Native American Women Have Shown Us Through Their Contributions That Their Place In History Is Well-Deserved

Maria Tallchief is just one of the 100+ Native American women celebrated in author K Schallers new book
Maria Tallchief was considered America’s first major prima ballerina. She is one of 100+ Native American women celebrated in author KB Schaller’s new book, “100+ Native American Women Who Changed The World”


*Generally when we think of Native American women and their contributions to history and society, Pocahontas and Sacajawea come to mind. That is, until this groundbreaking book by Cherokee/Seminole heritage author KB Schaller, M.Ed., 100+ Native American Women Who Changed The World. Warriors, educators, an aerospace pioneer, a Catholic saint…100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World is a stellar collection of historical and contemporary women of indigenous heritage who have contributed to the survival and success of their families, communities – and the United States of America. This book is destined to be in classrooms throughout the country.

The author is a member of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), guest blogger on Native issues, a columnist, historical researcher and illustrator for Indian Life newspaper.

KB Schaller
KB Schaller, lovely author of the book, “100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World” leaves an event celebrating her work

Her biographical collection 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World is a winner of a 2014 International Book award, Women’s Issues category, and a 2014 Gold Medal winner in the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards, Biography category. These distinctions make her eminently qualified to write this well-researched book. Schaller is also the author of two novels, Gray Rainbow Journey, winner, National Best Books Award, and the sequel, Journey by the Sackcloth Moon.

100+ Bessie Coleman uewb_03_img0194
Civil aviator Bessie Coleman is another of the 100+ Native Americans featured in KB Schaller’s book

First, why a need for this book? Because, as so many other people have been, Indian women have been marginalized and under-appreciated. Schaller gives women, and particular Native American women, their just due. Some feel that this book is long overdue, as Carole Di Tosti, PhD, specifically states: “This collection of 100+ Native American women movers and shakers has long been overdue.”

Book cover, 100+ Native Amer

In further regard to the aforementioned Pocahantas, if not for Schaller’s well researched book, I would not have known that this colonial figure and peacemaker’s descendents through her son, Thomas, include Edith Wilson (wife of President Woodrow Wilson), Nancy Reagan (wife of President Ronald Reagan), and several other high profile personalities. This is another reason why this splendid book is essential reading material in our schools and classrooms across the country.

This book has spurred my interest in doing some research in my own family tree, resulting in the revelation that my niece, Tahshawna MedicineCrow, is of the Sioux heritage and Lakota tribe, which are part of a confederation of seven related Sioux tribes. I recall fondly taking a bus with her and her father, my brother, Jerome from Denver to Chicago several years ago. We got to know each other well on this bus trip and I trust that we will stay in touch with each other.

Article continues at East County Magazine

This article was written by Dennis Moore an Associate Editor with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.


5 thoughts on “Native American Women Have Shown Us Through Their Contributions That Their Place In History Is Well-Deserved”

  1. I am highly honored at the inclusion of my biographical collection, 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World in EurThisNThat. My sincere thanks to DeBorah Pryor for her consideration in publishing this article, and also to Dennis Moore who reviewed 100+ for East County Magazine.
    —-KB Schaller, Author

  2. You probably know that all history and children books (at least the dozen or so I’ve read) show Bessie Coleman as African American. Like I (Blackfeet and Seminole), no doubt she has Native American ancestry. But, from what I gather from the overview of your research, her African ancestry is being dismissed. If so, this perpetuates the habit of so many African Americans preferring to honor their Native American heritage and dishonor their African heritage.

  3. Hello Mr. W.E. LittleJohn:

    Thank you for responding, and I respect your concern regarding Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman’s inclusion in my biographical collection, 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World. When a call went out and she was nominated as a candidate for 100+, however, I found more frequently in my research that it was Native American Indian ancestry that was most often not included for candidates such as Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman’s and also Wildfire –Mary Edmonia Lewis.

    While research revealed Ms. Coleman’s father as Cherokee, and Ms. Lewis’ mother as Chippewa (her father was of West Indian descent) it was Ms. Lewis who spent her early childhood with her mother’s people. After she was orphaned at around age ten, she was reared in northern New York State, and was all but bullied into negating her Native heritage as she gained renown as a gifted sculptor.

    With some people of mixed ethnic heritage such as these two beautiful women, one race may manifest dominantly, so that to mention it would be to state the obvious, and one of the goals of 100+ is to uncover and reveal lesser known facts.

    While some accounts indeed mention that Ms. Coleman’s mother was of African descent, there is no way of knowing to what degree. But then, blood degree tends to be the onus of the Native American. While there are those who will no doubt cling tenaciously to describing such persons according to the darker side of their parentage, more objective viewpoints question the “fairness” of this peculiar practice that is obviously deeply rooted in a Euro-dominated culture that carefully and meticulously guarded its gene pool.

    That said, I can only hope that Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman’s inclusion in 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World will afforded her even wider acclaim due her biracial heritage.

    I hope that the same will continue to be afforded the heroines of Native and Euro heritage such as Maria Tallchief (Osage father, Scottish-Irish mother), LaDonna Harris (Comanche mother, Irish-American father), Louise Erdrich (Chippewa mother, German-American father)and many, many others, and without, I further hope, the distraction of deeply entrenched issues regarding their biracial heritage.

    It is also my fond desire that the traditionally oppressed Native American and their African American sisters and brothers will view lesser known facts as “Aha” moments, rather than as deeply entrenched issues that can be easily exploited to further divide us.

    I must say, too, that I am sure that you and I can agree that regardless of an individual’s point of view regarding it, race is the one issue in this country that sure gets people talking!

    I appreciate your taking the time to comment, and hope that your own copy of 100+ will afford you the opportunity to enjoy the many other exciting accomplishments of Indigenous heritage women that it seeks to share.

  4. Thank you for your response. Your research encourages me to dig deeper into my own Blackfeet and Seminole heritage.

  5. Hello Again, W.E. Littlejohn:

    Thank you for your response as well. I am also pleased to know that the research for 100+ has accomplished yet another goal, that of encouraging you (and, I hope, others) to enjoy and be enriched by the excitement of what research can uncover.

    Best wishes in pursuing a search into your own Blackfeet and Seminole ancestry. That sounds like quite an endeavor–a journey in itself that you may want to document as you proceed.

    Best wishes with it!

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