Main Topic: National Expansion
Topic: Native American Perspectives
Main Topic: Our State
Topic: Nebraskans Who Made a Difference
Topic: Native Americans on the Plains
Speaker: Joe Starita
A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor
On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche received her medical degree―becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country. By age twenty-six, this fragile but indomitable Indian woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 850 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads. Her patients often were desperately poor and desperately sick―tuberculosis, small pox, measles, influenza―families scattered miles apart, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs.