Here's what I know:
1. She's 99 "years young" as they say. Her great-granddaughters call her a trooper, because, quite frankly, she is. Last year, with them, she got out of the car when we drove into the field and up close to the old house where her mother (and later, her brother) once lived. Even though the place was falling apart, she wanted in. With a little help--I held her hand--she got into the house with them to look around and remember.
2. For her 98th birthday, in traditional Lakota fashion, she took loads of things into the community room on the reservation, a ton of stuff. We were all given numbers when we came in, and soon enough she celebrated a "Giveaway" with her own canned goods, sewn items, even quilts. She'd made it all during the year and, in celebration of yet another birthday, was simply and gratefully giving it all away. I came away with a jar of pickles and a small quilt.
3-She spent three years of her life in the Army Nurse Corps, in hospitals here in the States, in Great Britain, France, and finally at Liege, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge, lead nurse in tent I-A of a Allied hospital close enough to the front to get strafed by the Luftwaffe and "buzz bombed" so frequently she actually (sort of) got used to it. She was there for the Battle of the Bulge.
4-When the war ended, she came home and took a nursing job in Rapid City, where she was repulsed--no, sickened and angry--when she read a sign outside a store that said the place wouldn't do business with Indians.
5-For some time she served as director of nursing at the Cheyenne River Agency Hospital, not all that far from the boarding school she'd attended when, as a little girl, she'd left the one-room school at Promise, South Dakota, where her family lived.
6-She and her entire nursing unit were awarded medals for their work during the war. Accompanied by her daughter, she was able to attend the award ceremony in Paris.
7-When an organization she was a part of--the Survivors of Wounded Knee--discovered a ghost shirt on display in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland, the organization determined to bring it home to the reservation where it belonged. Getting that job done required two trips, but she did it, offering the museum a replica shirt she herself had sewn herself.
8-Just a few years ago, for her work in her work as a health care professional as well as her war experience, she was elected to the South Dakota Hall of Fame. At one of the university's three commencements just last spring, she was honored with an honorary doctorate from the South Dakota State University School of Nursing.
9-Her address in her home for most of her long life begins with a post office box, which means if she lived just a bit north on the Standing Rock Reservation, she couldn't vote next week because a new law aimed precisely at Native people would keep her from exercising her rights as an American: her post office address begins with a box number.
That law was rammed through the legislature to protect the state from the scourge of illegal voting, which has been, in the state, just about non-existent.
That's the party line anyway.
The truth is, it's meant to keep Native people from voting.