Wednesday

In an era when women couldn’t vote and Native Americans were denied citizenship, Susan La Flesche shattered not just one barrier, but two, to become the first Native American woman doctor in the United States.

Born in a buckskin teepee on the Omaha Indian Reservation in northeast Nebraska on June 17, 1865, Susan was never given a traditional Omaha name by her mixed-race parents. Her father, Chief Joseph La Flesche (also known as “Iron Eye”), believed his children as well as his tribe were now living in a white man’s world in which change would be the only constant. “As the chief guardian of welfare, he realized they would have to adapt to white ways or simply cease to survive,” says Joe Starita, author of “A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor.” “He began an almost intense indoctrination of his four daughters. They would have to speak English and go to white schools.”

While Iron Eye insisted that Susan learn the tribe’s traditional songs, beliefs, customs and language in order to retain her Omaha identity, he also sent her to a Presbyterian mission school on the reservation where she learned English and became a devout Christian. At the age of 14, she was sent east to attend a girls’ school in Elizabeth, New Jersey, followed by time at Virginia’s Hampton Institute, where she took classes with the children of former slaves and other Native Americans.

La Flesche persevered and graduated in 1889 at the top of her 36-woman class to make history by becoming the first Native American woman doctor. Although prodded to remain on the East Coast where she could have lived a very comfortable existence, the 24-year-old La Flesche returned to the reservation to fulfill her destiny.

She became the sole doctor for 1,244 patients spread over a massive territory of 1,350 square miles. House calls were arduous. Long portions of her 20-hour workdays were spent wrapped in a buffalo robe driving her buggy through blankets of snow and biting subzero winds with her mares, Pat and Pudge, her only companions. When she returned home, the woman known as “Dr. Sue” often found a line of wheezing and coughing patients awaiting her. La Flesche’s office hours never ended. While she slept, the lantern lit in her window remained a beacon for anyone in need of help.

La Flesche preached hygiene and prevention along with the healing power of fresh air and sunshine. She also spoke out against the white whiskey peddlers who preyed on the tribe members, continuing her father’s work as a passionate prohibitionis.


As difficult as it may have been to straddle two civilizations, La Flesche “managed to thread the delicate bicultural needle,” according to Starita. “Those with no trust of white doctors flocked to Susan,” he says. “The people trusted her because she spoke their language and knew their customs.”


La Flesche again shattered stereotypes by continuing to work after her 1894 marriage to Henry Picotte, a Sioux from South Dakota, and the birth of their two boys at a time when women were expected to be full-time mothers and home makers. “If you are looking for someone who was ‘leaning in’ a century before that term was coined, you need look no further than Susan La Flesche,” Starita says. “She faced a constant struggle to serve her people and serve her husband and children. She was haunted that she was spreading herself so thin that she wasn’t the doctor, mother and wife she should be. The very fears haunting her as a woman in the closing years of the 19th century are those still haunting women in the opening years of the 21st century.”


Starita believes that La Flesche, who passed away at the age of 50 on September 18, 1915, faced greater discrimination as a woman than as a Native American. “When I got into the research, I was stunned by how deeply entrenched gender bias was in the Victorian era. White women were largely expected to just raise children and maintain a safe Christian home. One can only imagine where that bar was set for a Native American woman.”
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Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things humans have to deal with in life. Considering elephants are known to be highly sensitive and emotional creatures, it’s no surprise that they grieve death much like humans do.

Elephants care deeply for their young, form long-lasting friendships, and are visibly upset when they lose a fellow elephant friend.

When Jokia, the elephant in this video, lost her best friend, Mae Perm, tears began rolling down her face and dripping from her trunk.

Despite being blind, Jokia knew that something was off when her best friend did not respond to her, hug, or kiss her, like she normally does.

Devastated, Jokia has spent every day since walking around the enclosure Mae Perm used to guide her through. The Save Elephant Foundation even reported that the emotional elephant has even been stopping when she smells where Mae Perm has peed and stops for a long time to mourn and express her sorrow.

We must remember each elephant has a unique story and is capable of the same emotional depth as humans. We’re glad that these two elephants had the opportunity, outside of captivity, to enjoy each other’s company and form a beautiful relationship.


We hope that time will help Jokia heal from this difficult loss and that one day she can open her heart to another friend!
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Tuesday

Scientists have observed male humpback dolphins presenting females with large marine sponges in an effort to mate.

Australia's bottlenose dolphins have long been known to use sea sponges as a tool for finding a meal—but now researchers may have observed males of another species attempting to woo females with them.

Over a period of 10 years, a team of marine biologists watched male Australian humpback dolphins present large, ornate sponges to females—and on occasion even toss these putative love tokens their way.

“A display to impress a female is not unusual, but using an object in that display is very unusual,” says study leader Simon Allen, a biologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

They observed adult male Australian humpback dolphins presenting large marine sponges to females, alongside visual and acoustic display.

Their first observation was between a male and female dolphin and her calf.


The male dolphin dived down to remove a large marine sponge fixed to the seafloor, balanced it on his beak and pushed it toward the female.


'Here we have some of the most socially complex animals on the planet using sponges, not as a foraging tool, but as a gift, a display of his quality, or perhaps even as a threat in the behavioural contexts of socialising and mating.'



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When rescuers got to Zoey, she was lucky to be alive. She was living on a fur farm, where she was due to be slaughtered and skinned. She was infested with parasites and underweight.

When the USDA shuts down illegal or unlicensed fur farms, the fate of the animals inside is not always a happy one. Some animals are too ill to make it to freedom. Others carry deep emotional scars that haunt them forever.

When one fur farm in Illinois was shut down, all of the animals they kept there, mostly foxes, found new homes. But for one sick and traumatized wolf, placement seemed impossible… and the clock was ticking.

When the fur farm was shut down by the government, she was given a second chance at a wolf sanctuary. She was shy and sad at first. But then she made friends with a wolf named Pax, and her true self really began to finally shine through.

Zoey’s favorite game to play with volunteers is ‘keep away’! From shovels to balls and even coats, if Zoey can carry it in her mouth she’ll grab it!

But she’s not being a thief, she’s playing a game very common in wolf pups. She loves being chased and all of the attention that comes with it.


It’s amazing to see Zoey’s transformation from sad dog into the life of the party! She’s proof that when it comes to animals, there’s no such thing as too late.
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To the Lakota, these magnificent animals sustained all life. The Lakota regarded the bison as a gift of the Great Spirit and viewed them as a relative.

At the core of the Lakota culture is the bison or Tatanka. For thousands of years, the lives of the Buffalo Nation and the Lakota people were spiritually and physically interconnected – as herds roamed free across the North American plains, this nomadic tribe followed.

As the bison roamed the Plains, so did the Lakota. The entire existence of the people centered around the bison’s epic migration across the vast plains of North America – from Canada to Mexico; the Pacific Northwest to the Appalachian Mountains.

Following and being close to the buffalo was important; permanence was not. Everything they owned could easily be carried by a person, dog, or horse – the portable homes (tipis), the leather or rawhide containers for mobile storage, the cradles specifically made for easy transport, and the ingenious travois gave them the ability to move the entire camp in one trip.

The location of their camp and the length of time at each site (from months to a few days) was almost solely determined by the location of the bison herd.

Adopting the ways of the bison Pre late 19th century, the great Buffalo Nation numbered in the millions; tribal members were countless. As the bison’s deep understanding of survival is determined by numbers, the Plains Indians knew this to be true as well, and thrived in great numbers.


The bison is brave – they were practically invincible and afraid of nothing – and the fearless native warriors reflected these courageous traits in battle. The bison were also good family members…and so were the people.

Givers of Life To the Lakota, these magnificent animals sustained all life. The Lakota regarded the bison as a gift of the Great Spirit and viewed them as a relative. Whenever one was killed, its sacrifice was honored as a blessing from the Tatanka Oyate.


The bison meant everything…they provided us our shelter, our food, our weapons, our toys. The lives of the people once revolved around the way of the bison. The bison was a connection to the Creator. The bison provided for the people spiritually, culturally, and socially. The bison gave the people life. The bison is life.

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