Ely Parker

Ely Parker was a Native American man, born to the Seneca tribe. Raised in his tribe, but educated in white society at a Baptist Mission School, he learned to bridge the two worlds from a young age.

His perspective and learnings put him in a position to take on important roles in his tribe. As a fourteen year old, the elders of his tribe selected him to become a translator, interpreter and scribe for meetings with government leaders.

But his claim to fame came later in life. After meeting and becoming friends with Ulysses Grant in 1860, Ely became a Lieutenant Colonel for the North during the Civil War. And when it came time for the South to surrender, it was Ely who wrote the terms.

After the Civil War, Ely became the first Native American to be Commissioner of Indian Affairs.