Bertha “Birdie” Parker Cody: Archeologist

Bertha Parker Cody was a Native American archeologist and actor.

Bertha Parker Cody, or Birdie, became one of the first Native American female archeologists. Archeologists study people from the past. They often dig in the ground to find things people left behind long ago. Her mother was a Native American actor. Her father was an archeologist.  

Birdie was born in 1907 at one of her father’s dig sites. As a child, she acted in shows like “Pocahontas” with her mother.  

When she was older, she began working with her uncle at a dig site in Nevada. Birdie helped by taking photographs and notes of the items that were found.  

In 1930, Birdie discovered something amazing. She found the skull of an extinct giant sloth next to ancient human tools. This was one of her many discoveries. She wrote about these findings in the Southwest Museum’s journal.  

Birdie became an Assistant in Archeology at the Southwest Museum. She studied the cultures, customs, and habits of Native Americans.  

Later, Birdie worked with television shows and movies again. This time, she did not act. She taught about Native American customs. She made sure that Native American characters were played correctly. 

What Do You Think? Why do you think Birdie’s work is important for people? 

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Photo Credit: Smithsonian Libraries/Science Source