, Udo Joseph. Joseph Keppler Jr. Iroquois papers. 1882-1944. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Parker, Arthur Caswell. Collection of historical papers. 1818-1952. Buffalo History Museum, Research Library
referencedIn Keppler, Joseph Jr. Joseph Keppler Jr. Iroquois papers. 1882-1944. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Parker, Arthur Caswell. Autograph postcard signed ACP to: WNF. February 15, 1937. Wellesley College
creatorOf Parker, Arthur Caswell. Appendix to last grand sachem of the Iroquois : typescript. 1919. Buffalo History Museum, Research Library
creatorOf Parker, Arthur Caswell. Addresses and article. 1951-1953. Buffalo History Museum, Research Library
creatorOf Society of American Indians. Records, 1911-1916. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Fenton, William Nelson. William N. Fenton Papers. 1933-2000. American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Pratt, Richard Henry. Richard Henry Pratt papers. 1862-1956. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Parker, Ely Samuel. Ely Samuel Parker Papers. 1794-1946. American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Wallace, Anthony Francis Clarke. Anthony F. C. Wallace Papers. 1920-2000. American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Wallace, Paul Anthony Wilson. Paul A. W. Wallace Papers. [ca. 1920]-1967. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Choate, Joseph Hodges. Letter : New York, N.Y., to John H. Stephens, Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. April 3, 1916. Newberry Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873 person
associatedWith Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820 person
associatedWith Beauchamp, William Martin, 1830-1925. person
associatedWith Beckwith, Samuel H. person
honoraryMemberOf Cattaraugus Indian Reservation. corporateBody
correspondedWith Choate, Joseph Hodges, 1832-1917. person
associatedWith Cooper, Thomas, 1759-1839 person
associatedWith Coues, Elliott, 1842-1899 person
associatedWith Cuvier, Georges, Baron, 1769-1832 person
associatedWith Darlington, William, 1782-1863 person
associatedWith Edison, Thomas A., (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931 person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955 person
associatedWith Everett, Edward, 1794-1865 person
associatedWith Fenton, William N. (William Nelson), 1908-2005 person
associatedWith Fitch, John person
correspondedWith Frederic Ward Putnam, 1813-1915 person
associatedWith Genth, F. A., (Frederick Augustus), 1820-1893 person
associatedWith Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 person
associatedWith Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872 person
associatedWith Harding, Warren G. person
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Jempson, Charles. person
associatedWith Keppler, Joseph. person
associatedWith Keppler, Udo J., 1872-1956. person
associatedWith Lewiston Investment Company of Niagara Falls, N.Y. corporateBody
associatedWith Morgan, Lewis Henry, 1818-1881. person
founderOf National Congress of American Indians corporateBody
associatedWith Newcomb, Simon person
associatedWith Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727 person
employeeOf New York State Library corporateBody
employeeOf New York State Museum corporateBody
associatedWith Noah, M. M. (Mordecai Manuel), 1785-1851. person
relativeOf Parker, Ely Samuel, 1828-1895. person
grandchildOf Parker, Nicholson H., 1819-1892. person
employeeOf Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University corporateBody
associatedWith Poinsett, Joel Roberts, 1779-1851 person
associatedWith Pratt, Richard Henry, 1840-1924. person
associatedWith Rittenhouse, David, 1732-1796 person
employeeOf Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences corporateBody
associatedWith Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813 person
associatedWith Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864 person
honoraryMemberOf Seneca Nation of New York person
associatedWith Seybert, Adam, 1773-1825 person
associatedWith Simon, Erasmus H. person
leaderOf Society for American Archaeology corporateBody
founderOf Society of American Indians corporateBody
associatedWith Society of American Indians. corporateBody
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Speck, Frank Gouldsmith, 1881-1950 person
associatedWith Stevens, Henry person
associatedWith Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872 person
associatedWith Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824 person
associatedWith Twenty-First Regiment Veteran Association of Buffalo, N.Y. corporateBody
associatedWith Udo J., Keppler 1872-1956. person
employeeOf United States. Army corporateBody
employeeOf United States. Commission of Indian Affairs. corporateBody
associatedWith Wallace, Anthony F. C., 1923- person
associatedWith Wallace, Paul A. W. person
associatedWith Waterton, Charles, 1782-1865 person
associatedWith Wayne, Anthony person
associatedWith White, Leslie A., 1900-1975. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cattaraugus Indian Reservation NY US
Cambridge MA US
Rochester NY US
Naples (N.Y.) NY US
Subject
Seneca Indians
Anthropologists
Indians of North America--Money
New York State
Iroquois Indians--Social life and customs
Iroquois Indians
Civil War, U. S., 1861-1865
Iroquoian languages
Historical museums
Centaur Statue (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Archaeologists
Handsome Lake Religion
Seneca Indians
Indians of North America
Army (United States)
Onondaga Indians
Interpretation (Philosophy)
Wampum
Iroquois Indians--Antiquities
Indians of North America--History--Study and teaching
Indians of North America
Learning and scholarship
Iroquois Indians--Fiction
Automobile ownership
Indians of North America--Government relations
Indians of North America--Material culture
Archaeological expeditions
Occupation
Museum Directors
Professor
Archaeologists
Folklorists
Authors
Indian agents
museologists
Reporters
Ethnologists
Historians
Activity

Person

Birth 1881-04-05

Death 1955-01-01

Male

Americans

English

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