Crushin’ on this Cherokee Chief

It’s Women in History Crush Wednesday again! Sorry for posting so late in the evening, I was volunteering all day at the Houston Food Bank, trying to do my bit to give back to my community. Which loosely ties into the work and motives of this week’s WCW, Wilma Mankiller. Wilma Mankiller was the first female chief of a major Native American tribe (the Cherokee Nation) and a leading force in improving Cherokee health care, education, and governing systems.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Wilma Mankiller

Born on November 18th, 1945 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Mankiller is of Cherokee Indian, Dutch, and Irish descent. Her surname, “Mankiller,” is believed to be an old Cherokee title for the person leading and protecting the village. Her family was moved to Oklahoma during the 1930’s Indian-removal policy push referred to as the Trail of Tears. Mankiller was raised near Rocky Mountain, Oklahoma until yet again her family was forced to move in the 1950’s due to the Indian Relocation Act, this time to San Francisco, California. While in California, Mankiller’s family faced discrimination and hardship in obtaining financial stability as they were forced to attempt assimilation. She married, and later divorced, Hector Hugo Olaya de Bardi in 1963, and had two daughters, Felicia and Gina. Attending Skyline College, San Francisco State University, and Flaming Rainbow University for her undergraduate years, Mankiller received a degree in social sciences, and did graduate studies at the University of Arkansas. In 1986, she married her activist partner, Charlie Soap.

During the civil rights movements of the 1960’s, Mankiller took part in the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island. The spirit and camaraderie of the protest inspired Mankiller to move back to Oklahoma to help the people of her tribe. She began working for the Cherokee government as a tribal planner and program developer, and had big plans for improving the lives of her tribe.

But in 1979, tragedy struck; Mankiller was severely injured in a head-on car collision. She endured seventeen surgeries in order to mend her crushed legs, chest, and face, and then had to recover from the emotional blow that was the news that the other driver was her friend, and that she had died. Thinking back, Mankiller has said that the accident and her healing process acted as a spiritual awakening for her, and also inspired her determination in helping her tribe. After the long recovery, Mankiller was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, which she was able to overcome. Throughout her life time, Mankiller would battle myasthenia gravis, breast cancer, dialysis followed by kidney transplants, lymphoma, and finally, terminal pancreatic cancer.

In 1983, Mankiller ran for deputy chief alongside Ross Swimmer. Her candidacy was opposed by many misogynists, who would slash her tires and send her death threats. Despite these shows of dislike, Mankiller won and served the Cherokee Nation as deputy chief for two years, until Swimmer stepped down as chief and she finished out his term in the position. In doing so, Mankiller became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation in recorded history, and a role model to tribeswomen and girls.

“Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief.”

Mankiller ran for chief again in 1987 and 1991, winning both. While in office, Mankiller led many community projects, including the continuation of her earlier Bell Water Project, establishing tribally owned businesses, obtaining tribal land grants, and mending federal-tribal communications. Under her administration, the Cherokee Nation tripled in population size, making it the second largest tribe in the United States.

While she didn’t seek reelection in 1995 due to poor health, Mankiller continued to speak across America on behalf of all women and Native Americans. She published two books; Mankiller: A Chief and Her People and Every Day is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women. Former President Bill Clinton awarded Mankiller the Medal of Freedom in 1998 for her diplomacy as the leader of a foreign nation.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Wilma Mankiller

Mankiller continued her work as an activist until her death on April 6th, 2010, and is remembered today for her strong spirituality and belief in the interconnectedness of all things, and for her tremendous leadership.

Wilma Mankiller is a huge role model for me, as she faced discrimination and opposition but was a wildly successful female leader who was able to better the lives of those around her. She knew what she wanted for the future of her people, and did everything in her power to make those things so, all the while guided by her faith in living things. I hope to be as passionate about working for solutions to societal problems as she was.

To learn more about the great accomplishments of Wilma Mankiller, be sure to check out her website, bio., Powersource, and the Cherokee Nation website.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Women in History Crush Wednesdays! Be heard!


Woman Crush Wednesday

Every Wednesday on social media is Woman Crush Wednesday. A lot of women in history don’t get the recognition they deserve for their efforts and accomplishments, so I’ve decided that henceforth on Wednesdays, I’ll be focusing on the ladies that helped shape the world we live in today. Before this past school year let out, I did a report on Dorothea Dix for my health class, who is an incredibly interesting woman who played a huge role in changing society in the nineteenth century. Following my report, I decided to expand upon my research and found out more really neat information about her. So today, Dorothea Dix will be the start of my Women in History Crush Wednesdays.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Lynde Dix was a very influential women in the worlds of mental health and women in the hospital work force. She was determined, independent, hardworking, and disciplined, all of which made her a great political advocate, activist, and health care leader.

Dix was born on April 4th, 1802, and at the early age of twelve ran away to live with her grandmother in order to escape her family’s alcoholism and abuse. As a child, and continuing throughout her life, Dix was extremely interested in helping others. She began teaching at the age of fourteen, and soon founded two schools in Boston, one of which was largely criticized by the local upper class because it focused most on educating poor and neglected children. 

In her mid-thirties, Dix fell ill with a sickness that couldn’t be treated in the United States, so she moved temporarily to Liverpool, England in order to receive treatment. Her stay coincided with the British Lunacy Reform of 1845, the movement that included investigations of madhouses and asylums to better understand the atrocities occurring within the facilities. After receiving treatment, Dix returned to the United States and conducted her own investigation of mental institutions in Massachusetts, only to find the same harsh conditions at play. She presented her “Memorial” report to the legislators of Massachusetts describing the horrific practices of mental asylums and calling for reform and protection for patients from the government, which the politicians initially turned down. Despite rejection, Dix persevered for forty years until she won her Massachusetts case and cases in thirteen other states in the United States and Canada, adding more of her findings from the asylums to her argument, working day and night for change. One report claims that during a session of legislation, Dix remained on the premises of the government building until her bill was passed, earning her the nickname “Dragon Dix” for her passionate intensity. Her most effective and influential change to health care laws and policies was the Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane, which, after passing in Congress, put aside over twelve million acres of federal land for the use of publicly available asylums. To a similar effect, Dix met with Pope Pius IX, who personally commissioned for the construction of a new hospital for the mentally ill after reading her reports.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix also played a major role in the American Civil War. Dix was appointed Superintendent of Army Nurses for the Union Army in 1861, and although she considered her work for the army a personal failure and resigned in 1865, she helped pave the road for women in the hospital work force. Dix faced strong opposition from Army doctors who did not want women as hospital nurses, to which she responded with a push for what became Order No. 351, an ordinance that gave hiring power of nurses solely to the Surgeon General and the Superintendent of Army Nurses. Fearing exploitation of female nurses by male doctors, Dix also set extremely specific guidelines for hiring and training women to be nurses, including a dress code (which mimicked the iconic uniform of Dix’s career hero Florence Nightingale), age requirements, and a necessity to have a certain amount of training occur with her personally. These guidelines lead to Dix gaining a reputation of being a strict and inflexible leader, but a leader of a highly efficient and effective nurse corps.

It could be assumed that because Dix served for the Union Army, she only treated and cared for Union soldiers. However this was no way the case. Dix is quoted as saying that “[wounded Confederate soldiers] were nevertheless helpless, suffering human beings” and that she “could not pass them by neglected.” Towards the end of the war, Dix had treated over five thousand Confederate soldiers, in addition to the multitude of treated Union soldiers.

Though her efforts during the war and during her mental health care reform were tremendously effective and revolutionary, Dix was considered by many as a person who was difficult to work with. This difficultly was in part due to her independent nature. Dix was often considered stubborn, as she refused to comply with rules or practices that she felt were ineffective or non-beneficial. Driven with a passion to change things to fit her vision and treat patients to her best ability, Dix sometimes failed to connect with fellow nurses and healthcare providers on a human level, and treated them more as coworkers than friends. Eventually, her personality and style of authority were understood by both her and others, and upon resigning from her position as Superintendent of Army Nurses, Dix reentered the advocacy world as an independent activist again.

In her final years, Dorothea Dix lobbied more reform bills in a plethora of states and sporadically continued nursing. She continued working until the day she died, and since her death on July 17th, 1887, has had an educational boat in Canada, a Navy transport ship during World War II, and several hospitals around the country christened in her name. 

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Dorothea Dix

To me, Dorothea Dix is a tremendous inspiration. She saw the problems in different areas of society, and set forth to fix them. Dix worked her whole life to better the lives of others. And she didn’t limit herself to simply one area of change – she worked in health care, in asylums and jail houses, in war efforts, in education. If you want to learn more about the amazing things Dorothea Dix did, check out these History, Bio, Webster, and National Center for Biotechnology Information articles.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Women in History Crush Wednesdays! Be heard!

Houston Feels the Bern

Last night, I went to Bernie Sanders’ candidacy event at the UH campus. I know it sounds crazy – a democratic candidate making a stop in an extremely republican state. But the crowd was unbelievable! The seats were packed with at least 5,000 enthusiastic Houstonians, and there was hardly a moment that passed that wasn’t filled with chanting and cheering. People were authentically interested in every word Sanders said. And his support didn’t come from a select few demographics; people of every race, age, and economic level could be found.

Houston Feels the Bern

In a time where it’s easy to be disappointed or disenchanted about American politics, Sanders shows a light of progressivism and rationality that really brings hope to this next election. While he spoke genuinely about a broad range of topics, his care and attention focused on a few things:

election corruption
wage gaps
social justice
health care
environmental care

Sanders wants to again make the government a system by the people, for the people, of the people. He isn’t looking at simply the small picture – he’s thinking about the future of our country. As an American youth getting ready to enter the world of college and adulthood, his views and ideas sound extremely beneficial to all walks of life, and seem like a great way to build tomorrow’s booming America.

I’m glad I was able to attend Sanders’ event. I left knowing what he stands for and what he plans to do with the presidency. I left knowing that he isn’t driven by funding but rather passion for the American people. I left knowing that he cares about tomorrow enough to change what’s happening today.

If you’re interested in exactly what Bernie Sanders said, Daily Kos member leu2500 did a great livefeed/liveblog here and YouTuber n8glenn put up a nice video here! And if you want more general info about Sanders himself, visit his campaign website!

Thanks for reading! Be heard!

Welcome to Audiēmur!

Welcome to my blog! My name is Allie Schauer, and I’m a history loving teen growing up in suburban Texas. I’m currently a senior in high school, and I’m hoping to study history in college in order to then pursue a degree in law. I love talking about politics and history, my dogs, and music, so we’ll see if and how those topics coexist. This is my first time blogging, bear with me and hopefully we’ll figure this out together!

You may be wondering about the title of this blog. Audiēmur is Latin for “we will be heard,” a phrase which to me represents both a goal and a promise. Change doesn’t happen by chance. You have to work for what you want changed, you have to be heard. And that doesn’t mean just shouting at the next person who will listen. Being heard can mean advocacy, volunteering, protest, petitions, boycotts, letters, podcasts, blogs – being heard is about effectively standing up for what you believe in.

This blog will follow my adventures in learning about and understanding history and politics, realms where using your voice is a necessity. I’ll focus on American aspects of both, but don’t be surprised when we talk global. I would love for you to comment with your opinions on different topics as often as you see fit; that’s how this whole political thing functions.

In short, thank you for checking out my blog, and remember to be heard!