Women’s History Month: American Indian and Indigenous Women

Stories of American Indian women Pocahontas and Sacagawea are familiar parts of elementary history education. However, their history has been sanitized, romanticized, and even animated by Disney.

Their current lives are often made invisible.
The truth is that many American Indian and Indigenous women were warriors and explorers.  And they have been activists and advocates for their people. Women such as Anacaona who was a Taino (indigenous) woman from the land that is now Haiti, Sarah Winnemucca whose name was Thocmentony–named after a flower–and was a member of a Northern Paiute tribe in Nevada, and Waziyatawin ,  a Dakota, member of a Minnesota tribe, and a professor activist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
Anacaona became a chief after the passing of one of her brothers, and represented her people to the Spanish. One could say that she had a close relationship with the Spanish. Ultimately, they betrayed her trust, and executed her by hanging.
Sarah Winnemucca wrote an autobiography that serves as an historical narrative of her people and includes stories about their first contact with Europeans.

Waziyatawin, a professor of Indigenous history, has been an outspoken activist and advocate for the Dakota people, and for all other indigenous people.

If you want to learn more about inspiring American Indian and Indigenous women, check out some resources in the Prairie State College Library!

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