Fletcher, Alice Cunningham

Fletcher, Alice Cunningham, 1838–1923, American anthropologist, b. Havana, Cuba. Originally interested in archaeology, she turned to the study of the Plains tribes. After studying informally with Frederick Putnam, head of Harvard's Peabody Museum, she went (1881) to Nebraska to do field work among the Omaha. Concerned for their potential dispossession, Fletcher worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the individual apportionment of Omaha tribal lands (1882–84), and then for the passage and implementation of the Dawes Act (1887), after which she oversaw the allotment process for the Nez Percé and Winnebago. In 1890 she was awarded a lifetime fellowship at the Peabody, becoming the first woman to be recognized as a fellow at Harvard. Fletcher wrote numerous monographs and articles on the music, language, dress, and customs of the Plains tribes. Her books include Indian Story and Song from North America (1900), The Hako: A Pawnee Ceremony (1904, repr. 1996), and The Omaha Tribe (with F. La Flesche, 1911).

See biography by J. Mark (1988).

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