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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 6, 2002 - Issue 58


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Native American Women Honored for Service

credits: John Warner/Gazette Staff Anne Hancock, whose Assiniboine Native American name translates to Standing Woman, enjoys the company of family and friends at the Good Woman Comes Out banquet honoring Native American women.
Anne Hancock, whose Assiniboine Native American name translates to Standing Woman, enjoys the company of family and friends at the Good Woman Comes Out banquet honoring Native American women.Voice quivering with emotion Saturday night, Fort Peck tribal member John Pipe thanked the woman who saved his life when he was 6 years old - Anne Standing Woman Hancock.

"She was the one who discovered I had diabetes," Pipe said. "She was the one who gave me the insulin shots. It's because of her that I am here tonight to honor her as a tribal council member."

Hancock, an 87-year-old Assiniboine, was one of seven Native American women recognized for their contributions to their tribes at the Good Woman Comes Out program, presented by the Pretty Shield Foundation Saturday night at the Sheraton Billings Hotel.

Each honoree was selected by tribal leaders at each of the seven Indian reservations in Montana. The women were each presented with plaques and given checks for $350. Bill Snell Jr., who is the great grandson of Pretty Shield, organized and sponsored the evening with his mother, Alma Snell, to celebrate the contributions that Indian women have made.

"It's fitting to have this dinner in this room overlooking Sacrifice Cliffs," Bill Snell said. "A lot of women have given their lives so that others will have a better life."

Hancock is thought to be the first Assiniboine woman to graduate from Wolf Point High School when she graduated with honors in 1932. She went on to become the first full-blooded Assiniboine from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation to become a registered nurse and spent 20 years working in Pennsylvania hospitals before returning to her reservation to organize and run the Community Health Representatives program.

"I think it's important to honor these people while they are still alive," Hancock's nephew, Rusty Stafne, said. "She worked hard for a lot of years, taking care of everybody on the reservation."

The women selected for recognition Saturday have served as quiet role models for their tribes. Keynote speaker Henrietta Mann, a professor of Native American Studies at Montana State University, acknowledged all seven honorees Saturday night as being service and sacrifice oriented.

"You make the sacrifices for your children and your culture," Mann said. "You are the ones who have quiet, supportive roles and who work behind the scenes. It takes courageous women to do what you do."

Northern Cheyenne tribal leader Geri Small introduced her older sister, Wanda Martinez, who served as a role model to her. Martinez was recognized Saturday night for serving her tribe and in Native Action for 25 years. Martinez helped get Native Americans registered and out to vote and was recognized in 1993 by President Clinton for her work in Native Action.

"Through Wanda's work, Indian people have been able to fulfill the promise made to all Americans of having their votes count and their voices heard at all levels of government," her nomination letter read.

Randeen Fitzpatrick, who is a member of the Crow Tribe, was recognized for helping low income families find housing and for supporting people who needs help in a crisis situation. Fitzpatrick is a social service representative for the BIA Social Services in Crow Agency. She is well-known in her tribe for valuing open-mindedness, tolerance, acceptance and understanding.

"Randeen is a strong believer in integrating traditional Indian spiritual beliefs with the current situation to help strengthen her family and community members," her nomination letter read.

Other women honored Saturday included:

Joyce Castillo, of Harlem, was recognized for her service to the her community and her dedication to the elders of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

Marilyn Parsons, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, was recognized for her extensive service to the tribe as director of Natural Resources - Oil and Gas Development.

Teresa Wall-McDonald, a member of the Salish Kootenai Tribes, was honored for writing and obtaining grants to benefit low-income families, including a $1.6 million grant for disaster employment and a $1.3 million grant for retraining dislocated woods workers.

Mary Lodge Pole, an 81-year-old member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe on the Rocky Boy Reservation, was honored as a tribal elder who continues to practice her traditional and cultural way of life.

Billings, MT Map

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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