NARN/JONA materials concerning Alice Cunningham Fletcher:

Alice Cunningham Fletcher

Courtesy of Northwest Anthropological Research Notes

Alice Cunningham Fletcher was the first anthropologist to work among the Nez Perce Indians. She was sent as a Special Agent of the U. S. government to facilitate the allotment of the Nez Perce Reservation in north-central Idaho. Based on her fieldwork from 1889 to 1892, she prepared two ethnological manuscripts concerning diverse aspects of traditional Nez Perce culture, but neither study was ever published. At her request, a Nez Perce elder prepared a map of Nez Perce territory that included the locations and descriptions of 78 traditional villages as they existed in the early nineteenth century. 

In 1889, Special Indian Agent Alice Cunningham Fletcher arrived in Idaho to implement the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 and allot the Nez Perce Reservation. During her four field seasons in Nez Perce Country, Alice Fletcher wrote numerous letters to her employer, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas Jefferson Morgan in Washington, D. C., and to her mentor, Frederic W. Putnam at Harvard University. Her professional correspondence describes the progress of allotment work and the gathering of anthropological information.