FEMINIST FRIDAY – ADA DEER

we can do it

Ada Deer
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ada Deer was born on the Menominee Indian Reservation, Wisconsin, in 1935  has been a fierce advocate for Native Americans her entire life.
She is a member of the Menominee tribe.  Ada obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Master of Social Work from the New York School of Social Work (later Columbia University School of Social Work).

Native American Advocacy
Following completion of her graduate work, Deer returned to the Midwest to be closer to the Menominee Nation, settling in Minneapolis. She found few local services in place for Native Americans living in urban settings. She worked to advocate on their behalf with federal authorities.

Since the “Termination Era” of the 1950s and 1960s (resulting in reduced federal oversight of Native American affairs), the Menominee tribe had been governed by a corporate body called Menominee Enterprise, Inc.. Menominee Enterprises, Inc. was controlled by a voting trust and Menominee tribal members had no shares in the corporation. Four of the voting trust members were Menominee; however, five votes were required in order for the trust to take action. In the 1960s and 1970s there was renewed Congressional involvement in rebuilding tribal infrastructure, both socially and economically.

During that time, Deer became involved in a group called DRUMS (Determination of Right and Unity for Menominee Shareholders) in opposition to Menominee Enterprise’s proposed sale of former Menominee lands. At first, Deer encountered difficulty with Wayne Aspinall, chairman of the Interior Committee in Congress, who had supported termination of the Menominee as a federally recognized tribe. [clarification needed] chairman and supporter of termination. She took frequent trips to Washington, but was denied the chance to speak with Aspinall. After he was defeated for his seat, Deer raised publicity as well as support for the Menominee cause.

Her efforts, along with many other Menominees, played a part in bringing the Termination Era to a close. On December 22, 1973 President Richard Nixon signed the Menominee Restoration Act. This legislation restored official federal recognition to the Menominee tribe. From 1974 to 1976, Deer served as chair of the Menominee Restoration Committee.

In 1993, Deer was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Interior by President Bill Clinton and served as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1993 to 1997. During this period, she was a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. From January to May 1997, she served as Chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Before and after her term in the BIA, Deer served on the National Support Committee of the Native American Rights Fund. She has served as chair of the NSC and chair of the NARF board of directors.

Political Efforts
Deer ran for Wisconsin’s secretary of state in both 1978 and 1982 but was not successful. She served as vice-chair of the Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro presidential campaign in 1984.

In 1992, she ran for a seat in the United States Congress in Wisconsin’s Second District. She won the Democratic primary without “soft money” funding from political action committees. Following her primary win, a local newspaper ran a photo of Deer proudly holding a sign reading “Me Nominee” in a reference to her tribal membership.

Educational Career
Deer has taught in the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison since 1977, currently holding the title of Distinguished Lecturer. Since 1999, she has been the director of the American Indian Studies Department at UW–Madison. During her tenure, she co-founded Milwaukee’s Indian Community School. She also created the first program at the University to provide social work training on Native American reservations. In addition, she is a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Notable Achievements
First member of the Menominee Tribe to graduate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1957)
First member of the Menominee Tribe to receive a master’s degree (1961)
First woman to serve as chair of the Menominee Restoration Committee (1974)
Pollitzer Award, Ethical Cultural Society, N.Y. (1975)
First Native American woman to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs (1993)
Included as one of 51 “accomplished practitioners and educators” in the book Celebrating Social Work: Faces and Voices of the Formative Years (Council on Social Work Education, 2003)
In 2000 she was a National Women’s History Month honoree.
Past national board service[edit]
American Indian Policy Review Commission
Americans for Indian Opportunity
Council on Foundations
National Association of Social Workers
Native American Rights Fund

Ada_Deer

ADA DEER YOU ROCK!

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FEMINIST FRIDAY – NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN

ON FRIDAY I LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT WOMEN WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR WORLD.  TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO CAROL HAND.  WHAT FOLLOWS IS FROM HER BLOG VOICES FROM THE MARGINS.
Honoring “The Strength of Indian Women”
Posted on January 22, 2014 by Carol A. Hand

Culture is an interesting force in our lives. It establishes our foundations in ways we cannot predict or control unless we become aware of its importance. Although I honor the work of many artists and activists in what is now the United States and around the globe, the ones who have been most influential for me are Native American women. Despite their passion and wisdom, their voices are not often heard in dominant media.

The voices of Native American women have helped me realize the need to honor the strengths and resilience of all my relations, as Crystos so elegantly says.

A SONG FOR MY PEOPLE
whose eyes I wear in my soul
in joyous praise for gnarled hands
precious children laughter in the soup of pain
Everyone of us beautifull
deeply as young pink birches in high white snowdrifts
the Native woman whose Black pimp stared me down
the many in the alcohol trap chewing off their legs
the strong, the fearful, the weary, the angry
the traditional, the assimilated, the ones on both sides
of the bloody borders
playing Bingo, dancing in Pow Wows
telling stories leaning against a cold fender
How beautifull we are How complete
just as we are
Grief & confusion wail through our hills
Above it I sing a song for my people
who always resist always fight
A song rising in our throats now
A song in our bellies now
A song in our hands now
A dark light in our eyes now
How we are beautifull
(Crystos, 1991, Dream On, p. 70. Vancouver, BC: Press Gang Publishers.)

With her unique pulsating voice, Buffy St. Marie urges all of us to take action to honor promises and to be mindful of the role we all play in global wars. Ulali reminds us that we need to care about each other because we are all inextricably interrelated.

Before her passing, Vera Manual reminded us of The Strength of Indian Women, something my teacher, mentor, and friend, Ada Deer, demonstrated so forcefully in her own life. Spiderwoman Theater reminded me that humor is often culture-bound as they helped me find my laughter once again in an alien world. Ignatia Broker’s one novel, Nightflying Woman, a timeless work of art, helped me understand not only what it means to be Ojibwe, but also what it means to be human. Winona La Duke reminds us of the work we need to do now to create a better future for generations yet to come.

It saddens me to realize that many people are unaware of the gifts these courageous women have bestowed. I am sharing this brief list of my heroes in hopes that others have an opportunity to hear their voices and learn from their passion and wisdom.

Carol bring such passion to the cause of uplifting Native Americans and Native American women.  CAROL YOU ROCK!

Stock photograph of the famous World War II poster "We Can Do It!" showing Rosie the Riveter wearing a red bandana and flexing her muscles against a yellow background, created by J. Howard Miller. The woman that modeled for this image was actually named Geraldine Doyle and was a real riveter in the 1940s.
Stock photograph of the famous World War II poster “We Can Do It!” showing Rosie the Riveter wearing a red bandana and flexing her muscles against a yellow background, created by J. Howard Miller. The woman that modeled for this image was actually named Geraldine Doyle and was a real riveter in the 1940s.