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Bronson, Ruth Muskrat (3 Oct. 1897–12 June 1982), Cherokee activist, educator, and federal official, was born Ruth Muskrat, the fourth of seven children, on a small farm in the Delaware District of the Cherokee Nation near what is now Grove, Oklahoma. Her mother, Ida Lenora Kelly, was the child of English-Irish immigrants who entered the Cherokee Nation on work permits from Missouri. Her father, James Ezekiel Muskrat, was a descendant of both Old Settler Cherokees and those forcibly removed from their homes in Georgia two decades later during what has come to be known as the Trail of Tears. A language speaker and conservative traditionalist, James was a committed Cherokee nationalist in a time when Cherokee sovereignty was increasingly under assault by industrial interests, territorial advocates, and proponents of allotment, assimilation, and Oklahoma statehood. With the passage of the Curtis Act in ...

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Cabeza De Baca, Fabiola (16 May 1894–Oct. 1991), educator, activist, and writer, was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico to Graciano Cabeza de Baca and Indalecia Delgado. The family traced their ancestry back to the Spanish conqueror Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Baca. Fabiola’s family on both maternal and paternal sides was prominent and elite in New Mexico. In ...

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Ueland, Clara Hampson (10 October 1860–01 March 1927), teacher, suffragist, and civic leader, was born in Akron, Ohio, the daughter of Henry Oscar Hampson, an unsuccessful businessman, and Eliza Osborn. Her father, discharged in 1863 from the Union army because of unspecified ailments, died a year later, leaving his impoverished widow with two small children. The trio of Hampsons sought refuge with Eliza’s sisters, initially in Faribault, Minnesota, and then in Minneapolis. They finally settled in a small apartment over a hardware store in an area of the city that prompted Maud Conkey Stockwell, a schoolmate, friend, and later a fellow suffragist, to comment, “I can remember thinking how incongruous she was with all the saloons around that district. She was dark and slim, a beauty beyond compare” (B. Ueland, “Clara,” p. 16). Despite her surroundings and continuing poverty, Clara was happy in school and a well-adjusted young woman. It says something about her character that she refused other invitations to a junior class dance to go with the only African-American boy in the school, because she felt he needed friendship and support....