"The National Museum of the American Indian celebrated Women’s History Month by paying tribute to the first woman to become president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. Cecelia Fire Thunder lives on the Pine Ridge reservation and was in New York to attend the United Nations Conference on the Status of Women.
Now the former president, she recalled how, when elected in 2004, she was the target of much opposition and political attacks from the men in the tribe, who tried to impeach her. In December 2005, though, the Tribal Council voted to dismiss the impeachment ruling and she was reinstated. She also received support from tribal leaders throughout the country.
Fire Thunder greeted the audience in her native tongue. She told of growing up in a family and clan that always insisted on practicing and maintaining the language, values and traditions of their people.
“The arrival of the Europeans to this land was the beginning of the end of Native people’s way of life and the destruction of their culture,” she stated. Born in 1946, she learned English in a Christian boarding school, as did other children of her generation. “They insisted on converting Native peoples to Christianity, often forcefully, which resulted in changing the structure of the Native family and community. History, as written by the white man, will not tell of such tragedies,” she added."
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Native women fight to reclaim equality
(Workers World 3/31)