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Seneca Chief, Army General: A Story about Ely Parker (CMB)

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Seneca Chief, Army General: A Story about Ely Parker (CMB)

by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk


Quick Overview

Parker is probably best known as the Native American appointed by Ulysses Grant as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the first Native American to hold that post. His tenure in that office was brief; jealousy and racism brought him under fire from disgruntled opponents, and though he was cleared of any wrongdoing, he resigned. The author spends the first half of the book on the events in Parker's life prior to his fateful meeting with Grant. She describes the difficulties the young boy from the Tonawanda Reservation in New York encountered during his years at a Baptist mission school, on an Iroquois settlement in Canada, and at the academies he attended to further his education. Having decided to study law, he discovered that only American citizens can take the bar exam, and as an Indian, he was not a citizen. Parker was an effective spokesperson and his work earned him the respect of his people. Van Steenwyk writes simply but well about this interesting, and in many ways tragic, man about whom little has been written for children.


Ely Parker grew up on the Tonawanda Reservation in New York in the 1830s. There he learned the ways of his people, the Seneca Indians. Ely worked many years to save his reservation from a land company, and as a result, he was made a sachem, or chief, by his people. At the same time, he was working as a translator and ambassador to bridge the gap that divided his people from the white Americans. After serving in the Civil War, Ely went on to become a United States general and lead the agency in charge of Indian affairs. Author Elizabeth Van Steenwyk tells this inspiring, and surprising, story of a man who achieved amazing success in two very different worlds. Size 0.2" H x 8.3" L x 5.8" W, 64 pages

Additional Information

ISBN 9781575054193
Author Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Age Group 9-13
Book Type paperback

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