FAMOUS NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE

OF 20TH CENTURY

From the International Brotherhood Site Visit this important educational website for reference information and more interesting facts. http://www.theramp.net/kohr4/FAMOUS.html

When thinking of well known Native American People it is a common mistake to limit our thinking to those Native Americans that became famous in our earlier history. Native Americans are contributing members of today's modern America. Following is a short list of famous Native American people of this century:

JIM THORPE (Sac and Fox): winner of Olympic Gold Medals in the decathlon and pentathlon, in college he was an All-American athlete in lacrosse, basketball, and football. Played professional baseball and football. He has been voted the best American athlete of the first half of the 20th century. The first president of The National Football League.


LEWIS TEWANIMA (HOPI) One of America's greatest long distance runners. Member of U.S. Olympic Team in 1908 and 1912. In 1912 he set the U.S. record for the 10,000 meter run, winning an Olympic silver medal. This record stood until 1964 when it was broken by Oglala Lakota Billy Mills. Tewanima also set the world record for the indoor 10 mile race, at Madison Square Garden.


WILL RODGERS (Cherokee): perhaps the best known American humorist of the first one half of this century.


JOSEPH OKLAHOMBI (Choctaw): Winner of the French medal, Croix de Guerre in WW I. The incident which won him this honor was perhaps one of the greatest acts of courage, bravery, and accomplishment in the annals of Military history. Private Oklahombi under machine gun, mortar and poison gas attack, crossed 210 yards of barbed wire traps and mine fields. He then single-handedly overpowered a machine-gun nest, captured 171 German soldiers, and held his position and prisoners for four days before being relieved.


FRANCIS LEQUIER (Ojibwa): WW I hero. After his three comrades were killed attacking a German machine gun nest, he managed to overpower the Germans single handedly, killing several and capturing the rest. Mr. Lequier was shot 11 times during the incident.


JOE YOUNG HAWK (Arikara): captured by five German soldiers in WW I he turned on his German captors, killed three with his bare hands and captured the other two. Shot through both legs, he marched his prisoners back through enemy territory to Allied lines.


MITCHELL RED CLOUD (Ho-Chunk) This resident of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, was awarded the Medal of Honor for giving of his life on Nov. 5th, 1950, in the Korean conflict. Slowing an advance of enemy soldiers in order to allow his comrades to organize an defense, he was wounded 8 times. He wrapped his arm around a tree in order to support himself and to be able to maintain fire with his automatic weapon. In July of 1999 the United States Navy named a transport ship in his honor.


CHARLES D. CURTIS (KANSA/KAW/OSAGE) Served in the House of Representatives for 14 years. The first Native American elected to the U.S. Senate. Served in the Senate for 20 years, 5 years as majority leader. Author of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. Vice President of the United States of America during the Herbert Hoover administration.


ELVIS PRESLEY (Cherokee descent): the most influential rock and roll star in history.


WAYNE NEWTON (Choctaw descent) Singer and actor. One of Las Vegas' best known entertainers.


MARIA TALLCHIEF (OSAGE) One of the few prima ballerinas that have been born in the United States.


BILLY MILLS (Lakota): Amateur champion and Gold Medal Winner in the Olympic Games in track and field. Currently works with charity groups promoting the cause of Native Americans across the U.S.


BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL (Northern Cheyenne): Present day U.S. Senator from Colorado.


FLOYD (RED CROW) WESTERMAN ( Santee Dakota): Songwriter, singer, speaker, activist, actor, and all around good guy. Starred in "Dances With Wolves," and "Clearcut," acted in roles in "Dharma and Greg," "Walker Texas Ranger" , "The X Files," and numerous other T.V. roles.


LITEFOOT (Cherokee): Native American Rap star and movie actor. He starred in the movie "Indian in the Cupboard." He tours the country with his Rap band that sings and preaches the message of a drug and alcohol free lifestyle.


VAL KILMER (Cherokee descent): Star of "Batman Forever" and actor in other films such as "Wyatt Earp," " Island of Doctor Moreau," " Heat," "Thunderheart," "The Ghost and the Darkness," and "The Saint."


GRAHAM GREENE (Oneida): Actor that has starred in roles in the movies, "Dances With Wolves," "Clearcut," "Thunderheart," "Die-hard With A Vengeance," "The Education of Little Tree," and "Ishi."


JOHNNY DEPP (Cherokee descent): brilliant young actor and film star in movies such as "Edward Scissor Hands," "Crybaby," and "Benny and June."


STEPHANIE KRAMER (Cherokee descent): film star and female lead actor in the T.V. series, "Hunter."


TIGER WOODS: (1/16 Native Blood) Youngest man ever to win the Masters Golf Tournament.


COLIN POWELL: (Arawak Descent) Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Military forces in the Gulf War. Widely touted as a potential candidate for President of the United States of America.


JOHN HERRINGTON: (Chickasaw) America's first Native astronaut. He graduated April 24th, 1998 from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.


SHANIA TWAIN: (Enrolled member of The Red Lake Band of the Ojibwa People, Canada) One of country music's most popular female stars. Her taken name of Shania means in the language of the Ojibwa people, "I am on my way."


NOTAH BEGAY (Navajo) Professional golfer on the PGA tour. At the age of 24 in 1998 he became only the third golfer in the history of the PGA tour to shoot a 59. Won the Reno Tahoe Open on August 8th, 1999. The first Native American to win a PGA tour since Rod Curl in 1974. Notah credits his success to a strong belief in his traditional faith and his cultural ties to his Navaho heritage.


JOE & ANNIE HENRY  (Gwich'in First Nation)   -Dawson City,  Yukon-Inducted into the Guiness Book of World Records for holding the distinction of being the worlds longest living married couple. They will celebrate their 79th wedding anniversary in the summer of 2000.  Raised in the Makenzie mountains in the northwest of the Yukon territory they are both in their early 100's.  They have lived off the land their whole life. They live a traditional lifestyle, are fluent speakers of their Native language,  and practitioners of their culture.  Joe is renowned for his handcrafted snowshoes and Annie for her handmade moccasins,  beadwork and tanned hides.  They  have over 100 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They live a simple, hardworking livestyle and get by without a telephone,  all of which has probably contributed to their long life and good nature.


WINONA LADUKE:  Mother of four children, resident of the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota,  author, activist,  farmer, and small business owner,  she also has been the Vice Presidential candidate for President of the United States in 1996 and the year 2000 on the Green Party ticket. Her running mate for President is Ralph Nader.


And don't forget musicians Elvis, Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn, Cher and astronaut John Herrington, Chicksaw.

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