In Honor of Women’s History Month: Just a Few of My Female Indigenous Inspirations


Within Indigenous communities, the women lead. They lead in our homes and our society, whether elected or not – that tradition has continued for millennia.

I’ve compiled a short, off-the-top-of-the-head-on-a-Thursday-afternoon list of women whom I see as icons and inspire me on a daily basis; to me, these women typify the amazing leadership that most (definitely not “all”—true recognition and admiration requires honesty) Indigenous women have the potential to exhibit. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it meant to be defining or the official “These are the Indigenous Women Who Deserve Recognition” list. There are too many amazing Indigenous women who deserve that recognition to do that—I don’t want to get carpal tunnel.

This is my list—everyone should take a couple minutes to think of their own. Everyone. Thank you, Indigenous woman.

Christine Quintasket
Kateri Tekakwitha
Anna Mae Aquash
Sylvia McAdam
Wanda BM
Marie Bear Medicine
Ingrid Washinawatok
Miranda B.L.
Mary Brave Bird
Wilma Mankiller
Paulette J.
Ada Deer
Shelley Young
Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Petrovich
Nina Wilson
Elouise Cobell
Deborah P.
Georgia George
Allison Gottfriedson
Jessica Gordon
Wilma Faye MWH
Ramona B.
Holly C.-M.
Winona LaDuke
Cecilia F.
Joan Kennerly
Rose Weaseltail
Cathy K.
Claudia K.
Lori Piestewa
Nina Pacari
Roberta Jamieson

I know there are many, many other deserving women—I propose that we all make a list the Indigenous women who are our influences and inspirations.

Jude Schimmel

Gyasi Ross
Blackfeet Nation
Twitter: @BigIndianGyasi