The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Native Sheros – Part 5

posted by Donna Henes


On Thanksgiving, we always tell the story about how the native people helped the pilgrims to survive and ultimately thrive in the new world. This is well and good, but there are so many other inspiring stories that could be told about the many purposeful, powerful Native American women who influenced the formation of this country.

I recently came across Woman Spirit, a fascinating web page by Julia White, of Cherokee and Sioux heritage. She writes:

 “From the beginning of time, Native women have been a driving force in their cultures. When the explorers came to the shores of North America, they provided valuable information and services, which still carries their mark today. Sadly, little has been written about these women, and little is known.”

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, this week I will share in my own words some information that I gleaned about exceptional native Sheros thanks to Julia White’s research.

Kaitchkona Winema
Modoc

When she was young, Winema was called Nonooktowa, “the strange child,” because she had no fear of man or beast. Strong and athletic, she led an adventurous life, hunting grizzly bears, fighting beside the men in battle, and skillfully handling canoes in white water rapids.

The California gold rush brought more and more miners and settlers onto Modoc land, raising the tension level between the two groups. Winema married a Kentucky miner named Frank Riddle and worked tirelessly as interpreter, negotiator and peacemaker to avoid war.

The government removed the Modoc forcibly from their California home onto a reservation in Oregon. The Modoc who fled the hated reservation were pursued by government forces. Though they resisted fiercely, the Modocs were almost completely exterminated.

Washington sent a peace commission to get the Modoc back on the reservation. But the Modocs had experienced too much treachery by the government and reacted with hatred and mistrust. A plan was hatched to defy the white government by killing the three peace commissioners.

Winema discovered the plot and rode out to warn the commissioners of the danger. The head of the delegation, an army general, refused to take the warning by an Indian woman seriously. He was killed, as was his second in command. The third commissioner, Albert Meacham, was injured and Winema managed to get him out of the camp and save his life.

This attack led to the Modoc War. The conflict continued for nearly a year before the Modoc were finally defeated, their leaders executed.

Despite the vicious attack he survived, Meacham was a dedicated champion of Native rights. Determined to tell the full story of the events which led to the Modoc War, he produced a lecture-play entitled “Winema,” a tribute to Winema’s courage and humanity.

He formed a troupe of players — Winema, her husband, her son and a number of other Modoc — and took his act on the road. The group enjoyed a highly successful 7-year long tour of the East.

The Winema National Forest in South Central Oregon is named for her.

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.
 

Native Sheros – Part 4

posted by Donna Henes

On Thanksgiving, we always tell the story about how the native people helped the pilgrims to survive and ultimately thrive in the new world. This is well and good, but there are so many other inspiring stories that could be told about the many purposeful, powerful Native American women who influenced the formation of this country.

I recently came across Woman Spirit, a fascinating web page by Julia White, of Cherokee and Sioux heritage. She writes:

 “From the beginning of time, Native women have been a driving force in their cultures. When the explorers came to the shores of North America, they provided valuable information and services, which still carries their mark today. Sadly, little has been written about these women, and little is known.”

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, this week I will share in my own words some information that I gleaned about exceptional native Sheros thanks to Julia White’s research.

Susan La Flesche
Omaha

Susan’s father, Iron Eyes, was the last Omaha chief. He believed that since the white man had established permanent residency and was here to stay, the best survival method for his people was to learn the ways of the whites. His children were well educated and went on to become authors, politicians, orators, anthropologists and doctors. Susan, in fact, was the first Native American woman ever to earn a medical degree.

After the completion of her training, Susan returned to Nebraska as a government physician. She traveled from one reservation to another on horseback and treated anyone who needed medical attention. It is told that she treated every Omaha person at one time or another during her life.

Susan married and moved first to Bancroft, Nebraska where she established a private practice treating both Native and white patients, and then to the newly established town of Walthill where she founded a hospital.

As a community leader in Walthill, she headed a delegation to Washington to fight against the sale of liquor in Nebraska. Her efforts resulted in a covenant being placed in land sale documents that prohibited the possession of liquor on any land purchased from the Omaha.

Tomorrow Native Sheros – Part 5

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.
 

Native Sheros – Part 3

posted by Donna Henes

On Thanksgiving, we always tell the story about how the native people
helped the pilgrims to survive and ultimately thrive in the new world.
This is well and good, but there are so many other inspiring stories
that could be told about the many purposeful, powerful Native American
women who influenced the formation of this country.

I recently came across Woman Spirit, a fascinating web page by Julia White, of Cherokee and Sioux heritage. She writes:

 “From the beginning of time, Native women have been a driving force in
their cultures. When the explorers came to the shores of North America,
they provided valuable information and services, which still carries
their mark today. Sadly, little has been written about these women, and
little is known.”

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, this week I will share in
my own words some information that I gleaned about exceptional native
Sheros thanks to Julia White’s research

Nanye-Hi (Nancy Ward)
Cherokee

Nancy Ward was a young woman, newly married, when her husband was shot and killed in a battle against the Creeks. She picked up her fallen lover’s gun and fought with ferocious grief. Her actions inspired the Cherokee to victory. Her strength and character were reward by her people who honored her by naming her a Beloved Woman, a position reserved for brave and wise women who have served the people well.

As a Beloved Woman, Nancy had great influence in the tribal councils. She and her sister Beloved Women were the final arbitrators of any and all disputes and held the awesome power of making life and death decisions the affected her people. Her first official act as a Beloved Woman was to save the life of a white woman who had been condemned to die.

Nancy believed that her people should pursue a peaceful co-existence with the whites. She was a successful negotiator and mediator, which earned her the respect of both the white government and the Cherokee. A true politician, she was always on the move working to divert and resolve conflict between the tribe and the settlers and she was the driving force behind many peace agreements.

Queen Nancy was instrumental in negotiating the very first treaty between the white government and the Cherokee, known as the Treaty of Hopewell, and was present at its signing. But over the years, she became disillusioned as she watched her work for peace unravel as treaty after treaty was broken.

She eventually left her home territory as the land was sold off the whites. She moved to Tennessee where she operated a successful inn until her death.

Nancy Ward left a legacy of courage, honor and dedicated peace making. She is held in high honor by both the Cherokee and the American Nations, as evidenced by the fact that a Tennessee chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is named for her!

Tomorrow Native Sheros – Part 4

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.
 

Native Sheros – Part 2

posted by Donna Henes

On Thanksgiving, we always tell the story about how the native people
helped the pilgrims to survive and ultimately thrive in the new world.
This is well and good, but there are so many other inspiring stories
that could be told about the many purposeful, powerful Native American
women who influenced the formation of this country.

I recently came across Woman Spirit, a fascinating web page by Julia White, of Cherokee and Sioux heritage. She writes:

 “From the beginning of time, Native women have been a driving force in
their cultures. When the explorers came to the shores of North America,
they provided valuable information and services, which still carries
their mark today. Sadly, little has been written about these women, and
little is known.”

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, this week I will share in
my own words some information that I gleaned about exceptional native
Sheros thanks to Julia White’s research

Wetamoo (Sweetheart)
Pocasset

 
Wetamoo translates into English as “Sweetheart,” which the English believed meant that she was easily led. Not so!

Wetamoo was born in the 1700s to the Pocasset Nation on land that is around present day Rhode Island. Her father was the sachem, or high chief of the nation. When Chief Corbitant died, Wetamoo became the Squaw Sachem.

When Wetamoo’s husband, Wamsutta, died a mysterious death, she became convinced that he had been poisoned by the English. This initiated her life-long hatred of the whites. She married several more husbands over the years, but sent one after the other away as soon as he declared sympathy for the whites.

She was known for her great beauty and for diplomatic skills as well as her skills as a warrior. Wetamoo was a dedicated fighter for her people against the unfairness of white rule. She was a powerful and regal Sachem, commanding some 300 warriors.

During the great war of the northeast against the Pilgrims/Puritans/English, Wetamoo joined forces with the great Wampanoag Sachem, Chief Philip, whom the whites called “King Philip.” History books refer to this war as “King Philip’s War.”

Wetamoo and her warriors conducted many raids on the offending colonists and they in turn were hunted relentlessly by the Plymouth settlers during King Philip’s War, but they always managed to evade the conquering enemy. Until, during an attempted escape down the Fall River, she lost her footing and drowned. The Pilgrims promptly cut off her head, and displayed it on a pike in the town of Taunton.

The most complete history of Wetamoo and her leadership as Sachem of the Pocasset can be found in the memoirs of Mary Rowlandson, a white woman given to Wetamoo as a servant by one of her husbands who was a Narragansett chieftain captured by Wetamoo during King Philip’s War.

Tomorrow Native Sheros – Part 3

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.
 

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