Who is Zitkála-Šá?

Zitkála-Šá (“Red Bird”), also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a writer, editor, translator, musician, educator, and political activist. She was a Sioux Indian who went with Quaker missionaries to attend White’s Indiana Manual Labor Institute at the age of 8. Upon receiving her diploma in 1895, Zitkála-Šá gave a speech advocating for women’s rights. She later lectured across the country arguing for Native American cultural preservation and citizenship. Zitkála-Šá, alongside her husband, founded the National Council of American Indians in 1926 that focused on uniting the tribes across the U.S. and gaining suffrage for all American Indians.

"She is the Statue of Liberty! It was she, who though representing human liberty, formerly turned her back upon the American aborigine."

Source(s): NPS, Goodreads

(William F. Hanson and) Zitkala-Sa. Photo courtesy of Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University

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