Women Wednesday – Native American Leaders

Wilma Mankiller
Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in 1945, Wilma Mankiller is a descendent of Cherokee Indians, a tribe that was forced to leave its homelands in the 1830s. Her family moved to San Francisco, California, with the hopes of more opportunities, however, because of poverty and discrimination, the family struggled.

Wilma’s passion to help her people was inspired by Native Americans’ attempts to reclaim Alcatraz Island in the 1960s. As an adult, she returned to Oklahoma and began working for the Cherokee Nation as a tribal planner and program developer.

In 1983, Wilma ran for and was elected to serve as deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation. A mere two years later, she was named the tribe’s principal chief—becoming the very first woman in the Cherokee Nation to hold the position. Throughout her career, she advocated for improving the Cherokee Nation’s government, healthcare, and education systems. In 1998, Wilma received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her leadership and activism to better the lives of Native Americans.

 

Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan 
We’re proud to call Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the national president and chair of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors, one of our own. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Women Corporate Directors Foundation, which promotes and strengthens women in the boardroom. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation tribe, Kathy served under George W. Bush’s administration on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. She also served as a commissioner on the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Employment Rights Office Commission, where she was responsible for guiding the tribe’s economic investments, approving development contracts, and reviewing educational programs.

Kathy’s tenure in the accounting profession led her to a series of leadership roles within KPMG, including managing partner of tax, vice chairman of human resources, chief diversity officer, and chief corporate responsibility officer. She currently works with the KPMG Board Leadership Center to broaden governance discussions regarding business and society and is the national leader for Total Impact Strategy.

Women Wednesday – Native American Risk-takers

Ada Deer
Ada Deer was born into the Menominee tribe in 1935 in Keshena, Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she attended New York School (now Columbia University) to earn her master’s degree in social work.

Ada then moved to be closer to the Menominee Nation and worked to advocate on its behalf, especially when working with federal authorities. At the time, the Menominee tribe was governed by Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Inc., however, tribe members did not have a controlling vote when decisions were being made. One of these decisions was to sell Menominee lands and remove the tribe’s federal recognition. Ada, opposing this, joined a group called the Determination of Right and Unity for Menominee Shareholders and frequently visited Washington, DC, to gain support for the cause.

Ada’s passion and courage eventually led to the Menominee Restoration Act, which President Richard Nixon signed into law in 1973. This legislation officially restored the Menominee tribe’s federal status and created the Menominee Restoration Committee, on which Ada served as chair for two years. In 1993, Ada was appointed assistant secretary of the interior and served as head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs – the first woman to do so.

 

Eliza Burton “Lyda” Conley 
Lyda Conley, a multiracial member of the Wyandot Nation, was born in 1869. Her family strongly encouraged her and her sisters to pursue an education, so in 1902, she graduated from Kansas City School of Law, becoming the first woman admitted to the Kansas Bar.

Lyda’s most famous case came soon after, when Huron Cemetery, a tribal burial ground in Kansas, was threatened to be sold for development. In protest, Lyda filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to stop the sale. She lost, but that didn’t stop her—she bravely appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first female Native American lawyer to be admitted before the court. Unfortunately, she lost again.

Unwavering in her pursuit of justice, when she returned to Kansas, Lyda and her sisters rallied their community to help protect the land, gaining attention from Senator Charles Curtis, who also had Native American ancestry. He introduced a bill to Congress to make the land a national park, and the law was passed in 1916, preventing future development of the cemetery. In 2016, the cemetery was named a National Historic Landmark.

Pawling Girl Scouts Earn Special Women’s Suffrage Centennial Patch

Pawling Girl Scout Troop 10001 devoted their November 1st meeting to celebrating the 100 Year Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York State.

Through a series of hands-on activities, troop members learned about the 1848 Women’s Conference in Seneca Falls, where the Declaration of Sentiments was drafted and signed, the 1913 Suffrage Walk from New York City to Washington, DC and an eighty year timeline of milestones and setbacks leading to the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1920.  ““I didn’t realize how difficult it was for women to be able to vote,” reflects Evie after earning the patch with her troop.

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Troop members played games that were popular at the turn of the last century as they learned about the children’s tents that were an integral part of the suffrage movement. “That had to have been one of our loudest meetings ever. We had a lot of fun, popping balloons to get items to glue on our timeline,” says troop member Kate.

The troop was inspired to learn about women’s suffrage by a special patch program that was created by New York State’s seven Girl Scout Councils and the New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission.  The troop which includes third through eighth grade students from several area schools hope that all eligible voters will remember to vote every year.

 

A Year of Girl Scouting

Alexis.jpgAlexis, a second year Brownie in Troop 10118 is a member of the GSHH Media team, a. She’s a true go-getter and has tried so many amazing things through the last year in Girl Scouting. I was honored to have the chance to chat with her, and she’s excited to share some of the highlights.

Big Events and Fun Trips

Two weeks ago, Alexis’ troop attended a Fall Fest – and event put on by the East Fishkill Service Unit to recruit new members and to celebrate the start of a new Girl Scout year. “It was really fun. I dressed up as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter!” Alexis shares. The event included a costume contest and lots of games, including trying to eat donuts off a string.

Alexis also attended Girl Fest at Camp Wendy, the council sponsored event to kick off the new membership year and showcase all the upcoming programs. “It was really fun! My favorite station was archery. I had never tried it before so I was nervous, but then I tried it and it was lots of fun.” She’s looking forward to taking on the ropes course in another year or two. When I asked what the ropes course was all about she, said, “You climb up a rock wall and then you’re 57 feet in the air!” I guess it doesn’t get any cooler than that!

But that’s not all! Over the last year, Alexis has also gone Roller Skating at Hyde Park Roller Magic, enjoyed a karate demo, went caroling at a nursing home, tried out ice-skating, saw the Charlie Brown Christmas show, and enjoyed a Girl Scout Day at the Norwalk Aquarium.Alexis 4

Learning Teamwork

This Fall, Alexis also earned her Robotics Badge through another GSHH program. Her group was challenged to design and build a claw that could grip objects. “Our fingers actually bent! And the arm could bend!” she exclaims, sharing her excitement of their success. When I asked how the process worked and how they figured out the correct way to build it, she said, “we did a lot of planning, and as we went we changed it a lot”, showing that failure doesn’t mean quit, it means try something new.

“I learned teamwork from this program. I know that I’m not very good at teamwork; I always get angry at everyone. But this time, I felt like I was actually working in a team!” She then followed that up with, “Do you know what the biggest room in the world is?”

I did not.

“The room for improvement!”

I have to concede that she is, of course, correct.Alexis 3

Earning Patches and Badges

Every Girl Scout loves earning badges, and filling their vests with memories of what they’ve accomplished and learned. Alexis’ Brownie vest, is full of great, colorful patches and badges. Her absolute favorite is the Theater patch her troop got after taking a backstage tour of the Charlie Brown Christmas show.

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Some of her other favorites?

  • Campfire Songs
  • Disability Awareness
  • Painting
  • Gift of Caring (for donating cookies)
  • Candy Cane Making
  • And selling 300+ Cookies

Planning Ahead

Alexis is currently participating in the Fall Product Sale because she has big dreams for her troop this year. “We’re raising money to go to the Natural History Museum or to take a backstage tour on Broadway. We haven’t voted yet. We also want to do cabin camping this year. Last year we went to Build a Bear. ”

The Cookie Sale and Fall Product Sale (Nuts+Mags) gives troops the funds they need to go on these sorts of adventures and partake in learning opportunities. The funds can also be used to cover troop costs, such as snacks for meetings or patches.

One of best parts of Nuts+Mags (at least according to Alexis) is creating your own Avatar. “I just made my avatar,” she tells me excitedly, “She has long brown hair and a cute brownie vest and purple and turquoise flip-flops – Just like me!” She also tells me that she’s already earned her Avatar patch by sending out 12 e-mails.

Alexis 2

Helping Out

“My favorite part of being a Girl Scout is ALL OF IT… and also getting to help out,” says Alexis. “My mom is the troop leader so I always get to help. I love it when she lets me help. Believe it or not, I love cleaning. Give me a mop, and I’ll be mopping all day.”

We talked about how Girl Scouts helps people become leaders, and Alexis agreed.

“I like teaching because it’s fun. I want to learn how to be a good leader. All Girl Scouts should be leaders because they are kind and like to help. And, if you think about it, helping is just like teaching.”

Not only does she enjoy helping other members of her troop and her mom, but also enjoys bigger community service projects – such as caroling for the local nursing home around the holidays or donating Girl Scout cookies to a good cause.

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Women Wednesday – Native American Innovators

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte
Our first innovator, Susan La Flesche Picotte, was born in 1865 on the Omaha Indian Reservation in Northeast Nebraska. Her interest in the medical field was ignited from a young age as she witnessed the poor living and health conditions of those in her community. Susan knew she had to discover a way to help. In 1886, she attended the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania after receiving a scholarship from the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs—at the time, Susan was the first person to receive federal aid for professional education. Three years later, she graduated at the top of her class, and after completing a one-year internship, she became the first Native American physician in the United States.

Susan immediately took her education back home, where she advocated for cleanliness and air ventilation to prevent the spread of disease. She was paid only $500 a year as the reservation doctor, and many times, she was forced to pay for her own supplies or create new ways to care for her community members. However, Susan diligently persevered in an effort to care for as many patients as possible.

In 1894, she married Henry Picotte, a Sioux Indian from South Dakota, and moved to Bancroft, Nebraska. There she raised two children and opened her own private practice, despite the criticism she received for being a working mother. Throughout the rest of her life, Susan championed many causes that benefited Native Americans—from advocating for modern hygiene and disease prevention standards to securing land rights for her people to challenging a woman’s role in the family.

 

Louise Erdrich 
Born in 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota, Louise Erdrich was the first of seven children. Her mother was a Chippewa Indian (half Ojibwe and half French), and her grandfather served as tribal chairman for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Louise’s love of writing started young when her father paid her a nickel for every creative story she wrote.

In 1972, Louise was part of the first class of women admitted to Dartmouth College, where she earned a degree in English. There she met Michael Dorris, an anthropologist, writer, and director of the college’s Native American Studies program. Through this program, Louise deepened her interest in her own culture and began writing innovative literary work that featured Native American characters and settings. Years later, Louise and Michael began to collaborate on short stories, many of which received national accolades.

Louise became one of the most influential writers of the second wave of the Native American Renaissance. Her novel The Plague of Doves was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009, and in 2012 she was honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Today this innovator is still writing and has opened her own independent bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which focuses on Native American literature and the community.

Conquering the Ropes Course: “You’re a Girl Scout. Find Your Courage”

Bella, a 6th grader from Misty Mountains Troop 60142, was one of the Girl Scouts to scale the ropes course at the Camp Wendy Girl Fest.

“It was so exciting!,” she gushes, sharing her story of her time on the course, “I was nervous at first, but each obstacle I completed I got more excited!”

The course, finished last Fall, is designed to have Girl Scouts first climb a rock wall, and then complete a series of progressive tasks. We spoke to Bella a bit more about her experience:

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Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson: If you were to describe your experience in three words, what would you say?
Bella: Challenging. Awesome. Exciting.

GSHH: What is the hardest part?
Bella: Waiting at the top with the wind can be a little nerve-wracking.

GSHH: What was your favorite part?
Bella: The free fall at the end

 

GSHH: What did you learn from this experience?
Bella: Completing it made me feel like I can do anything!

GSHH: Would you do it again?
Bella: Absolutely, yes! I would do it again. It was the best thing I EVER did!

GSHH: What would you tell someone who might be nervous to try it?
Bella: You’re a Girl Scout; find your courage. You won’t regret it; trust me.

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Women Wednesday – Native American Go-Getters

November is Native American Indian Heritage Month! Throughout the month, we celebrate Native Americans’ diverse cultures and traditions and highlight the many contributions they’ve made throughout history—and at Girl Scouts, we of course especially focus on the Native American heroines. All month long, join Girl Scouts as we honor the amazing G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit of Native American culture.

Sacagawea
sacagaweaDuring the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Sacagawea served as a guide and interpreter whose mission was to find a water route through North America and explore the uncharted West. During this journey of more than two years, she interpreted the Mandan and Shoshone languages, found edible wild foods, cooked, and even saved valuable instruments and records from being lost overboard during a storm.

Sacagawea was particularly key in collaborating with the Lemhi Shoshone tribe, because her brother was the chief. The Shoshone provided the travelers with guidance, horses, and the necessary assistance to get to the navigable waters of the Clearwater and Columbia rivers. Sacagawea received no payment for her contributions to the expedition, despite William Clark’s demands that her husband give her a greater portion of the reward. However, in 2003, Sacagawea was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to American exploration and history.
Alberta Daisy Schenck Adams
albertaAlberta was a teenage civil rights activist in the struggle for equality by the indigenous peoples in the United States Territory of Alaska. In 1944 she challenged segregation practices which helped lead to the passage of Alaska’s 1945 anti-discrimination law, a decade before the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed segregation in public schools.

Alberta was born in Nome, Alaska on June 1, 1928 to white father and an Inupiat mother.

When in high school, she had a part-time job ushering at the Alaska Dream Theater where part of her job was to make sure non-white patrons sat in the designated segregated area. She registered a complaint about the policy and was fired. She returned later with a white date, and the two of them sat in the “Whites Only” section. She and her Army sergeant date refused to move when the manager demanded she move to the non-white section. The theater manager contacted the local police who arrested Schenck and placed her in jail for one night. Schenck’s arrest rallied the local Inupiat community who staged a protest at the theater until her release from jail the next day.

albertaschenck-letterIndignant and determined not to be deterred, she wrote a letter to Alaska Governor Ernest Gruening and related the incident to him. The prior year, the Governor had seen his anti-discrimination bill be defeated in the Territorial Legislature. Her letter inspired the Governor to have the bill re-introduced in the Territorial Legislature, during which her experience was cited on the floor of the legislature. He answered her letter vowing that no one would again receive that kind of treatment in Alaska. The re-introduced bill, Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Act passed both houses of the legislature and was signed into law on February 16, 1945.

She later married and moved to California where she died in 2009. In 2011, she was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame.

Rock Hill Girl Fest: A Recap

Hi welcome to the GSHH blog! My name is Emily and I’m a Girl Scout.  I am a part of the GSHH Media team – that means when I do things with my Girl Scout troop or attend things that help my community, I blog about them afterwards so you can see all the joys of being a Girl Scout and what we do.

Recently I went to Girl Fest Rock Hill Camp.

I’m a new Girl Scout so this was my first time and it was AMAZING.

In this event there are many stations where you can learn survival skills like learning how to build a lean-to and how to stop pain and bleeding. There are also activities to have fun like the mud run and archery. My favorite station was the lean-to building station which is where you learn to build a place to stay in case you get lost in the woods. I loved it because it is very helpful for survival. Also it is good knowledge to have.

There are so many activities and fun things to do, but the only way to get in on the fun is to go yourself!

My troop and I had so much fun doing this event so If you’re a Girl Scout ask your parents or troop about going to the Girl Fest next Fall.

Check out some other pictures from the event:

 

Happy Birthday Juliette!

Even before she launched Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette Gordon Low was setting goals and overcoming obstacles. When she was just 16, she prodded her cousins to start the Helping Hands Club. Their goal? Learn how to sew and make clothing for a recently immigrated family. Though the club didn’t do very well, it was Daisy’s first foray into organizing and inspiring girls to make the world a better place. [Go-getter]

As our founder, she was breaking the mold and solving a problem in society by creating an outlet for girls to develop leadership skills. From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Daisy broke the conventions of the time—reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure that Girl Scouts offered all girls a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. [Innovator]

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She made personal sacrifices along the way and took dramatic steps to help the organization grow. Launching the Girl Scout Movement was not without challenges. Daisy worked tirelessly to grow the new organization and for many years used her own money to pay expenses, even selling her valuable pearl necklace when she was short of funds. In 1920, when she was 61, she launched a fundraising campaign in a daring flight over Manhattan in an old-fashioned biplane, leaning out to drop Girl Scout flyers on the crowds below. It was a spectacular launch for Girl Scout Week, which also included a 6,000-girl parade and a pageant in Central Park. [Risk taker]

And finally, she demonstrated the epitome of leadership through empathy, passion, and advocacy. Using her innate talent for fundraising and public relations, combined with her vast network of high-profile friends and supporters, Daisy led Girl Scouts with passion and determination—ensuring it was, and always would be, an experience that was “girl led.” In 2012, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, in recognition of her “remarkable vision,” and to celebrate “her dedication to empowering girls everywhere.” [Leader]

Happy Birthday to Juliette Gordon Low – the ultimate, the original, go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader.

Carmel SU Hosts “Girl Power” Fall Fest and Color-a-Thon

To celebrate the start of a new Girl Scout year, the Carmel Service Unit hosted a Girl Power Fall Fest at the Veterans Memorial Park in Carmel. Girl Scouts from all across the council attended the event.

“The event was based on the Girl Power patch,” explains troop leader Barb Londa. The patch requirements explain Girl Power as “showing what you are really made of and being a great friend to everyone around you”. It encourages girls to take other people’s emotions into consideration, and to learn to be strong, smart, and independent.

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Barb adds, “We had stations set up under the 2 pavilions for the girls to rotate through:  Anti-bullying, caring cards, friendship game, kindness tree leaves.” While a Girl Power playlist set the mood, they rotated through the stations set up with props for making skits, making cards for veterans and friendship bracelets, playing hopscotch, hula hoop, and jump rope, and service stations for Sandy Hook Promise and Operation Christmas Child.

 

Stations were also set up by the Putnam County Land Trust, and Adaptive Sports Foundation. a Gold Award Girl Scout from NJ came with Adaptive Sports to explain her project and inspire the girls to take action in their own communities.

color!

The day also included a full scale color run, which was a definite highlight of the day! The girls, drenched from the rain, were coated from head to toe in a rainbow of bright colors.

“The weather kept some away but those that came all had a great time.  Huge downpour just in time for the color run!”

Despite the rain, they camped out with glow in the dark bracelets, glow sticks, tattoos, and of course a campfire and sing-along.

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