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Anthropology Teaching Museum
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In 1958, then registrar John C. Mcgregor wrote Ted Frisbie in Connecticut to deny him admittance to UNM due to his former college transcrip.But Frisbie, '63 BA, '67 MA, professor emeritus of anthropology at Southern Illinois University, was single-minded,I managed to do precisely what I wanted to do against some pretty heavy odds,, he says. ,I,d developed that basic notion from the time I was 4 years old!, That was when Frisbie had found a Lamoka quartzite dart-point in a cow pasture.Come college time, Frisbie,s father, a contractor, reasoned that his son could enjoy anthropology as a vocation and should study business at the University of Connecticut. ,I hated it to the point where I flunked out,, Frisbie says.At age 21, he saved $200 from a summer job and headed for New Mexico, which was famous for anthropology. ,I drove a ,49 Chevy convertible for four days with the top down,, Frisbie recalls. ,I looked like a lobster when I got to Albuquerque., Within days, he called on McGregor, who was incredulous at Frisbie,s journey to a school that had rejected him.Still, the registrar would not admit him.Momentous Meeting,I found a job at a parking lot on 2nd and Grand,the only lot where Native Americans were welcome,, says Frisbie.There he befriended Mathew Solomon and his family from Zuni Pueblo, and they invited him to visit.Frisbie remembers spreading mats out to sleep in front of a huge corner fireplace in the Solomons, traditional home, which housed some 14 family members and had one running ,cold water only, tap. ,I was just a waif from Connecticut.They literally took me in and made me feel like one of their own,, Frisbie says.Forty-five years later, the family still has a room ready for Frisbie,s frequent visits.Perseverance PaysMeanwhile, Frisbie did not let the UNM issue rest.He explains, ,After a full year of my pestering McGregor, he said, ,If you would be willing to take two non-degree courses per semester to prove you can do college-level work, we,ll admit you.,, A year later, he was admitted on conditional probation and given credit toward his degree for the UNM courses he had taken.,Once I was there, the department put the food in my mouth,, says Frisbie.The anthropology professors provided him with jobs like grading exams, helping with research projects, and serving as secretary for the Southwestern Journal of Anthropology.He worked two summers with Hibben on the Pottery Mound project, and in time, was hired to teach in the summer field schools. Twice as a master,s student, Frisbie received the Archaeological Society of New Mexico (ASNM) scholarship.In recent years, he has learned that the scholarship was for only $100, but somehow the money he received covered his tuition for a year. ,I think my mentor, Dr. Florence Hawley Ellis, and Dr. Nibs Hill paid my tuition without my knowing it., While at UNM, Frisbie met a woman from his home state who was pursuing a doctorate in anthropology, specializing in the Navajo.Within four months, they decided to marry.He and Charlotte, ,70 PhD, had their first daughter, Elizabeth, the year after Frisbie completed his MA.Four years later, after Frisbie had earned his doctorate from Southern Illinois University and begun teaching there, their daughter Jennifer was born.They settled down on seven acres of farmland in Edwardsville, Illinois, where they raise sheep.Frisbie and his wife still live in the historic 1836 farmhouse they restored and preserved.Going Home to ZuniAs an SIU professor, Frisbie introduced his students to Zuni culture. ,During three summer field schools, I took almost 50 students to the Zuni farming village of Lower Nutria where we excavated and restored Mathew's mother's collapsed farmstead,, says Frisbie.According to traditional Zuni belief, a house belongs in part to anyone who works on it. ,All of the students were told that the rebuilt farmstead was partly theirs.A few have actually gone back and stayed there, and several have maintained contact with the family.,Frisbie became especially close to his Zuni ,father,, Mathew, who died in 1987.In 1980, Frisbie created the Anthropology Teaching Museum at Southern Illinois University. ,Mathew came and provided the only off-reservation Shalako dedication ceremony known to me,, says Frisbie.In 1980, Frisbie created the Anthropology Teaching Museum at Southern Illinois University. ,Mathew came and provided the only off-reservation Shalako dedication ceremony known to me,, says Frisbie.I showed the crafts at conferences and they sold like hotcakes,, Frisbie says.Within a few years, he began supplying museums and gift shops.At anthropology conferences, he comments, ,The word has been, ,If you don't bring the goodies, don't show up!,, Ten percent of the proceeds benefit an ASNM scholarship and the rest supports the UNM scholarship. Frisbie,s goal is for the UNM scholarship endowment to fully cover, in perpetuity, a Zuni student,s education. ,While my Zuni ,dad, believed education was the key to success for his grandkids and theirs, and for all Tribal members, he could only verbalize the idea,, says Frisbie. ,Fortunately, his ,adoptive, son is doing something concrete in this endeavor.,Awe and Satisfaction After 30 years at SIU, Frisbie retired in 1997. ,I can,t believe I got paid for doing something I loved all those years,, he says. Today, he is busier than ever and enjoys every minute. ,Establishing a set of goals for oneself at an early age, and feeling that they were met and even surpassed, provides a sense of life fulfillment I'm not sure too many of us ever get to reach,, Frisbie says.
Theodore R. Frisbie (Southern Illinois University)
News Archive :: Edwardsville School District #7
On October 28, 2008, all Hamel Elementary School students celebrated Log Cabin Day by participating in pioneer era activities that included a reenactment of Laura Ingalls Wilder from youth (Melissa Diaz) to adulthood (Susan Lybarger); a nature trail walk with Ms. Wilder; old-fashioned games; building log cabins out of milk cartons, pretzels, and icing; making butter; learning a square dance and songs; and visiting the Log Cabin Museum with Dr. Ted Frisbie, Professor Emeritus from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
In the 1990's, Dr. Frisbie, along with a class from SIUE, created a museum of artifacts inside the cabin. In 1995, the cabin was re-dedicated as the Log Cabin Museum, complete with period artifacts and items donated by the original Love family descendants.
Theodore Frisbie of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville will present Salt of the Earth: Native American Tribes, Tribulations, Trials, Trails, Trade and More at 7 p.m.
For the Love of Carmen by Theodore Frisbie
Dr. Theodore R. Frisbie, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville