November 18th, 2015 Last Updated on: November 18th, 2015
When I think of Native Heritage Month, I think of our matriarchs, grand-mothers, mothers, sisters, community leaders, business owners, actresses, who continually find ways to guide us, keep us honest, lend an ear when no one else will listen & who are the glue to our communities & families that keep us together.
Here are a couple Native Women whose leadership continue to inspire us and make us feel proud.
Eloise Cobell (Blackfeet)
Eloise Cobell made National news as the lead plaintiff in a case against the BIA for the mismanagement of lease money to Native American tribes across our country, which lead to a 3.4 Billion settlement for all tribes involved. Unfortunately Ms. Cobell died in 2011 at the age of 65 and was not able to see her case won. Before her death, Ms. Cobell specifically requested part of the settlement money be set aside for Natives pursuing higher education.
Not only did Eloise Cobell fight for years of injustice done to Native American tribes but she also made assurances for future Native generations so they could have scholarship money available to get an education and make a difference in our communities.
Cheyenne Brady (Sac & Fox/Cheyenne/Tonkawa)
Hailing from New Town, North Dakota., the current reigning Miss Indian World 2015/2016 is Cheyenne Brady. Some of her platforms include promoting higher education, healthy lifestyles and cultural preservation to our communities. As a tribal ambassador Cheyenne will travel the world educating others about tribal and cultural traditions and bring together Native and Indigenous people. www.facebook.com/missindianworld
Sacheen Littlefeather (White Mountain Apache)
Who remembers in 1973 when Sacheen Littlefeather declined to accept Marlon Brando's award for Best Actor because of the mistreatment and insensitivity to Native Americans in film? What made her brave was being able to withstand the horrendous boo's from many Hollywood actors in the audience that night and then turn her situation around and give a very eloquent & improvised speech which helped pave the way for many Native actors to come.
Chief Theresa Spence (Attawapiskat)
2012 was an incredible year for, “Idle No More” , as a way to speak up against Canadian Bill C-45, which infringed on First Nations tribal sovereignty, Chief Theresa Spence began a six week hunger strike to call a meeting between First Nations councils & the Canada government about their treaty relationships, which eventually happened.
Tantoo Cardinal (Metis)
One of our most noted Native sisters on the big screen has been Tantoo Cardinal, who doesn't know Tantoo from her movie roles in Dances With Wolves, Black Robe, Grand Avenue & Smoke Signals. For me, what makes Tantoo awesome was in 2011 when she was arrested with Margot Kidder for protesting the Keystone Pipeline XL at the White House in Washington D.C.
These ladies represent the many strong pillars of Native women in our communities, they're passionate, smart, brave and willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of their people. Me-Gwetch Anishnabe-qua's (Thank You Indian Woman) for all that you do for us.
#nativepride #strongnativewoman #strongnativewomen
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