Born December 25, 1857, on the Omaha Reservation, Nebraska, his father, Chief Joseph Laflesche, part of Ponca Chief Standing Bear’s band, was adopted by the Omaha.  Francis’ name meant “Woodworker.”  In the 1860s, he wrote The Middle Five—his memoir of white education.  In 1881, with his sister Susette & anthropologist Alice C. Fletcher, he went to the Rosebud Sioux Reservation serving as interpreter.  He & Fletcher would work & live together until her death in 1923.  Francis earned Bachelor’s & law degrees at George Washington Univ. in 1892-93.  From 1910-29, he was ethnologist & anthropologist at Smithsonian’s Bureau of American Ethnology.  His books include: [With Fletcher] A Study of Omaha Music (1893) & The Omaha Tribe (1911); [Himself] A Dictionary of the Osage Language (1932) & War Ceremony and Peace Ceremony of the Osage Indian (1938).  He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences & President, Anthropological Society of Washington.  LaFlesche died near Macy, Nebraska. 

Source:  “Francis La Flesche, American ethnologist,” Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Retrieved 7/5/2020,
Photo:  Author unknown, circa 1881.  Francis and Susette LaFlesche.  Public Domain. Source: National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.  

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