The important role of Native American women

 It’s no exaggeration to say that American Indian women are missing from most media coverage, history books and classroom discussions. But at least journalism students, instructors and state educators in Nebraska are doing something to help end America’s ignorance of Native women and the contributions they make to their communities, their tribes and to the nation as a whole.

1. “A lot of people think that us women are not leaders, but we are the heart of the nation, we are the center of our home, and it is us who decide how it will be.”–Philomine Lakota, Lakota language teacher, Red Cloud High School, Pine Ridge, S.D.

2. The art forms Native women practice stand as reminders of cultural endurance. “Their crafts survived the Greasy Grass (Battle of Little Big Horn), Wounded Knee One (1890) and Two (1973),” writes Christina DeVries in Native Daughters. “Their spirits survived the Trail of Tears, the Relocation and Termination program and continued struggles against cultural annihilation.”

3. In 1997, Ms. magazine named Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabeg) Woman of the Year. That same year, the activist also debuted her first novel, Last Standing Woman.

4. Of nearly 2 million women enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, 18,000 are American Indian women.

Spokane woman posed in ceremonial dress, Washington, ca. 1897. 

5. The number of Native women applying to medical school has increased since 2003, peaking in 2007 when 77 Native women applied nationwide.

6. In 2007, when Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet (Diné) was named president of Antioch University, she became the first American Indian woman president of a mainstream university. Not only that, but about half of the nation’s tribal colleges are led by Native women presidents.

7. Cecelia Fire Thunder (Lakota) became the Oglala Lakota Tribe’s first woman president. She has fought against domestic abuse, saying it’s not a part of traditional culture, and been a leader for women’s reproductive rights. In 2006, when the South Dakota state legislature prohibited abortion, Fire Thunder announced plans to build a women’s clinic on the reservation, and therefore beyond state jurisdiction. She was impeached by the tribal council, who said she was acting outside her duties as president.

8. Women lead nearly one-quarter of the nation’s 562 federally recognized tribes.

9. “Through the late 1700s, Cherokee women were civically engaged. They owned land and had a say during wartime,” writes Astrid Munn in Native Daughters. “But this changed after the tribe ceded large tracts of land to the U.S. government in 1795.” Since the mid-1980s, though, a generation of Native women activists, lawmakers and attorneys have been changing that history and working to empower women again.

10. Indian Country could never survive without Native women.
 SOURCE by Laura Paskus 

Responses to "10 Things You Need to Know About Native American Women"

  1. Armani A says:

    Also I heard from friend who is Odjibwe guy that in the times before Europeans' colonization of North America their oldest grandmothes' counsel was deciding who of the men deserves to be the chief of peace time or the war chief. Who can know better than them. It's very fair. And now he said democracy harms a lot. And chiefs are paid very well and don't care of their people any more... Something needs to be changed, cured asap.

  2. Anonymous says:

    To look into the faces and souls of these women I learn what women can be and feel who have not been raised in the same culture as I. Just seeing your faces helps me be a deeper and stronger female person. I salute all of you and pray that you keep to your own knowings and your own hearts. The earth needs you. The disparaged women who don't know their own depths or beauty or power need you to continue to be yourselves so that they may heal and resume their needed place in the human community. Stay strong with what you know and the rest of us will grow and be able to help instead of hurt our mother earth and all her people.

  3. Anonymous says:

    THIS IS WHAT JOHN MCCAIN PUT IN THE MILITARY BUDGET BILL-SNEAKY TAKE APACHE LANDS-SIGN THE PETITION TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING, OBAMA PROMISED TO BUY BACK 10 MILLION ACRES FOR NATIVES-Stephen, hidden in the military spending bill that is moving through Congress is a package that trades Apache ancestral lands to a foreign mining company, Rio Tinto PLC.

    The Senate will be voting on the bill very soon.

    Add your signature to the petition demanding the land grab be stopped. Swapping conservation and ancestral Apache lands in order to line the pockets of a foreign mining company is not acceptable.

    Republicans have been trying to steal this land for years, and they have finally hidden it well enough in the current defense bill that passed in the House on December 4th.

    We have to strip this provision out of the bill before it passes the Senate. Conservationists and Democrats have stood alongside the San Carlos Apache Tribe for years in their fight to preserve this land. Now they need even more support.

    Sign the petition letting Congress know that stealing conservation and ancestral Apache lands in order to line the pockets of a foreign mining company is not acceptable.

    Keep Fighting,
    Carissa Miller, Daily Kos

  4. Anonymous says:

    With all due respect, you forgot one important Native American woman . . . Army Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa . . .in the words of singer Radmilla Cody, 'She's My Hero - Ode To Lori Piestewa'

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