Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:00

Dr. Patricia Parker (April 16, 1943 - December 16 2014)

[Posted with permission by Tom King.  Modified 12-18-2014 to reflect additional information on Pat's career]


She was averse to social media, but since word is getting around, I need to verify for her many friends and colleagues – and mine, that Pat Parker died early Tuesday morning (16 December). Her passage was peaceful; her son Tom and I were with her at Holy Cross Hospital here in Silver Spring.

Pat had a PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, having studied under the late Ward Goodenough and done dissertation work in Chuuk, where among other accomplishments she became fluent in the language and helped mediate a major dispute between two traditional villages and the government. She also co-directed the Tonaachaw Historic District ethnoarchaeological project,
also in Chuuk, resulting in the first (and as far as I know only) archaeological monograph published partly in Chuukese. At the NPS, she became the point person for helping the newly independent Micronesian states -- the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia -- set up and manage their historic preservation programs. THEN she organized and became Chief of the NPS American Indian Liaison Office, and the rest is history.

As Chief of the American Indian Liaison Office in the National Park Service (NPS). She was a tireless champion for Native American cultural interests in NPS and beyond. She was instrumental in securing a homeland for the Timbisha Shoshone in Death Valley and in resolving other conflicts between tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and the federal government. With Charles Wilkenson of Colorado State University, she developed and presented a long and distinguished series of classes in the foundations of Indian law, designed to help government officials understand the special legal, fiduciary, and historical relationships between tribes and the U.S. government. She was also known for her co-authorship of National Register Bulletin 38, insisting that places of traditional interest to tribes and other communities must be respected by federal agencies in their planning. At her death, she was deeply involved in long term efforts to create a Lakota-administered National Park on the South Unit of Badlands National Park, and to finalize regulations facilitating tribal access to traditional plant resources in National Parks. We very much hope that these efforts can be brought to fulfillment.
Pat also authored some very good papers on historic archaeology in California, under her previous married name of Hickman.

Pat is survived by her grieving husband (me), by her son Thomas Sires King and granddaughter Olivia I. King, as well as by siblings Cherie Lizarraga, Griff and Steve Parker, stepchildren Rachel T. King, Joshua M. King, and Madera K. Clark, plus step-grandchildren Emma and Duncan King, Noah and Jacob Richards, and Kayla and Tanner Clark and a host of cousins and in-laws. 

Memorials are being planned and will be announced. In lieu of flowers or other tangible expressions of condolence, donations to the Native American Rights Fund ( would be welcome.


Pat Parker


Chuuk - One of the four Federated States of MicronesiaChuuk, one of the four federated states of Micronesia 

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