Cornplanter Medal

The Cornplanter Medal was named for the Iroquois chief Cornplanter and is an award for scholastic and other contributions to the betterment of knowledge of the Iroquois people.

It was initiated by University of Chicago anthropologist Frederick Starr with seed money from nine associates in order to engrave and print sketches of Iroquois games and dances. Starr had two main goals while he planned the medal. One, he wanted to recognize and award the people who were contributing to research and knowledge of the Iroquois. Two, he intended was to prove that the tribe, contrary to some academic opinion, had artisans that showed abilities of a "true artist", by presenting and preserving the art of the Iroquois youth Jesse Cornplanter. The medal was endowed through sales of the publication of the sketches in the booklet Iroquois Indian Games and Dances (c. 1903). The young artist of the sketches was credited as "Jesse Cornplanter, Seneca Indian Boy".[1][2]

The medal was first presented in 1904 by the Cayuga County Historical Society in Auburn NY.[2]

It was awarded every two years to people who fall into one or more of the following classes:[1]

  • Ethnologists, making worthy field-studies or other investigations among the Iroquois.
  • Historians, making actual contributions to our knowledge of the Iroquois.
  • Artists, worthily representing Iroquois life or types by brush or chisel.
  • Philanthropists, whose efforts are based upon adequate scientific study and appreciation of Iroquois conditions and needs.

List of medal recipients


  • Fenton, William N. (April 1980). "Frederick Starr, Jesse Cornplanter and the Cornplanter Medal for Iroquois Research". New York History. New York State Historical Association. 26 (2). JSTOR 23169465.
  • Starr, Frederick (March 1905). "The Cornplanter Medal". The Open Court. Open Court Publishing Company. 19 (586): 186–188. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  • Starr, Frederick (December 1929). "The Later Awards of the Cornplanter Medal". The Open Court. Open Court Publishing Company. 43 (883): 749–755. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
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