Frank Hamilton Cushing

Frank Hamilton Cushing

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, he 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.

Work at Zuni

He was invited by Powell to join an anthropological 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, becoming anthropology's first participant observer. (This credit is often erroneously assigned to Bronoslaw Malinowski, whose work with the Trobriand Islanders followed Cushing's stay at Zuni by 40 years.) 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. He received the Zuni name Tenatsali, "medicine flower"." In 1882 he took some Zuni on a tour of the United States which attracted considerable media attention. This was part of what Cushing called "the reciprocal method", where he would introduce his anthropological subjects to his own culture, just has they had introduced him to theirs (Green 1990:166). Such practice, a century ahead of its time, is now called "reflexive anthropology". During this tour he married Emily Tennison of Washington, D.C. He returned to Zuni with his wife and her sister.

It was at this point that Cushing became embroiled in a political intrigue. In 1877, President Hayes had signed a bill designating the boundaries of the new Zuni reservation. One 800 acre section of Zuni territory called the Nutria Valley had been left out. Three land speculators, including Major W. F. Tucker, arrived in Zuni in late 1882 to claim the parcel for a cattle ranching operation. The angered Zunis appealed to Cushing for help, whereby he wrote letters to newspapers in Chicago and Boston in their defense. Unfortunately, Major Tucker's father-in-law was Illinois Senator John A. Logan, who would become a vice presidential candidate in 1884. Even though President Chester Arthur rewrote the Zuni boundaries in 1883 to correct the Nutria Valley omission, the damage had been done. Senator Logan's reputation had been tarnished in the "land grab" imbroglio. Logan, in his position as U.S. Senator, threatened the Bureau of American Ethnology director John Wesley Powell with funding cuts if Cushing's stay in Zuni was not terminated. Cushing was quickly forced to return to Washington, ending his landmark efforts amongst the New Mexico natives (see Trikoli 1972:325).

He was able to return briefly in 1886 but had health problems. He was succeeded as leader of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition by archaeologist and ethnologist J. Walter Fewkes.

Other work and death

He also did work at Key Marco and on abandoned villages in the American West, He came into contact with Stewart Culin on the World's Columbian Exposition with whom 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.

ignificance 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 observer who entered into and participated in another culture rather than studying and commenting on it as an outside observer. Frank Cushing, 1st War Chief of Zuni, U.S. Ass't Ethnologist.

Books on Zuni by Frank Cushing

* Jesse Green, Sharon Weiner Green and Frank Hamilton Cushing, "Cushing at Zuni: The Correspondence and Journals of Frank Hamilton Cushing, 1879-1884", [ UNMPRESS] University of New Mexico Press, 1990, hardcover ISBN 0-8263-1172-5
* Sylvester Baxter and Frank H. Cushing, "My Adventurers in Zuni: Including Father of The Pueblos & An Aboriginal Pilgrimage", [ PMA Online Org] Filter Press, LLC, 1999, paperback, 1999, 79 pages, ISBN 0-86541-045-3
* Frank H. Cushing, "My Adventures in Zuni", Pamphlet, ISBN 1-121-39551-1
* Frank Hamilton Cushing and Barton Wright, "The mythic world of the Zuni", [ University of New Mexico Press] , 1992, hardcover, ISBN 0-8263-1036-2
* Frank H. Cushing, "Outlines of Zuni Creation Myths", AMS Press; Reprint edition (June 1, 1996), Hardcover, ISBN 0-404-11834-8
* Frank H. Cushing, "Zuni Coyote Tales", [ University of Arizona Press] , 1998, paperback, 104 pages, ISBN 0-8165-1892-0
* Frank Hamilton Cushing, "Zuni Fetishes", pamphlet, ISBN 1-199-17971-X and ISBN 1-122-26704-5
* Frank H. Cushing, designed by K. C. DenDooven, photographed by Bruce Hucko, Annotations by Mark Bahti, "Zuni Fetishes", [ KC Publications] , 1999, paperback, 48 pages, ISBN 0-88714-144-7
* Frank Hamilton Cushing, "Zuni Fetishes Facsimile", pamphlet, ISBN 1-125-28500-1
* Frank Hamilton Cushing, "Zuni Folk Tales", hardcover, ISBN 1-125-91410-6 (expensive if you search by ISBN, try [ ABE] for older used copies without ISBN)
* Frank Hamilton Cushing, "Zuni Folk Tales", [ University of Arizona Press] , 1999, trade paperback, ISBN 0-8165-0986-7 (reasonably priced)
* Frank H. Cushing, edited by Jesse Green, foreword by Fred Eggan, Introduction by Jesse Green, "Zuni: Selected Writings of Frank Hamilton Cushing" [ University of Nebraska Press] , 1978, hardcover, 440 pages, ISBN 0-8032-2100-2; trade paperback, 1979, 449 pages, ISBN 0-8032-7007-0
* Frank Hamilton Cushing. "Zuni Breadstuff (Indian Notes and Monographs V.8)", AMS Press, 1975, 673 pages, ISBN 0-404-11835-6

External links

* [ PBS article from New Perspectives on the West series. "Frank Hamilton Cushing"]
*gutenberg author|id=Frank_Hamilton_Cushing|name=Frank Hamilton Cushing


* [ PBS article from New Perspectives on the West series. "Frank Hamilton Cushing"]
* Frank H. Cushing, edited by Jesse Green, foreword by Fred Eggan, Introduction by Jesse Green, "Zuni: Selected Writings of Frank Hamilton Cushing" [ University of Nebraska Press] , 1978, hardcover, 440 pages, ISBN 0-8032-2100-2
* Green, Jesse (1990) Cushing at Zuni: the Correspondence and Journals of Frank Hamilton Cushing 1879-1893. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
* McGee, W. J.; Holmes, William H.; Powell, J. W.; Fletcher, Alice C.; Matthews, Washington; Culin, Stewart; McGuire, Joseph D. (1900). In memorium: Frank Hamilton Cushing. "American Anthropologist", "2" (2), 354-380.
* Pandey, Trikoli Nath (1972) Anthropologists at Zuni. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 116(4):321-337.



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