Harriet Maxwell Converse

Harriet Maxwell Converse (née, Harriet Arnot Maxwell; Seneca clan name, Gayaneshaoh; Seneca tribal name, “Ya-ie-wa-noh, meaning ‘she watches over us.’” (11 January 1836 - 18 November 1903) was an American author of Scottish and Irish heritage. She was a folklorist, poet and historian of the Iroquois; by the late 19th century, they were a loose confederacy of six nations in New York State and Canada. She became an advocate for the rights of the Seneca and other Iroquois tribes in New York state, helping them retain their lands and preserve their culture. In recognition of her contributions, the Seneca made her a member of the tribe and gave her an honorary position as a Sachem or chief of the Six Nations.

With an appropriation in 1897 from the New York State Museum, Converse made extensive purchases of Iroquois artifacts from private collectors and tribes to have them preserved by the state. She also donated a family collection that was a century old. She persuaded the Onondaga to transfer their collection of historic wampum belts of the Five Nations to the state museum for preservation. Provided by Wikipedia
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