International Women's Day: Making the world go round

Shalene Joseph, A'aniiih, Athabascan, is a project coordinator for the Native Wellness Institute and co-founder of the Indigenous 20 Something Project. (Photo by Tomas Karmelo Amaya).

Aliyah Chavez

Indian Country Today honors matriarchs on International Women’s Day

"Aunties really do make the world go round," writes a Twitter user. 

International Women's Day is a holiday celebrated around the globe. It was created to honor the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. For some, it also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.

This year's campaign theme is #EachforEqual. 

In Indigenous communities, there are no shortage of matriarchs leading their communities to make them a better place. 

Every day women in Indian Country are vocal about issues in their communities and passionate about changing things. They are doctors, scientists, athletes, mothers, lawyers and policy makers. 

Today and every day, we celebrate these hard-working, passionate and inspirational women. 

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ABOVE: Indigenous people lead the Phoenix Women’s March in January 2019. (Photo by Delia Johnson, Cronkite News)
June Purdue, Alutiiq, holds up banded strands that will attach to the back of a close-fitting beaded cap, a replica of a headdress collected by a French explorer in the 1800s. When the original is returned to a French museum, the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak will have the replica.
ABOVE: June Purdue, Alutiiq, holds up banded strands that will attach to the back of a close-fitting beaded cap, a replica of a headdress collected by a French explorer in the 1800s. When the original is returned to a French museum, the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak will have the replica. (Credit: Joaqlin Estus)
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ABOVE: Kathryn Treder, Inupiaq and Unangax, is a rugby player on the USA Women’s 15’s National Team. She is currently training to make the squad for the Rugby World Cup in 2021. (Photo courtesy of Kathryn Treder)
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ABOVE: Colleen Biakeddy, Diné, is an actor who played the grandma in the viral New Balance spec commercial, “For Any Run.” She is pictured on set of the commercial that was directed by Christopher Nataanii Cegielski in August. (Photo by Alisa Banks Photography)
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ABOVE: Response from Twitter
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ABOVE: Diane Humetewa, Hopi, is the first Native woman to be appointed as a federal judge. Here she is pictured at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse after conducting a naturalization ceremony. (Photo by Patty Talahongva)
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ABOVE: Haley Laughter, CEO of Hozho Total Wellness, recycles trauma toward health and wellness awareness through Indigenous yoga. (Photo by Quindrea Yazzie)
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ABOVE: Verna Teller is the Isleta Pueblo Chief Justice who was the first Native woman to give an opening prayer on the House floor in Washington, D.C. (Photo from C-SPAN)
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ABOVE: Amanda Wilson, Navajo, is a baker and blogger who documents her creations on Instagram. (Photo by Amanda Wilson)
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ABOVE: Lynette Stant, Navajo, is the first Native educator to win Arizona’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ award. (Photo by Lynette Stant)
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ABOVE: Response from Twitter
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ABOVE: Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, signed a missing and murdered Indigenous women bill into law in September. (Photo by Patty Talahongva)
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ABOVE: Pua Case, Native Hawaiian, is pictured at the opening of the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout surf ceremony. Case is a prominent figure in the fight of protecting Mauna Kea on the big Island of Hawaii. (Photo by Kapulei Flores)
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ABOVE: Reyna Banteah, Zuni Pueblo, is a farmer who owns Ts’uyya Farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Reyna Banteah)
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ABOVE: Candis Callison, Tahltan, and Patty Loew, Bad River, are two Indigenous journalists who were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Scientists in October. (Photo by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences)
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ABOVE: Rosalie Fish, Cowlitz, is a freshman cross country runner at Iowa Central. Often times, she runs with a red hand painted on her face to bring awareness to the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. (Photo courtesy of Rosalie Fish)
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ABOVE: LaDonna Harris, Comanche, has been a public servant for almost 60 years. Some of her major successes include championing the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. She helped the Menominee Nation regain federal recognition in 1973. And promoted the idea that “Indian desks” should be created in a variety of cabinet agencies, including the White House. (Photo by Aliyah Chavez)
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ABOVE: Tiffany Black, Diné, is a makeup artist and beauty influencer. She has received recognition from major brands including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Morphe and Kylie Skin. (Photo by Tiffany Black)
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ABOVE: "On #InternationalWomensDay we honor the work of Vanessa Nosie of the #ApacheStronghold who leads the struggle to #SaveOakFlat and protect Mother Earth for all our children to survive against the evil powers & greed of US colonialism & corporations. #IWD2020" writes Steve Pavey on Twitter.
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ABOVE: "My grandmother, Liz Howard, is Eagle moiety, Teikweidí clan, Tlingit tribe. In 2014 she received the Alaskan AARP Andrus Award for Community Service. For years she's volunteered at the local senior center, and even to this day helps when needed. She is the kindest person I know." writes Steph on Twitter.
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ABOVE: Shandiin Yessilth, Diné, poses at a construction site near the Fort McDowell casino in Phoenix where she interns with the Kitchell Corporation. She plans on pursuing a career in construction management in the future. (Photo courtesy of Shandiin Yessilth)
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Ryneldi Becenti (Navajo) was one of the first Native American women to play in the WNBA.ABOVE: Ryneldi Becenti (Navajo) was one of the first Native American women to play in the WNBA.
Women's March 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye)
ABOVE: Women's March 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye)
Nicolle Gonzales, a Navajo nurse midwife and the founder and executive director of Changing Woman Initiative, poses for a photo at an Indigenous doula training in Window Rock, Arizona, on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. She believes it’s important to have a safe space for Native women to talk about the health problems they face. “The things that women experience, we don’t always talk about,” she said. “For me, holding a space and creating a space allows women to have those conversations, but also to heal and to build collaboration and support beyond this training.” (Photo by Delia Johnson, Cronkite News)
ABOVE: Nicolle Gonzales, a Navajo nurse midwife and the founder and executive director of Changing Woman Initiative, poses for a photo at an Indigenous doula training in Window Rock, Arizona, (Photo by Delia Johnson, Cronkite News)
Abigail Echo-Hawk, Pawnee, received one of the two Woman of the Year Awards at the 25th National Indian Women’s “Supporting Each Other” Honoring Lunch in Washington, D.C. She is the Chief Research Officer for the Seattle Indian Health Board. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye)
ABOVE: Abigail Echo-Hawk, Pawnee, received one of the two Woman of the Year Awards at the 25th National Indian Women’s “Supporting Each Other” Honoring Lunch in Washington, D.C. She is the Chief Research Officer for the Seattle Indian Health Board. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye)
Ashton Locklear, 18, is one of America’s leading gymnasts. Now, she is in San Jose, California for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials July 8 and 10, one step closer to achieving her lifelong dream: A spot on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team.
Ashton Locklear, 18, is one of America’s leading gymnasts. Now, she is in San Jose, California for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials July 8 and 10, one step closer to achieving her lifelong dream: A spot on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team.ABOVE: Ashton Locklear, Lumbee, is a gymnast who was part of the 2014 USA gold-medal winning team. Here she is pictured in San Jose, California for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team.
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ABOVE: Kim Kanuho, Diné, is a planner and president of Fourth World Design Group LLC, a Native-owned community planning consulting firm based in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo courtesy of Kim Kanuho)
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ABOVE: Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst, Húŋkpapȟa and Diné, also known as "Redstreak Girl" has been a fashion and lifestyle blogger since 2013. She is also a mother to two teen girls and a wife to a punk rock musician. (Photo by Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst)
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