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Susette LaFlesche (b. 1854)

Susette LaFlesche (b. 1854)

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A profile of Ohmaha Metis, Suzette LaFleasche
A profile of Ohmaha Metis, Suzette LaFleasche

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on Jun 03, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Susette LaFlesche, (Tibbles).
(1854-1903)In the 1880s, Susette LaFleshe writing under the name “Bright Eyes,” publishedwhat is believed to be the first non-legend short story written by a Metis. The story,“Nedawi” was published in St. Nicholas, a children’s magazine. Susette (Insta Theambaor Bright Eyes) was born on the Omaha Reservation, the Metis daughter of JosephLaFlesche and Mary Gale. Joseph LaFlesche was the son of a Ponca mother and a Frenchtrapper-trader father. His mother was the sister of Ponca chief Standing Grizzly Bear.Susette’s mother, Mary Gale, was the daughter of military officer and surgeon, Dr. JohnGale and his Omaha wife, Nicomi (Voice of the Waters).Susette LaFlesche TibblesSusette was educated at the reservation school until it closed in 1869. In 1872, sheattended the Elizabeth Institute for Young Ladies in New Jersey. Her sister Margueriteaccompanied her there. She was an excellent student and excellent writer; some of her school essays were published in a New York newspaper before she graduated in 1875.She returned to teach at the reservation but could not obtain a position until 1877. Shecontinued at the school for three years.The next years were distressing ones for the Indians. In 1878, the neighbouringPoncas were forcibly removed to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. This alarmed theOmaha’s because they felt they would be next, further they had many relatives among thePoncas. In the winter of 1878, Chief Standing Bear led his group back to their traditionalhome on the Niobara River. He was arrested and brought for trial in 1879. Susette took up the Ponca cause and offered expert testimony at his trial. This appearance and her subsequent reports on the awful conditions among the Ponca people started her career asan orator, writer and advocate of Indian rights.During 1878 and 1879, Susette and her half-brother Francis went East with StandingBear to dramatize the plight of the Poncas to the public. Thomas Henry Tibbles, assistant

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