Mary Brave Bird, Lakota Sioux

Mary Brave Bird (September 26, 1954 – February 14, 2013) dictated her life story in the two books Lakota Woman and Ohitika Woman to Richard Erdoes, a photographer and illustrator who himself became involved in political activism through having taped … Continue reading

Kateri Tekakwitha, Mohawk (1656-1680)

Tegaquitha, “Lily of the Mohawks,” as she was popularly known, was the first recorded Native American Roman Catholic nun in North American. She was born in 1656 at Gandawague Castle near Fonda, New York, to a Mohawk father and a Christianized Algonquin mother of the Turtle clan. During her childhood, her parents and a younger brother died from smallpox, and she was left badly scarred and pockmarked orphan.

Queen Anne, Pamunkey(ca. 1650-ca. 1725)

The widow of Totopotomoi, the Pamunkey chief, Queen Anne became the chief of the tribe following the death of her husband during the battle in which he supported the English against other Indian warriors.

Tonita Pena (Tonita Vigil), San Ildefonso Peublo (1895-1949)

Quah Ah (White Coral Beads) was the first Pueblo woman artist to throw off the traditional restrictions that were usually imposed upon women tin Pueblo culture, and paint just as freely as her esthetic sensitivity directed. She was born Tonita … Continue reading

Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee (1945-2010)

Wilma Pearl Mankiller was both the first woman deputy chief and the first woman principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Mountain Wolf Woman (Kéhachiwinga), Winnebago (1884-1960)

Kéhachiwinga, “Wolf’s Mountain Home Maker,” was a Winnebago woman who was the subject of a remarkable autobiography account written down by Nancy Lurie, in 1958, and subsequently published in book form as Mountain Wolf Woman, Sister of Crashing Thunder: The Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian – a notable contribution to the literature of culture change and personality.

Kéhachiwinga was selected by Dr. Lurie, in part, because her brother Hágaga had been interviewed by Paul Radin, and that account was published in an equally well-received book, Crashing Thunder. The comparison and contrast between the two provided a valuable insight into the life of one Indian family.

Maria Tallchief, Osage (1925- )

Maria Tallchief became the first American trained ballerina of international importance.

Pocahontas, Pamunkey(1595?-1617)

From Algonquin pocahantesu, “She is Playful”, although another translation suggests “Bright Stream Between Two Hills”. Pocahontas’ Pamunkey name was Mataoaka (also spelled Matoax and Matowaka), “She Plays with Things”; both names apparently referring to her vivacious disposition. The exact date pf her birth is not clear; it is said to have been between 1595-1597, but the earlier date is preferred by most writers. It is certain that she was the favorite daughter of Powhatan, the powerful chief of the Virginia confederacy. 

Susan La Flesche, Sioux (1865-1915)

Susan La Flesche was the first female Indian physician. She was born into the Sioux Nation in 1865 and graduated from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Ella Carla Deloria (Anpetu Wastewin), Yankton Sioux (1888-1971)

Ella Deloria, also known as Anpetu Wastewin, from anpetu “day,” waste “good,” win “woman,” was a Yankton Sioux scholar, interpreter, and lecturer who became a nationally famous linguist and ethnologist. She was born January 3, 1888 at Wakpala, South Dakota, the daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Philip Deloria (Tipi Sapa). Her father was an influential Episcopal clergyman who was well known throughout the Plains Indian community in his own right. 

Wawa Calac Chaw (Wa-Wa-Chaw),Rincon division of the Luiseno tribe (1888-1972)

Wawa Calac Chaw, “Keep From the Water,” was a writer, artist, and lecturer on Indian and feminist matters. She was born on December 25, 1888 at Valley Center in the Tule River area of California.

Karen Louise Erdrich, Chippewa (1954-?)

Louise Erdrich is known for her moving and often humorous portrayals of Chippewa life in North Dakota in poetry and prose. In her verse and in novels such as Love Medicine, Tracks, The Bingo Palace, and The Beet Queen, she draws on her years in North Dakota and on her German and Chippewa heritage to portray the great endurance of women and Native Americans in twentieth-century America. She has won an array of awards and substantial recognition for her novels, as well as for her short stories, poetry, and essays.

Nancy Ward, (Nanye-hi) Cherokee (ca. 1738-ca. 1824)

From the English rendition of Nanye-hi, “One Who Goes About,” named from the mythological Spirit People, Nancy Ward was a major Cherokee figure of the Southern frontier who became an almost legendary person due largely to her queenly manner and … Continue reading

Sacajawea, Shoshone (Adopted Hidatsa) (1784-1812?)

Sacajawea is one of the most famous native american women in American History. Sacajawea was an interpreter for, and the only woman on the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806. Sacajawea (more accurately Sacagawea, possibly from the Hidatsa word tsakakawia, is usually translated to English as “Bird Woman.”

Sacagawea was born into the Shoshoni tribe in the Rocky Mountains. The exact date has been variously reported as 1784 and 1788. Her Shoshoni name was Boinaiv, meaning “Grass Maiden.”

Angel DeCora Dietz, Winnebago(1871-1919)

Angel DeCora Dietz

Born in 1871 on the Winnebago reservation in Nebraska, Angel DeCora Dietz was influential in shaping of Indian art and affairs in the early years of the 20th century.Angel DeCora Dietz graduated from the Hampton Institute in 1891 and studied art at Smith College, the Drexel Institute and at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The Timucua Indians – After the Europeans Came – (1562 – 1767)

When Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, and “discovered” the Americas, he brought many changes. Over the next seventy years, the Spanish sent ships up the east coast of North America, but focused on Florida’s west coast and Central and South America. Although the Spanish did meet the Timucuas, much of our information about these Native Americans comes from the French. The French explorers lived in the Jacksonville area, near Chief Saturiwa and his people, for a little over a year.

Woodland Period – St. Johns Cultures – 500 BC to 1500 AD

By 500 BC, the St. Johns culture has become firmly established. A change in pottery-making methods marks this shift. Pots are made by coil construction rather than by simply forming pots from a slab, and the tempers have changed. Pelotes Island is affected by Georgia styles and Florida styles. Up in Georgia, sand was used as a temper to harden the clay. Sometimes pottery with both sand and fibers are found, demonstrating the slow shift to new technology. The Florida style required the potter to use clay from fresh water sources containing fresh-water sponges.

Late Archaic Period – Orange Culture -2000 – 1000 BC

The earliest hard evidence we have for Native American occupation of Pelotes and Pinders Islands dates from about 2000 BC. Both islands possesses shell middens (giant oyster trash piles) which are full of fiber-tempered pottery. This pottery was made by mixing clay with fibers from Spanish moss or saw palmetto and firing it. The fibers function as a temper and keep the pot from cracking during the firing process.

Who Were the Tocobago Indians?

The Tocobago Indians were a group of prehistoric and historic Native Americans living near Tampa Bay, Florida up until roughly 1760. The archaeological name for this and adjacent groups in late prehistoric (pre-European) times is the Safety Harbor culture.

The Black Drink

Ever wonder how prehistoric man survived without coffee? Millions of Americans depend on a morning cup of coffee to jump-start their day. Florida’s own Timucua Indians had something just as good – the Black Drink. It came from a plant called Yaupon Holly, in Latin – Ilex vomitoria. How could a plant with a name like that rival modern coffee?

What happened to the Timucua?

In the early sixteenth century native people who spoke the Timucua language occupied most of the northern one-third of peninsular Florida (east of the Aucilla River), apparently not including the Gulf of Mexico coast. The Timucua also inhabited southeastern Georgia as far north as the Altamaha River. In 1492 this large area, about 19,200 square miles, was home to approximately 200,000 people.

Chris Eyre and Scott Garen Form New Production Company for Native American Films

Chris Eyre and Scott Garen, the team behind the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s signature film A THOUSAND ROADS, have created a new production company, Seven Arrows Signature, for Native American films.

Blackfeet honor Kicking Woman

A week after Pope John Paul II was buried in the Vatican, the Blackfeet Nation laid to rest one of its most revered spiritual leaders here Thursday.

Charles Eastman’s account of Chief Sitting Bull

The following is Charles Eastman’s account of Chief Sitting Bull. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and … Continue reading

Sitting Bull Pictures

This collection of old Indian pictures are of Chief Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotanka), an important historical leader of the Hunkpapa band of Lakota Sioux Indians.

The Sioux Wars (1851-1890)

The Sioux Wars began with small fights at Fort Laramie, somwhere in Wyo., and nearby forts. In 1862 a chief called Little Crow led an uprising in Minnesota. The Sioux killed hundreds of Europeans in the area before Army troops stopped them. Loads of the surviving Sioux joined other Sioux in the west.

What does Wasichu mean?

Have you ever wondered what the literal meaning of washi’chu is?

Enrollment requirements for the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma

The criteria for citizenship is that you must trace back to a direct ancestor listed on the 1906 Dawes Roll by issuance of birth and/or death certificates.

Citizenship criteria for the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma

The criteria for citizenship is that you must trace back to a direct ancestor listed on the 1906 Dawes Roll by issuance of birth and/or death certificates.

Indian actors strive to be positive role models

For decades Hollywood portrayed Indians as savages, enemies and losers. Now a generation of Native American filmmakers and actors is trying to overturn stereotypes and tell its own truth.