Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
Marie Randall, Lakota, 92 year old Mother and Grandmother
We know within many tribes and communities, women are the driving forces behind change and progress.
They are not simply Native women. They are our mothers. They teach us and guide us. They provide love and understanding.
Sometimes these Native mothers stand in front oil tankers to protest and halt environmental contamination on tribal lands, as did Marie Randall, the 92 year old mother and grandmother on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this past March.
Tanaes Washinawatok, Menominee
Sometimes these Native mothers go to the school principal's office to defend classroom injustice against their children, as did Tanaes Washinawatok who showed up at 7:30 am to her daughter's principal's office. She got up and arrived early to protest the fact her daughter, Miranda, was suspended for a basketball game for saying "I love you" in her Menominee language.
Sometimes these Native mothers serve on tribal councils, as does Belinda Bardwell, of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, who commutes 389 miles round trip between her home in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area and Harbor Springs where her Tribe is based every other weekend. In Grand Rapids, she is mom; in Harbor Springs, she is tribal councilor.
Belinda Bardwell & Son, Noodin
People who were involved with the takeover of Alcatraz Island and in the early days of the American Indian Movement are quick to point out it was the women who gave the movement its energy and synergy.
Even with systems that historically sought to destroy American Indians, our culture and the very fabric of our families, motherhood among American Indians survived.
In contemporary times, American Indian mothers, as do their non-Indian counterparts, have to do a lot of juggling between working outside of the home, attending their children's school events, and still being strong mothers within the home.
American Indian and Alaska Native mothers are seemingly the backbone of Native society.
While tomorrow is Mother's Day, a day that is the biggest of the year for the greeting card industry, our Native mothers, and all mothers, deserve our respect and honor everyday throughout the year.
updated May 13, 2012 6:12 pm edt; posted May 12, 2012 2:57 am edt