EVANSTON, ILLINOIS – “Contemporary Native Women: Opening Doors to Change” showcases twelve leaders whose contributions make a difference in the lives of countless people. These richly diverse women are renowned for their work on issues ranging from land and environment, tribal sovereignty, culture and language, to economic injustice. This exhibition draws from their eloquent voices, stunning photographs, and selected objects to tell their stories.
Susan L. Allen (Rosebud Sioux). In 2012 Susan L. Allen made history by becoming the first American Indian woman elected to the Minnesota state legislature and the first openly gay American Indian woman to win election to any state legislature.
Ada Deer (Menominee Nation). The first woman to be appointed Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, Ada Deer has worked as a social worker, community organizer, political activist, educator, and administrator.
Sarah Deer (Muscogee (Creek) Nation). Professor of Law at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and co-director of the school’s Indian law program, is a legal scholar and advocate for Native American rights.
Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee). Founding president of The Morning Star Institute, a national Indian rights organization founded in 1984. Suzan Shown Harjo is a writer, curator, and policy advocate who has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of Native Peoples
Heather Kendall-Miller (Athabascan). A senior staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund in the Anchorage office. Heather Kendall-Miller has represented Alaska Native communities in numerous legal battles for over twenty years.
jessie little doe (Mashpee Wampanoag). A linguist who has, along with her community, revived Wampanoag (or Wôpanâôt8âôk), the mother language of her tribal nation.
Arlinda F. Locklear (Lumbee). The first Native American woman to successfully argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Arlinda F. Locklear has practiced law for some forty years.
Donna Loring (Penobscot Nation). A Vietnam veteran with a professional background in law enforcement. Donna Loring was the first woman police academy graduate to become police chief in Maine, serving as the Penobscot Nation’s police chief from 1984-90.
Jane Mt. Pleasant (Tuscarora). A national expert in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) agriculture. Jane Mt. Pleasant is on the faculty at New York’s Cornell University.
Daphne Odjig (Potawatomi/Odawa/English). Born on Manitoulin Island’s Wikwemikong Reserve in Ontario in 1919, Daphne Odjig is one of the most celebrated First Nations painters and print makers in Canada.
Janine Pease (Crow/Hidatsa). The first woman in the Crow Tribe of Montana to earn a doctorate, Janine Pease is a national leader in education.
Susan Kelly Power (Standing Rock Sioux). Born in 1925 in Fort Yates, North Dakota, on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Susan Kelly Power moved to Chicago in 1941, building a lifetime of activism and service there.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.