Lyla June Johnston Lyla June Johnston was raised in Taos, New Mexico and is a descendent of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages. Her personal mission in life is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper. This prayer has taken her on many journeys and materializes in diverse ways. She is a student of global cycles of violence that eventually gave rise to The Native American Holocaust and the destruction of many cyclic relationships between human beings and nature. This exploration birthed her passion for revitalizing spiritual relationships with Mother Earth and cultivating spaces for forgiveness and reconciliation to occur between cultural groups. She is a co-founder of The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which works to heal intergenerational trauma and ethnic division in the northern New Mexico. She is a walker within the Nihigaal Bee Iiná Movement, a 1,000-mile prayer walk through Diné Tah (the Navajo homeland) that is exposing the exploitation of Diné land and people by uranium, coal, oil and gas industries. She is the lead organizer of the Black Hill Unity Concert which gathers native and nonnative musicians to pray for the return of guardianship of the Black Hills to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota nations. She is the also the founder of Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration of children that occurs in 13 countries around the world every September.
In 2012, she graduated with honors from Stanford University with a degree in Environmental Anthropology. During her time there she wrote the award winning papers: Nature and the Supernatural: The Role of Culture and Spirituality in Sustaining Primate Populations in Manu National Park, Peru and Chonos Pom: Ethnic Endemism Among the Winnemem Wintu and the Cultural Impacts of Enlarging Shasta Reservoir. She is a musician, public speaker and internationally recognized performance poet. Lyla June ultimately attributes any achievements to Creator who gave her the tools and resources she uses to serve humanity.
Josephine Myers-Wapp Josephine Myers-Wapp (1912-2014). Wapp was born in Apache, Oklahoma, where she learned Comanche ways from her grandmother, Tissy-Chauer-Ne. She studied at St. Patrick’s Mission in Anadarko, Oklahoma as well as Haskell University in Lawrence, Kansas. Josephine also studied fiber arts and education at the Santa Fe Indian School and was later recruited by Allan Houser and Lloyd New in 1962 to become one of the first instructors at the newly established Institute of American Indian Arts where she taught traditional techniques, including textiles, fashion design, beadwork, and native dance. She was a beloved figure and inspirational instructor who devoted her life to the revitalization of indigenous cultures. Her award-winning work has been exhibited throughout the United States and around the world.
Dr. Sharon Malotte Dr. Sharon Malotte (born 1955) is a member of the TeMoak Band of Western Shoshones of the South Fork Indian Reservation. She is the first indigenous Nevadan to become a doctor and was named Miss Indian Nevada 1977.
Ester RossBorn in Oakland, California, Esther Ross relocated to Snohomish County at the invitation of her Stillaguamish relatives. To her dismay she found the Stillaguamish were no longer considered an official tribe because they had no land. Her tribe had traditionally lived in scattered settlements along the Stillaguamish River, but was removed in the 1800s by the US government to make way for white settlers. The entity that denied the tribe recognition for not having land was the same one that took that land away in the first place! For the next 50 years, Esther Ross petitioned for acknowledgement, rights and benefits for the Stillaguamish. She stopped the Bicentennial Wagon Train en route to the Eastern U.S at Island Crossing, sent a frozen salmon to the Department of Interior, and just plain persisted in making her point (and filing legal papers)– resulting in official recognition of the “People of the Salmon” in 1976.
Cora Reynolds Anderson Cora Reynolds Anderson was the first woman elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, serving one term from 1925 to 1926. She is also believed to be the only Native American woman elected to the Michigan House or Senate. While in the House of Representatives, Anderson concentrated on public welfare issues and chaired the Industrial Home for Girls Committee. She was particularly interested in public health issues, especially the fight against alcoholism and tuberculosis. Prior to her term, she had organized the first public health service in Baraga County and was instrumental in securing the county’s first public health nurse. She also became actively involved in the Michigan Grange and served as the Upper Peninsula officer.
Jessica RickertIn 1975 Jessica Rickert, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, DDS, became the first recognized American Indian woman dentist. When this descendent of Chief Whitepigeon attended the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in the early 1970s, she was the only American Indian in a class of about 150 students. This was also a time when there were very few female dentists or female dental students.
Sara Sue HoklotubbeSara Sue Hoklotubbe is the author of the Sadie Walela Mystery Series set in the Cherokee Nation where she grew up in northeastern Oklahoma. She is the winner of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award, the WILLA Literary Award, and the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers' Mystery of the Year Award.
Ola Mildred RexroatOla Mildred Rexroat (Born August 29, 1917) was the only Native American woman to serve in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She joined them after high school and while with them she had the dangerous job of towing targets for aerial gunnery students. After that she joined the Air Force, where she served for ten years as an air traffic controller. In 2007 she was inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame. She was the last surviving WASP in South Dakota. She was an Oglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Dr. Freda PorterDr. Porter is President and CEO of Porter Scientific. She is one of the few American Indian women who have earned a doctorate in Mathematical and Computational Sciences. She has been featured in a PBS documentary film and has been honored by the North Carolina Equity Commission. Dr. Porter focused her research on the problem of natural biodegradation of contaminants, specifically in gasoline spills. She has an outstanding academic record that supports her work in Environmental and Information Technology related services. Since her departure from academia in 1997 to lead Porter Scientific, she has diversified its business offerings to include Environmental Consulting and Construction Management, been awarded two Blanket Purchase Agreements for Environmental Services, a SeaPort-E award, a GSA IT contract vehicle, three EPA Brownfields Assessment awards, an EPA Brownfields Job Training award, a SECRET Facility Clearance, as well as a pending ISO 9001:2000 certification.
Shelley MorningsongShelley Morningsong (N. Cheyenne/Dutch) has recorded four sensational Native American, Contemporary albums and has emerged as one of New Mexico’s finest Native performers.. Morningsong has received two Native American music awards, among other awards and accolades, including Native American “Record of the Year” for 2011. With an alto voice that pulls from the depths of her cowboy boots, and songs with lyrics that cut to the heart, Morningsong will appeal to those who enjoy the music of Buffy Sainte-Marie and Bonnie Raitt. Morningsong has played guitar since she was a youngster, when she also learned to play the classical flute. Since then she’s mastered the Native flute, on which she performs skillful, heartfelt instrumentals on some of her compositions.
Delphine Red ShirtDelphine Red Shirt (born 1957) is a Native American author and educator, who is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Red Shirt has been a member of the United States Marine Corps. She served as the Chairperson of the United Nations NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, 1995–96, and as the United Nations Representative for the Four Directions Council: International Indigenous Organization with access to the UN from 1994 to 1997. During this time she also received her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from Wesleyan University and was an advisor to Native American Students at Yale University.
WalelaWalela, the Cherokee word for Hummingbird and the symbol of inspiration for this family of women singers. They are Rita Coolidge, her sister Priscilla Coolidge, and Priscilla's daughter Laura Satterfield. Rita and Priscilla grew up in the South amoungst a family of four children and a strong Native American Heritage. Their dad a Baptist minister, their mom a school teacher who gave music lessons and played organ in the church. The Coolidge home was filled with the sounds that ignited their musical imagination and enlightened their spirit to soar into creation. A spirit that has equally been passed down to Laura. Rita Coolidge, an eternal star in the galaxy of Rock and Roll, has proven herself and enduring talent blessed with radiant Native American beauty and what has been described as "the sexiest voice in the world." Rita, a two time Grammy winner, launched her singing career in 1970. Her recording career has spawned over several dozen albums worldwide including her multi-platinum disc Anytime...Anywhere. The commitment to her Cherokee heritage carries through her life, "If we have the vision and the dream, anything can come true."
Priscilla Coolidge, who for two years running was voted the best female vocalist by Billboard Magazine, has truly carved out a deep niche in modern music. She has recorded with a Who's Who of music including Bob Dylan, Luther Vandross, Robbie Robertson and has penned tunes recorded by her sister Rita, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire. She continues to write what many call some of the most beautiful music in the world today.
Laura Satterfield, born into this musical family, grew up listening to the many talents that surrounded her. Having fallen in love with their spirit, she began her own journey of musical discovery. In the tradition that came before her, Laura has made her own place in the recording industry. Well known for her writing abilities, Laura has found her own style which can be distinctively heard in the box office hit movie MADE IN AMERICA where she performs her creation "I Don't Walk on Water."
As a group, Walela continues to disperse the energy and spirit which has brought them to this juncture in their lives. Featured as part of Robbie Robertson'd Red Road Emsemble album "Music for Native Americans," their distinctive vocal blend brings to life "The Cherokee Morning Song" and has allowed them to tour to an international audience.