The present Doodle—represented by American Indian visitor craftsman of Osage, Kaw, Cheyenne River Sioux, and European legacy, Chris Pappan—praises the 145th birthday celebration of essayist, performer, educator, writer, and suffragist Zitkala-Ša, an individual from the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota (Ihanktonwan Dakota Oyate or “Individuals of the End Village”).
A woman who lived resiliently during when the Indigenous individuals of the United States were not viewed as genuine individuals by the American government, not to mention residents, Zitkala-Ša gave her life to the insurance and festivity of her Indigenous legacy through the arts and activism.
On this day in 1876, Zitkala-Ša (Lakota/Lakȟótiyapi for “Red Bird”)— otherwise called Gertrude Simmons—was brought into the world on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota. At eight years of age, she left the booking to go to White’s Indiana Manual Labor Institute, a teacher life experience school where her hair was trimmed without wanting to, she was prohibited to talk her Lakota/Lakȟótiyapi language, and she had to rehearse a religion she didn’t trust in.
This was a typical encounter for a great many Indigenous kids in the wake of the Civilization Fund Act of 1819, which gave financing to ministers and strict gatherings to make an arrangement of Indian life experience schools that would coercively absorb Indigenous kids. While she checked out a portion of the encounters in her new climate, like learning the violin, she opposed the institutional endeavors to absorb her into European American culture—activities she fought through a long period of writing and political activism.
Returning back home to her booking, Zitkala-Ša chronicled a treasury of oral Dakota stories distributed as “Old Indian Legends” in 1901. The book was among the main attempts to carry conventional Indigenous American stories to a more extensive crowd. Zitkala-Ša was likewise a talented performer. In 1913, she composed the content and melodies for the main Indigenous American show, The Sun Dance, in view of quite possibly the most sacred Sioux ceremonies.
Notwithstanding her creative achievements, Zitkala-Ša was a lifelong spokesperson for Indigenous and women’s rights. As a dissident, she helped to establish and filled in as first leader of the National Council of American Indians in 1926.
Zitkala-Ša’s work was instrumental in the passage of historic legislation, for example, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924—conceding citizenship to Indigenous people groups brought into the world in the United States—just as the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
Happy Birthday, Zitkala-Ša, and thank you for your endeavors to protect and celebrate Indigenous culture for generations to the future.