Native American Women

Giving Thanks


Thanksgiving was taught in school as the day that the settlers and Indians came together to give thanks, share a meal and for one day put their differences aside. Differences being the settlers came to the Native Americans land and completely turned their worlds upside down. 
Thinking back on this day in childhood, it was the best day in school; no real work, lots of making handprints turn into turkeys and getting ready for two days off. I'd probably come home and watch Pocahontas and sing along to colors in the wind while my mother cooked a very lavish meal for our family and thought about "what really mattered."
But what really does matter on this 3rd Thursday in November? Is it the overpriced turkey and anxiety of an elaborate meal that we will eat for 5 days after?
Is it that now everyone is going to post on social media that they love their family rather than themselves? Or is it that we can only name maybe 3 famous Native American's off the top of our heads; two being Pocahontas and Sacagawea.
What matters today, tomorrow and everyday of every year is that powerful women should not be repressed because of their gender. What matters is the color of your skin and heritage should be an embraced part of yourself rather than something to hide. We should all be thankful for the amazing women who have helped up get to where we are thus far and giving us the power to continue to keep pushing. 

It's hard to know the true history of native women.


Many, if not most, of our nations were Matriarchal so of course their leadership was made up of women. However the Christian invaders could not understand it and would not deal with women leaders so they chose a male Chief and spoke only to him. The real women leaders names never appeared in the history of the tribes which was/is written by the invaders.


 To pay tribute to the amazing, strong and powerful women of Native American decent, below are a few women that should be household names. 

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, also known as Bamewawagezhikaquay wrote poetry and traditional Ojibwa stories, and she translated Ojibwa songs into English. In 1826-1827 her husband created The Literary Voyager or Muzzeniegen which featured her writing. It was distributed in Detroit, New York and other eastern cities making her the first published Native American Woman. 



Cecelia Fire Thunder- Lakota became the Oglala Lakota Tribe’s first woman president with strong goals to end domestic abuse and breaking the pattern of acceptance in traditional culture, and as well a leader for women’s reproductive rights. In 2006,  South Dakota's state legislature prohibited abortion, Fire Thunder revealed plans to build a women’s clinic on the reservation which is beyond state jurisdiction. 


Fallen Leaf also known as Woman Chief was a Crow warrior and she was considered a chief and sat in the council of chiefs. In addition to being a war leader, she was known for being a great hunter and had two wives. 


Susan La Flesche graduated in 1889 at the top of her 36-woman class made history by becoming the first Native American woman doctor. She pushed for better hygiene and prevention and was the sole doctor for around 2,000 people in a massive territory of around 1,350 square miles.


Anfesia Shapsnikoff served as nurse, church reader, teacher and community leader for all Alaskans. In the Aleut communities she taught importance of culture and ownership to the people.



Toypurina was an avid leader in rebelling against the violence of widespread rape, forced labor and conversion, and the banning of traditional dances. She was known as a powerful Tongva medicine woman and when she was 25 years old and pregnant she emerged as one of the primary planners of an attack against the Spanish who had come into Southern California. 




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