The five women I am featuring in this weeks blog are from the past history and current movements. More amazing native women coming soon. I have a stack of them to let loose, mostly artists and political activists, whether they knew it or not.

Let’s begin with Deb Haagland, US Secretary of the Interior. Since her appointment, she has hit the ground running by restoring restrictions protecting lands, by removing derogatory words on Federal lands, by uncovering the abuses of “Indian Schools, and this was in her first year.

Secretary Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican. 

Secretary Haaland grew up in a military family; her father was a 30-year combat Marine who was awarded the Silver Star Medal for saving six lives in Vietnam, and her mother is a Navy veteran who served as a federal employee for 25 years at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a military child, she attended 13 public schools before graduating from Highland High School in Albuquerque. 

She is one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. In Congress, she focused on environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered indigenous women, and family-friendly policies. 

Sacagawea, is a well-known story here in the NW where her story unfolded. We all learned about her strength and importance to the success of the Lewis and Clark “Corp of Discovery Expedition.” Her story and that of Lewis and Clark have been written about since they set off on this epic journey that changed the landscape of our nation. 

𝗦𝗮𝗰𝗮𝗴𝗮𝘄𝗲𝗮, 𝗮 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗴𝗶𝗿𝗹 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗱 𝗔𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗵𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆

  • You have heard of Sacagawea, she played a major role in the discoveries of Lewis and Clark. Her journey in life was a tough and convoluted one. Sacagawea was the daughter of the chief of the Shoshone people. She was captured by an enemy tribe when she was just a girl and married off to a French Canadian trapper.
  • She was also the one who came into Lewis and Clark’s expedition to be an interpreter. She gave birth to a son in 1805, whom she named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. She passed away in 1812 after giving birth to a daughter.

“Pi’tamaka also known as “Brown Weasel Woman”

  • “Pi’tamaka also known as “Brown Weasel Woman” was born into the Piikáni Piegan Tribe of the Blackfeet Nation. She was the eldest of two sisters and two brothers. As a girl, she began to show less interest in traditional female roles and more interest in hunting and the games her brothers played. Her father, a well-respected warrior of the tribe, indulged her interest and taught her to hunt and fight.
  • “She loved learning the ways of a warrior and soon gave up the work of the household in exchange for hunting buffalo with her father. During one of these buffalo hunts, the group of hunters encountered an enemy war party and when they retreated at top speed to escape their enemies, her father had his horse shot out from under him and he was injured. Although it was very dangerous, Brown Weasel Woman turned back, picked up her father and escaped. One of the bravest deeds a warrior could perform was to face the enemy while riding back to rescue someone who was left behind. So when she returned to camp, the people honored her for being courageous.
  • “Soon after, her mother became very ill and, because she was the oldest child, Brown Weasel Woman took over the chores of the household to help her mother. Although she was an excellent home maker, she did not have any interest in doing any of it. She enjoyed the men’s activities of hunting and war much more. Although many of the men took an interest in her, she did not have any interest in having a boyfriend or becoming married.
  • “The turning point of Brown Weasel Woman’s life came when her father was killed during a war party and her mother died soon afterwards. Brown Weasel Woman suddenly became responsible for her brothers and sisters. She took on the role as the head of the family which meant that she hunted for and protected her family. Because of this new responsibility, a widowed woman moved in to help with the household chores and to help teach her brothers and sisters.
“Brown Weasel Woman’s first war adventure was against the Crows who had stolen some Blackfeet horses. It took the war party several days to get to Crow country, but when they arrived, the Blackfeet were successful at stealing many of the Crow’s horses. Brown Weasel Woman stole eleven horses by herself. Although the Crows chased them for a while, the Blackfeet got safely back to their camp.
“On the way back to the camp, Brown Weasel Woman was on watch duty from the top of a butte, while the others rested in a hidden location. She saw two enemies approaching, and before she could reach the men to warn them of the danger, the enemies were ready to round up and steal their horses. Brown Weasel Woman ran down the butte with her rifle and grabbed the rope of the herd’s lead horse to keep the rest from running away. The enemies saw that she was a woman and began to close in on her because they did not expect any trouble from her. Brown Weasel Woman shot the enemy who carried a rifle and forced the other one to turn and run. The men were very impressed by her courage of saving the horses and killing an enemy.
“During the summer, when the tribes gathered and the warriors told of their many adventures, the Piikáni chief told Brown Weasel Woman to share hers. This was a highly unusual thing for a woman to be asked, but after doing so, the chief bestowed upon her the name Pi’tamaka (Running Eagle) as a sign of respect and honor.”
Another First, just because she’s beautiful, 106-yr-old indigenous Kalinga tattoo master Apo Whang-od featured on the cover of Vogue Philippines.

Strong Words: Poet and Musician Joy Harjo Becomes the First Native U.S. Poet Laureate


Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.

Reprinted from ”She Had Some Horses: Poems.” Copyright 2008, 1983 by Joy Harjo. 


Native Women Always Proud and Strong
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