Frank Hamilton Cushing

Encyclopedia Article


This U.S. born ethnologist and anthropologist spent five years among the Zuni, from 1879-1884, when his advocacy for keeping the Nutria Valley within Zuni boundaries angered Illinois Senator John Logan and funding for his position was cut. He continued to work for the Bureau of American Ethnology, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, until his early death in 1900. Cushing developed a new anthropological research technique, that of the "participant observer." The anthropologist was fully embroiled in Zuni Society and was initiated into The Priesthood of the Bow warrior society, taking the name "Tenatsali" which means medicine flower. Cushing later conducted research on the Hopi and worked with the Cheyenne to record signed language.

Photo Credit: 

"Portrait of Frank Hamilton Cushing and Zuni, 1882" by James Wallace Black, Smithsonian Institution is licensed under Public Domain.