Frank Hamilton Cushing July 22, 1857- April 10, 1900 was born in Northeastern Pennsylvania, later moving with his family to western New York. As a boy he took an interest in the Native American artifacts in the surrounding countryside and taught himself how to knap flint (make arrowheads and such from flint). He published his first scientific paper when he was only 17. After a brief period at Cornell University at 19 be was appointed curator of the ethnological department of the National Museum in Washington, D.C by the director of the Smithsonian Institution. There he came to the attention of John Wesley Powell, of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
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2 Other work and death
3 Significance of work
4 Books on Zuni by Frank Cushing
5 External links
Work at Zuni
He was invited by Powell to join an anthropoligical expedition to New Mexico. The group traveled by rail to end of the line at Las Vegas, New Mexico, then on to Zuni Pueblo where Cushing, "went native", living with the Zuni from 1879 to 1884, the first participant observor. After some initial difficulties (the Zuni seriously considered killing him as he was obviously after their secrets) he was fully accepted by the community and participated fully in Zuni activities, becoming in 1881 a member of the Priesthood of the Bow. In 1882 he took some Zuni on a tour of the United States which attracted considerable media attention. During this tour he married Emily Tennison of Washington, D.C in 1882, He returned to Zuni but was plagued by illness and political diffculties and was recalled to Washinton in 1884. He was able return briefly in 1886 but again had health problems.
Other work and death
He also did work in the Florida Keys and on abandoned villages in the American West, He came into contact with Stewart Culin on the World's Columbian Exposition with whoom he began to write about the history of games. He choked to death on a fishbone on April 10, 1900 while on a research project in Maine.
Significance of work
Cushing was an innovator in the development of the anthropological view that all peoples have a culture that they draw from. He was ahead of his time as the first participant observor who entered into and participated in another culture rather than studying and commenting on it as an outside observor. Frank Cushing, 1st War Chief of Zuni, U.S. Ass't Ethnologist.
Books on Zuni by Frank Cushing