James Anthony “Tony” Paredes


Tony Paredes.pngJames Anthony “Tony” Paredes, 73, ethnologist and applied anthropologist passed away peacefully with family at his side on August 24, 2013 in Atlanta. Tony was professor of anthropology for 30 years at Florida State University, becoming professor emeritus in 1999. From 1998 to 2006, he worked with the National Park Service Ethnography Program as cultural anthropologist and chief of Indian affairs. Known for his lifelong work among American Indian peoples, Tony’s interests extended to commercial fisheries, multiculturalism, social impacts of hurricanes, and capital punishment. Tony served on AAA’s Executive Board and was past president of the Association of Senior Anthropologists, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the Southern Anthropological Society.

Born September 29, 1939 in New York City to Antonio and Mildred Paredes, Tony was raised in Florida. He received his BA in liberal arts from Oglethorpe University (1961) and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1961-62). He received his anthropology MA (1964) and PhD (1969) from University of New Mexico. Anishinabe: 6 Studies of Modern Chippewa (1980) includes results of his dissertation on Chippewa Indians' urban adaptation.

After arriving at FSU, Tony began research among the Poarch Band of Creeks in Alabama in 1971, forging a relationship that lasted until his death. Indians of the Southeastern United States in the Late Twentieth Century (1992) and Anthropologists and Indians in the New South (2001, with Rachel Bonney) illustrate the diversity and range of issues faced by the Poarch, other tribes and communities in this region.

Tony was instrumental in obtaining federal acknowledgment and recognition of the Poarch Creeks as an Indian tribe in 1984. Working with tribal researchers, the Native American Rights Fund, and researchers at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tony began preparing the Poarch petition in 1978. Drawing on his research and association with the tribe and conducting additional research, Tony developed documentation to demonstrate the Poarch had existed as a tribe since treaty times. The outcomes were dramatic, “resulting in extraordinary advances in housing, education, cultural restoration, employment, tribal revenues, and health care” (AN 53(3): 10). The Poarch honored Tony for his service in 1990 and the Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs recognized his contributions in 1993.

A distinguished and productive scholar who blended theory and practice in captivating prose and presentation, Tony published and presented extensively. Undeterred by diagnosis of cancer in 2011, he participated in conferences and published Red Eagle’s Children (2012, with Judith Knight), two contributions to Expanding Anthropology 1945-1980: A Generation Reflects (2012, Alice Kehoe and Paul Doughty), and “Happiness Anthropology Redux” (AN, 2012).

Tony’s true legacy is best measured by the more intangible qualities of his forthright character, his kindness and warmth, his generosity of time and talent in helping others, his humor, often self-deprecating, and his whole body laugh. He is sorely missed by all whose lives he touched.

Tony’s parents and daughter Anna Teresa “Risa” Lesinski predecease him. He is survived by his wife Alleen Deutsch, children Anthony Paredes, Jr. and Sara Campbell and their families, and a large, extended family. (Mary Margaret “Peggy” Overbey with contributions from Paul L Doughty, George Roth, and Alleen Deutsch)

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