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ETHN 494: Native American Women and Indigenous Feminisms

This guide is designed to help you construct a biographical sketch of an Indigenous historical figure.

The Assignment

Choose one of the historical figures from the list below and construct a biographical sketch.

Your sketch should include the following:

  • Biographical Sketch: (2-3 pages) Construct a narrative of the figure’s life, this can discuss a specific moment in time and does not have to be a full biographical account of their life
    • Utilize at least 3 sources. Contextualize your sources within the biographical sketch.
  • Critical Analysis: (1-2 pages) How does this person’s life and accomplishments connect to themes and concepts from class? Why are they important? What are your views regarding the sources that you used in your sketch? How did they approach their subject?
    • Connect to at least two readings from class.


  • Remember to include all both sections in your paper.
  • Properly cite textual evidence if needed in the citation style of your choice (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Give yourself time to outline, write, and review your paper. Beware of slipping into clichés or tired language. See Devon Mihesuah’s Chapter “Stereotypes and Other Mistakes”.
  • You can use reliable secondary and online sources.
  • Utilize your preferred writing voice (1st person or 3rd person)


Native American Historical Figures

Ada Deer

Anfesia Shapsnikoff

Angel De Cora

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash

Annie Dodge Wauneka

Bea Medicine

Betty Mae Jumper

Ella Cara Deloria

Helen Betty Osborne

Joy Harjo

Kateri Tekakwitha

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard

LaDonna Harris

Leslie Marmon Silko

Louise Erdrich

Lydia Lili’uLoloku Walania Kamaka’eha (Queen Lili’uokalani)

Maria TallChief

Mary Frances Thompson (Te Ata)

Nanye-hi (Nancy Ward)

Queen Aliquippa

Sarah Winnemucca

Susan La Flesche

The Dann Sisters (Mary Dann and Carrie Dann)

Theresa Spence


Wilma Mankiller

Winona LaDuke