Native American Women Warriors

Posted By Paul G February 26th, 2013 Last Updated on: March 3rd, 2013


The Native American Women Warriors was created to raise awareness of women veterans.

Native American Women Warriors

Founder Mitchelene BigMan

Mitchelene BigMan President and founder had created dresses to signify her patriotism to this great nation and the First Nations People. In March 2010, the dresses caught the eye of an elder, which was the time the group was recognized as the first all female Native American Color Guard. The name at that time was the Army Women’s Iraqi Freedom Veterans, because it started out as Army, but changed the name to include all branches of services. Since that historical moment the ladies have made special appearances as motivational, guest and keynote speakers at various events whether Veterans or Native in; conferences, pageants, training and Ethnic Observances. Native American Women Warriors still are given the opportunities to color guard but has grown to a non-profit, officially 1 Mar 2012. With the growth and changes, members had changed, but our recruitment efforts has blessed us with outstanding and passionate Native lady veterans and assisting us in our vision and mission, we have been blessed to have Arlene Duncan, a member of the Marine Corps, join our ranks and has helped us tremendously. Our current board of directors are; Mitchelene BigMan, Army (founder/president, Crow), Arlene Duncan (Vice President/), Angel Young (Secretary/Standing Rock Lakota), Brenda McEwing (Treasurer/Dakota Tipi).

Our original dresses, the red, white, blue and Cheyenne pink signify our patriotism. The red dresses, designed by NAWW’s members (past and present), signify the blood that was shed for this great nation. The blue ones signifying valor and courage as a warrior. March 1, 2012 officially became Non-Profit, still recruiting new members and setting up chapters in various states. Our duties are still color guard, but we have taken on a mission to help our fellow lady veterans of Native American descent in areas of need; health, employment and education.

Mission Statement
We are dedicated to surface recognition of women veterans, especially of Native American descent, and their contribution to the military, that represents our indigenous people and the United States of America.

Vision Statement
Our goal is to assist our Native American women veterans in receiving the help desperately needed to empower themselves to take on modern challenges in education and employment; to guide those needing special services to attain a powerful mind, body and spirit.

Native American Women Warrior

This past January the group participated in the Inauguration festivities for President Barack Obama.  The members that participated were:

  • Mitchelene BigMan – Crow
  • Julia Kelly – Crow
  • Josie Passes-Porter – Crow
  • Tia Cyrus – Crow
  • Brenda McEwing – Dakota Tipi
  • Arlene Duncan – Chippewa Tribe
  • Angel Young – Standing Rock Lakota
  • Celeste Borrego –  Lakota
  • Charlyne Hunt – Waccamaw
  • Michela Alire – Ute Mountain Ute

Native American Women Warrior

 What was it like to participate in the Inauguration?

When we were announced that we were a participant of the inauguration the ladies were so excited.    The day of the Inauguration, besides being cold, we were anxious, excited, honored and so many emotions running through us, especially when we passed the President's reviewing stand.

Native American Women Warrior

What does the future hold for the group?

As for the future, we are a new non-profit and still trying to get it going as far as assisting our Native American Women veterans.  Our goal and vision is not only be a resource, but an outreach, establish offices within some of the tribes and partner up with VA to ensure they get the assistance needed.  We also plan on setting up chapters of color guard groups through out the nation so we will have more representation for future events.

We are accepting applications not only for color guard, but volunteers that at Native, non-Native, veteran, non-veteran, dependents of veterans, gold star mothers and hope to get the ladies auxiliary going.  We are accepting application from males and females wanting to help the non-profit side.  The color guard, there is a criteria: Native American descent (proof), serve(d) honorable and a veteran from any one of the military branches to include Coast Guard.

Learn more about the Native American Women Warriors.

Native American Women Warrior

Native American Women Warrior

Native American Women Warrior

Native American Women Warrior

Native American Women Warrior

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Gabrielle Lazard-Bilagody

I would like to join. US Army veteran OIF 2004-2005, first female in my family to serve. I look forward to hearing from you

Jim Corrales

Mija the ceremony must have been wonderful. Just one question
I see the Army, Navy and Marine corp insignias, Where is the Air Force?
You could have rep. them. Next time step up to the plate and be


This is so wonderful! I love the beautiful regalia and these wonderful women veterans look awesome 🙂

Lucy La Hurreau

Years ago, I started dancing in Veterans Dance saying I was representing my deceased husband…it’s only the last few years that I’ve been able to say I’m the Vet I’m dancing for…and have gotten quite a few hugs from quite a few of the guys that were against my dancing….Honor…we were to be quiet, but we can’t stay quiet any more. We need to stand up…Megwetch for the article and to the women of the armed forces….I’m proud to know they are there….
Mkwatakwabit Wasewaikwa (SacFox)


I would like to join. I am TIWA-PIRO, Pueblo. I am first female in my family to be in combat. OIF 2004-2005.

A'lice Hall

My Sisters
I am so proud of all you efforts and service. I am retired Air Force and am proud and blessed to have served. I plan to attend our Veterans Day Honor Ceremony in northern Virginia and would love to see something like this instituted here. Though I wear traditional regalia, my shawl reflects my veterans status. Peace

Virginia Frank

Are there any NAWW in the MO area that would be willing to come to St Louis in November 2014 and show the staff, vets, volunteers and visitors what a color guard does and why they do what they do? Arrangements can be made if funding allows for travel and perhaps a small stipend. Each Nov we celebrate the AI contributions to the freedom we all have today. Novemebr is the National American Indian heritage month. Contact can be made at [email protected].
Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Nokomis Quay

I don’t think it’s proper for military veterans to be wearing Jingles Dresses. This dress orignated among the Ojibwe people and was meant to be used in healing ceremonies. In the traditional culture of the eastern Woodland tribes, the warriors (military) have separate roles from the chiefs and healing socieities. Some tribes require that Clan Cheifs and medicine people are never to spill blood. I know the western and southwestern tribes have re-interpretated the Ojibwe Jingle Dress to suit their own needs and desires, and I find that offensive.

Murphy N. Parkhurst

it was good to see you walking tall and proud, carrying your colors. made the old heart skip a beat. keep up the good work, I am a stand by for the 173rd Airborne color guard in Minneapolis. You are doing a great job , take care and good luck. Happy trails…

Rusty Kayonnie

I felt the honor for our veterans and inspiried with all the greets and apologies and for thier service and and honor i love all ya’ll you guyz are gonna never be forgotten and we and the next generation and it will be carried on as a legacy and you will always be mentioned cuz you guys are history of the past much love from my heart to you and your family peace…

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