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Brant, Molly (1736–16 April 1796), Mohawk, Loyalist, and Anglican, also known as Mary Brant or Konwatsi tsiaienni, was born either at the Mohawk “castle” of Canajoharie in upper New York or in the Ohio Valley, the daughter of Peter and Margaret, both Mohawks of the Six Nations Confederacy of Iroquois. She was the sister of ...

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Dorion, Marie (1790–05 September 1850), interpreter, was born into the Iowa tribe as Marie Aioe, or Marie L’Aguivoise; both versions of her maiden surname, variations on the word “Iowa,” appear in early nineteenth-century records of Oregon and Washington territories. Nothing is known of her life until she became the common-law wife of a half Sioux, half French-Canadian fur trader, Pierre Dorion, Jr., around 1806 in the vicinity of what is now Yankton, South Dakota. Pierre Dorion, Sr., had been an interpreter and a guide with the ...

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Mountain Wolf Woman (01 April 1884–09 September 1960), Native American autobiographer, was born in East Fork River, Wisconsin, the daughter of Charles Blowsnake and Lucy Goodvillage, members of the Thunder clan of the Winnebago (known to themselves as the Ho-Chunk) tribe, and the sister of Sam Blowsnake, author of ...

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Musgrove, Mary (1700–1766), interpreter and liaison between early Georgians and the native Indians, whose Creek name was Coosaponakeesa, was the daughter of an English trader and an Indian mother, although her exact parentage and birthplace are unknown. Her later claims of “royal” Indian kinship have been questioned, but she did have powerful connections and standing among the Creeks. Details of her childhood are sketchy; it is known, however, that she spent time in each culture and spoke both languages. As early as 1716–1717 she married trader John Musgrove and established a trading post on the Savannah River at Yamacraw Bluff. None of their children survived to adulthood, and John Musgrove died in 1735....

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Pocahontas. From a painting by Simon van de Passe. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-39316).

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Pocahontas (1596–21 March 1617), Virginia Algonquian "princess" and a key mediating figure in Anglo-Indian relations in the Jamestown colony, Virginia Algonquian “princess” and a key mediating figure in Anglo-Indian relations in the Jamestown colony, also known as Matoaka or Amonute, was the daughter of ...

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Sacagawea (c. 1786/1788?–20 December 1812?), the Shoshone (Snake) interpreter of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Shoshone (Snake) interpreter of the Lewis and Clark expedition, was born in a northern Shoshone village in what is today Idaho; it is likely that she was a member of the Agaiduka, or Salmon Eater, band of the Shoshone tribe. Around 1800, while her tribe was engaged in a hunting or war expedition east of their home territory in the Three Forks area of the Missouri River (Montana), she was captured along with several others, most likely by the Hidatsa from the Knife River village of Metaharta (North Dakota). Sacagawea was twelve to fourteen years old at the time of her capture. By 1804 she (and another girl) had been sold or gambled away and had become the property and wives of Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian trader and trapper....

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Wauneka, Annie Dodge (10 April 1910–10 November 1997), Native-American activist, was born on the Navajo reservation near present-day Sawmill, Arizona, the daughter of Henry Chee Dodge, a rancher, and K'eehabah, one of Dodge's three wives in a tribe where polygamy was permitted. Chee Dodge, as her father was known, was a prestigious Navajo leader, the wealthiest man in the local community, and the first elected chairman of the Navajo Business Council (1922–1928) as well as the fifth chairman of the Navajo Tribal Council, (1941–1947). He was also fluent in English; he had worked as an interpreter on the reservation. Annie spent her early childhood tending sheep on her father's ranch and entered the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school at Fort Defiance, Arizona, at eight years of age. Four years later she went to the government boarding school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That school included students of many tribes and so all classes were conducted in English, in which Annie became as fluent as her father....

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Sarah Winnemucca. Albumen silver print, 1883, by Norval H. Busey. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Winnemucca, Sarah (1844?–17 October 1891), spokeswoman for the Northern Paiute, was born near the sink of the Humboldt River in western Nevada, the daughter of Winnemucca, a Paiute chief, and Tuboitonie. In 1857 Chief Truckee, her maternal grandfather, arranged for Sarah and her younger sister Elma to live in the household of his friend, Major William Ormsby, a Virginian who managed a stage line at Mormon Station (Genoa). The girls worked at domestic chores and helped serve passengers at his stage stop. They were also companions to Ormsby’s only child, nine-year-old Lizzi. Here Sarah and Elma learned to read, write, and sing in English, picked up some Spanish phrases, and studied American history and the Bible. One year later the Ormsby family and the Paiute girls moved to Carson City, but in late September 1859 Sarah and Elma were suddenly called home by their father....