We Are Still Here: Frank Speck and the Continuing Presence of American Indians in the Eastern Woodlands

This thesis will argue the importance of Speck as a scholar who forged his own path. He was a precursor to the more politically inclined anthropologists today. Speck not only studied American Indians, he advocated for them politically and legally as well as thought their then- present lives were worthy of note, too. Not all Boas trained anthropologists felt this way. Recording the traditional cultures of the tribal nations was more paramount to them. To illustrate this, I analyzed two of Speck’s largest collections, the Cherokee collection and Innu (Naskapi/Montagnais) collection, at the Penn Museum along with his papers held at the museum’s archives and the library of the American Philosophical Society. I will also review one of his earliest works, The Nanticoke Community of Delaware (1915) to learn his method then compare and contrast him to other collectors and anthropologists working at the same time, George Heye and Alfred Kroeber, respectively. Speck’s advocacy work was a precursor to the more politically inclined anthropologists of today. He helped the Six Nations at Grand River, Ontario secure stolen wampum belts. While many anthropologists studied the Indigenous west of the Mississippi River Speck stayed in the eastern half of the United States and Canada to research the tribal nations. Through the Cherokee, Innu, and Nanticoke collections one can see his nonjudgmental attitude and how much respect Frank Speck had for the Indigenous as well as his work to help tribal nations gain recognition and get stolen property back. This is why Speck is an important anthropologist to study

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Work Title We Are Still Here: Frank Speck and the Continuing Presence of American Indians in the Eastern Woodlands
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Open Access
Creators Laura A Hazeltine
Version number 1
Keyword Anthropology; University of Pennsylvania; Six Nations; Museum collections; Indigenous; Nanticoke; Archaeology; Innu; 20th Century; Penn Museum; Cherokee; American Indian; Frank Speck; Native American
License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Work Type Masters Thesis
Publication Date August 2020
DOI doi:10.26207/55xt-g221
Deposited September 03, 2020 13:06

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