Native American Scholarships Fund

Now accepting applications. The deadline is January 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

SAA Native American Scholarships Application 2021

The Native American Scholarships Fund is an endowment established to foster a sense of shared purpose and positive interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans. Scholarships are open to all Native peoples from anywhere in the Americas, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Indigenous Pacific Islanders.

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. In 2009, the SAA added two new awards in support of undergraduate and graduate archaeology education.

Support for these scholarships comes in several ways: through individual donations, an annual silent auction at the SAA meetings, book royalties, and grants. For questions about the applications process or to make a donation, please contact the Committee Chair. 

The following competitive scholarships are currently offered:

SAA Arthur C. Parker Scholarship for Archaeological Training for Native Americans (The Arthur C. Parker Scholarship will not be offered for 2021)

National Science Foundation Scholarship for Archaeological Training (three NSF Training scholarships are available)

To support archaeological training or a research program for Native American students or employees of tribal cultural preservation programs (up to $6,000).

SAA Native American Undergraduate Archaeology Scholarship (one available)

To support undergraduate studies for Native American students, including but not limited to tuition, travel, food, housing, books, supplies, equipment, and child care (up to $6,000).

SAA Native American Graduate Archaeology Scholarship (one available)

To support graduate studies for Native American students, including but not limited to tuition, travel, food, housing, books, supplies, equipment, and child care (up to $11,000).


*Oona Schmid is designated to serve as the Title IX coordinator for SAA’s Native American Scholarship program.


The SAA first created the Native American Scholarships 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.

Arthur_Caswell_ParkerThe 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 became 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.  

The Arthur C. Parker Scholarship now provides up to $5,000 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.  The SAA added two new awards in 2009, in support of undergraduate and graduate archaeology education. 

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.

(Photo: Arthur C. Parker in 1918. From The Life of General Ely S. Parker, Buffalo Historical Society, 1919, p. 201) 


2020 Scholars

Arthur C. Parker Scholarship
Patrick Burtt

SAA Native American Undergraduate Scholarship
Not Awarded 

SAA Native American Graduate Scholarship
Natalie Lolar

NSF Training Scholarships
Dominic Bush
Vikki Presto

SAA Native American Scholarship
Emily Van Alst


Prior to any award recommendation being finalized and publicly announced, anyone recommended for an award, scholarship, or grant will be required to certify the following:

(a)  I am not and have not ever been the subject of a discrimination or harassment lawsuit or related administrative complaint that resulted in an adverse finding; and

(b)  I do not have and have not had a current or pending disciplinary action such as suspension or termination of registration, resulting from a Register of Professional Archaeologists’ grievance investigation.