Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Native American Woman: Zitkala-Sa

Vanessa Melton-Wampler SOCI3093. 50 March 18, 2013 Professor Thomas Native American Woman: Zitkala-Sa The month of March is Women’s History Month and one of my favorite months of the year. This month has the opportunity to entice people learn about women from all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, and encourage women to admire those who’ve made a difference. There are many Native American women who’ve fought and died for the rights of their tribe and sex, but she is by far one of my favorite ones.Through literature, music, and politics, she fought to change the thoughts and beliefs of White America so their views of Native American culture could be better ones. Name of Important Woman I chose to write about one of my favorite Native American authors and activists, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin. Zitkala Sa, which means Red Bird in the Lakota dialect, is a name she gave herself after she left the tribe and graduated from college (Giese 1996) so she is known by both nam es.She was born February 22, 1876 at the Yankton Sioux Reservation (Johnson and Wilson 1988:27) and she â€Å"died at 61 and was buried in Arlington Cemetery (due to her husband's service in World War I)† in 1938 (Hoefel 1999). Racial/Ethnic Background Gertrude Simmons Bonnin is considered a part of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. She was the mixed child of John Haysting Simmons, a man of Anglo-French decent (Johnson and Wilson 1988:27) and full blooded Yankton Sioux Indian Ellen Tate ‘I yohiwin â€Å"She Reaches for the Wind† Simmons (Henderson 1997). She dentified more with her Native American roots because of the traditional teachings her mother taught her. Her mother taught her the ways and language of the Yankton Sioux and even raised her in â€Å"a tipi on the Missouri River until she was 12† (Hoefel 1999). Justification Gertrude Simmons Bonnin/Zitkala-Sa is such an important woman because of her positive contributions to the Native American community. Bonn in not only was â€Å"one of the leading figures in the Pan-Indian movement† she â€Å"dedicated her life to improving the social and educational awareness of American Indians† (Johnson and Wilson 1988:27).She used her writing skills to fight for new legislation that favored Native Americans. Her involvement as editor of the American Indian Magazine, a quarterly magazine for the Indian Rights Association (SAI) helped to keep her people informed of any new legislation (Johnson and Wilson 1988:30). Life History It was at this age when Ellen Tate ‘Iyohiwin Simmons decided to send her daughter to the same boarding school she attended so Bonnin would have the â€Å"ability to fend for herself later in life among an increasing number of palefaces† (Hoefel 1999).The boarding school Gertrude Bonnin attended was run by Quaker Missionaries in Wabash, Indiana. The White’s Manual Labor Institute became Bonnin’s home for four years until she returned to t he reservation in South Dakota. Against her mother’s wishes, she decided to seek higher education by attending another school even further from home called the Santee Normal Training School in Nebraska. After graduating from that school, Bonnin went on to get several scholarships, degrees, and accolades from Earlham College in Indiana and Boston Conservatory of Music.After college, she retained a teaching job at the Carlisle Indian School. This school was founded by Richard Henry Pratt, an army officer with the mottoes â€Å"’From savagery to civilization’ and ‘We must kill the savage to save the man’† (Giese 1996). In addition to his mottoes, â€Å"Pratt abusively exploited the students for labor while at the same time receiving government funds for each student attending the school† (Henderson 1997). During the two years she taught at the school, she wrote about the punishments done to the students who didn’t conform.This is w hen she became known as Zitkala-Sa; writer and activist. She was criticized â€Å"because many felt she showed no gratitude for the kindness and support that the white people had given her in her education† (ibid. ). She married Captain Raymond Bonnin, who was a mixed Native American just like she was. Together they had a son and lived on the Ute Reservation in Utah for fourteen years. It was there she actively got involved in the movement for changes within the Native American community.Through her efforts, Bonnin gained an ally named Montezuma who â€Å"echoed [Bonnin’s] anti-BIA sentiments† and supported her fight to grant the Indians full citizenship rights so they could determine their own fate (Johnson and Wilson 1988:34). Contributions During her lifetime, Bonnin accomplished a lot in the name of her Native American heritage. In 1916, the Bonnin’s moved to Washington DC where she acted as secretary and editor of the American Indian Magazine. She fo ught to ban the use of peyote amongst her people.She â€Å"aired such controversial issues as enfranchisement, Indian military service in World War I, corruption in the BIA, and allotment of tribal lands† (Hoefel 1999). She has expressed her voice and political opinions through her various different writings: Oklahoma's Poor Rich Indians: An Orgy of Graft, Exploitation of the Five Civilized Tribes, Legalized Robbery (1924), American Indian Stories (1921), â€Å"Why I Am a Pagan† (1902), The School Days of an Indian Girl, and An Indian Teacher Among Indians.In addition to her numerous publishing’s about Native American life and her autobiographies, she also was a leader amongst her people. She and her husband founded the National Council of American Indians in 1926. Legacies She was the first and only president of the NCAI, where she â€Å"was the sole support of the organization, through speaking engagements to women’s groups† (Giese 1996) and whil e she was alive, its membership was made up of only Native Americans. Through her struggles and efforts, she helped â€Å"American Indians gained full citizenship in 1924,† (Johnson and Wilson 1988:38).She â€Å"fought for government reform, law codification, Bureau of Indian Affairs’ employment of Indians, Court of Claims’ redress of land settlements, and the preservation of the actual history of her people† as well as â€Å"assimilation, citizenship, and abolishing the BIA† (Hoefel 1999). References Giese, Paula. 1996. â€Å"Gertrude Bonnin Zitkala Sha Yankton Nakota. † Retrieved March 19, 2013 (http://www. kstrom. net/isk/stories/authors/bonnin. html). Henderson, Melessa Renee. 1997. â€Å"Gertrude Simmons Bonnin. † Voices from the Gaps, Edited by Lauren Cutright.Retrieved March 20, 2013 (http://voices. cla. umn. edu/artistpages/bonnin. php). Hoefel, Roseanne. 1999. â€Å"Zitkala-Sa: A Biography. † The Online Archive of Nine teenth-CenturyU. S. Women’s Writings, Edited by Glynis Carr. Retrieved March 20, 2013 (http://www. facstaff. bucknell. edu/gcarr/19cUSWW/ZS/rh. html). Johnson, David L. and Raymond Wilson. 1988. â€Å"Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, 1876-1938: ‘Americanize the First American. ’† American Indian Quarterly 12 (1):27-40. (Retrieved from JSTOR on March 23, 2013).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.