Women's History Month - Early Native American Activist, Zitkala-Sa

March 22, 2019

Women's History Month - Early Native American Activist, Zitkala-Sa

During Women’s History Month, we want to honor one of the earliest Native American Activists, Zitkala Sa (Red Bird). She was born in the late 1800s on the Yankton Indian Reservation to a mother who was full-blooded Sioux and a father who was European.

In the early 1900's, she began using her platform as a writer and musician to bring attention to many injustices in the Native community. While bringing attention to the injustices, she fought for the rights of Native people when she joined the Society of American Indians (SAI).

During the early 1900's, women didn’t have a lot of rights, to begin with, so being a woman and fighting for the rights of her people was not easy, it was risky and courageous.

Some of the rights she fought for and accomplishments included,
1) Protecting Native Americans from having their land stolen.
2) The rights of Native people to speak their language.
3) The rights of Native people to practice their culture and traditions.
4) Citizenship rights.
5) Helped get the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, passed.
6) Helped get the Indian Citizenship Act, passed.

“In 1926, After many years of activism, she and her husband became the founders of the National Council of American Indians. The organization "advocated citizenship rights, better educational opportunities, improved health care, and cultural recognition and preservation. Its records were discovered in the papers of Attorney Ernest L. Wilkinson; they are now held by the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.” She was the organizations President until she passed away in 1938.” (“National Council of American Indians records,” n.d.)

As a Native American, woman owned company, we are thankful for pioneers who fought so hard for the rights of our Native people. Today, and every day, we celebrate the life of this brave woman who put so much at risk to make sure Native people were respected and valued. We admire her courage and perseverance.

Written by: 
Barbie Stensgar
Colville Tribe - Arrow Lakes Band

Referenced sites:
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Zitkala-Sa#ref1172533 https://wikivisually.com/wiki/National_Council_of_American_Indians#cite_note-encyc-2



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