Monday, April 12, 2010

If you ever wanted to know strength...

Minnie Two Shoes and Wilma Mankiller

Over the past few days Native America, and America herself, has lost two great American Indian leaders.

Minnie Two Shoes was an Assiniboine Sioux from the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. A publicist for the American Indian Movement from 1970-1976 she later worked endlessly as a team member of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) starting in 1994 to help unlock information regarding the 1975 murder of Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash. She served several terms as a board member of NAJA, was an editor for Native Peoples from 1996-98 and in Canada for several publications, and had previously worked with the Wotanin Wowapi at Fort Peck as a writer and columnist for ‘Red Road Home’ specializing in stories on water rights, air quality, environment, oil and gas and economic development. She also a contributing writer for News From Indian Country.”

“As journalists, we are very special people, and have a very serious responsibility,” Two Shoes says. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun along the way.”

Wilma Mankiller was the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. She passed last week. Many of the staff working with the Tribal Road Tour knew Wilma well. Recently, on War Paint Pilot Susie's radio show Alter-Native Voices, guest host Karen Wilde share stories of Mankiller. As Susie says, "We could hear the emotion in Karen's voice as she told the stories and said good bye to Wilma."

Mankiller's story also made NPR, here's a rebroadcast of a 1993 interview on Fresh Air.

Mankiller was a recipient of dozens of awards, most notable the Medal of Freedom for meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States presented to her by President Bill Clinton.

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