The Amazing First Native American Woman Doctor

It was an age where women couldn’t vote, non-whites rarely went to school, and the American government said Native Americans weren’t citizens. The odds were against Susan LaFlesche Picotte. Some of her own people rejected her learning and caregiving. But she persisted. She earned a degree in medicine and worked tirelessly to improve her tribe’s health and welfare. Read about the amazing first Native American woman doctor and her people. Adapt to Survive Omaha Chief Big Elk visited Washington D.C. in 1837. There he saw a coming flood that would wipe out his people. He warned them they needed to adapt to survive. He chose a man with a similar vision to succeed him as chief of the Omaha Tribe. Joseph La Flesche, Susan’s father, was of French and Indian descent. Chief Joseph LaFlesche (Iron Eyes) was one of the seven Omaha chiefs who signed treaties ceding over 90% of the tribe’s land to the U.S. government in 1854. Chief LaFlesche made a bold push for assimilation. But not everyone in the tribe wanted to assimilate. The tribe split into two parties.  It is either civilization or extermination. Chief LaFlesche The Young Men’s Party built log cabins rather than teepees, […]

Will You Help Forge a Gender Equal World?

Do you celebrate International Women’s Day? This year March 8th is the day. A day to remind us that gender has been used to justify abuse for centuries. It is sad we must have such a day across the world and in the United States. It takes hard work to forge a gender equal world. To remind us all that an inclusive world is a world of respect and kindness and diversity. #ChoosetoChallenge This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge. It asks that we all be alert to and challenge gender bias. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge. Internationalwomensday.org Anisa Nandaula’s spoken poem about the theme is short and powerful. Take a listen. We who are privileged to live in a society with freedom of speech can choose to speak up or remain quiet. Speaking out isn’t comfortable. But we need to remember that our current freedoms came because someone challenged the status quo—challenge common beliefs. Because someone stood up […]

Through Gifts She Made a Difference

Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage (1828-1918), known as Olivia Sage, experienced extreme poverty and immense wealth. And she became “one of the greatest female philanthropists our world has ever known.” Through gifts, she made a difference. Early Life The daughter of Margaret Pierson and Joseph Slocum, Olivia grew up in Syracuse, New York. Her wealthy and devoutly religious family were members of the First Presbyterian Church. They opposed reform movements like those involving women’s rights and abolition of slavery.  After the Panic of 1837, her father’s businesses and warehouses failed. He lost his fortune before she reached her teenage years. Sponsored by a wealthy uncle, she attended the prestigious Troy Female Seminary (now Emma Willard School). An academically rigorous school, it quietly advocated for women’s financial independence through education. This influenced Olivia greatly. She considered its headmistress her mentor. She graduated in 1847. Career Olivia became a teacher (one of the few acceptable female professions at the time). She experienced firsthand the limited opportunities, underpaid, and overworked difficulties common for the 19th century woman. The year 1948 sparked Olivia’s interest in women’s rights. It was the year of the “Declaration of Sentiments” in Seneca Falls. In 1852, the Third National Women’s […]