Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse are names that are familiar to most Americans. These 19th century warriors fought against the federal government to maintain their way of life. In the spirit of those great leaders of the past, contemporary Indian leaders continue to fight for the rights and recognition of their people. Some examples of modern-day warriors are:
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne)
U.S. Senator from Colorado (1993-2005). His election made him the first Native American to serve in the U.S. Senate in more than 60 years.
Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee)
As Chief of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma (1987-1995) she was the first woman to serve as head of a major North American Indian tribe.
Maria Tallchief (Osage)
Prima ballerina with the New York City Ballet for eighteen years.
Chris Eyre (Cheyenne-Arapaho)
Director of the acclaimed films “Smoke Signals”(1998), “Skinwalkers” (2002) and “A Thief of Time” (2003).
Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree)
Folk singer/songwriter, activist, and founder of the Cradleboard Teaching Project, which uses technology to nurture Native American culture and foster a better understanding of it among non-Indians.
Winona LaDuke (Mississippi Band of the White Earth Anishinaabeg)
Ralph Nader’s vice presidential running mate on Green Party Ticket in 1996 and 2000, with a long record of environmental activism.
Russell Means (Lakota)
First National Director of American Indian Movement (AIM).
Rennard Strickland (Osage/Cherokee)
Founding director of the Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy at the University of Oklahoma.
Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga)
President and founder of the American Indian Law Alliance in New York.
Ada Deer (Menominee)
First American Indian woman to serve as head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (1993).