Native American Scholarships Fund (note: for Americans)


The Native American Scholarships Fund is an endowment established to foster a sense of shared purpose and positive interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans.

Since 1998, the SAA has used the endowment income to award the annual Arthur C. Parker Scholarship in support of archaeological training for Native Americans who are students or employees of tribal, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian cultural preservation programs. National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships for Archaeological Training for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians are also awarded through the Native American Scholarships Committee.

The application process for the Arthur C. Parker Scholarship and NSF Scholarships is easy and straightforward, with an annual due date of December 15. Spread the word about these sizeable and prestigious awards!

Support comes to the NASF in several ways: through individual donations, a silent auction held annually at the SAA meetings, book royalties, and grant programs. For questions about the applications process or to make a donation, please contact the Committee Chair.

Be sure to check out the drop down menu above


For 2009, the SAA will offer the Arthur C. Parker Scholarship and three National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships for Archaeological Training for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.

Application Information
Application/Nomination Form

Application Deadline:
December 15, 2008


The SAA first created the Native American Scholarship Fund in 1988 to support Native people who are interested in studying archaeology. However, it took nearly a decade for the NASF to grow large enough to support an annual award: in 1997 the SAA Board established a Native American Scholarship program to be funded by the NASF.

The scholarship is named in honor of the SAA’s first president, Arthur C. Parker, who served from 1935 to 1936. Parker was of Seneca ancestry through his father’s family, and he spent his first 11 years on the Cattaraugus Reservation in western New York. His professional contributions included research in archaeology, cultural anthropology, and history, as well as public education and the development of museum anthropology. Parker was also involved in contemporary social and political issues that affected Native Americans.

In 1995, the Native American Scholarships Committee was reorganized, with Larry J. Zimmerman appointed as chair. By this time, the NASF had grown to support a modest, biannual scholarship award. The committee recommended that the SAA Executive Board immediately establish a Native American scholarship program to support training in archaeological methods for enrolled students or tribal cultural preservation personnel and that a second Native American scholarship program be established to support graduate education when sufficient funding becomes available. The committee recommended a fund-raising campaign to achieve this. At the 1997 SAA annual meeting, the Executive Board accepted these recommendations and established fund-raising procedures. Since 1998, eligibility for the scholarship has included Native peoples from the U.S. Trust Territories and Canada.

The Arthur C. Parker Scholarship now provides up to $4,000 to support training in archaeological methods and cultural resource management, including fieldwork, analytical techniques, and curation for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians enrolled as high school seniors, college undergraduates, and graduate students, or who work in tribal or Native Hawaiian cultural preservation programs. Individuals may apply, or a professor, a cultural preservation supervisor, or an SAA member may nominate them. In addition, each year since 1998, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant to the SAA for three people who apply for the Parker Scholarship.

This history is excerpted and edited from: Smart, Tristine Lee, and Joe Watkins (1997) Arthur C. Parker Scholarship for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians Debuts. SAA Bulletin 15(4):20; (1999) SAA Native American Scholarship Programs and Fundraising Activities for the Native American Scholarship Fund. SAA Bulletin 17(1):12.