Susan La Flesche Picotte was born on this day, June 17, in 1865. She lived until September 18, 1915, when she died at the age of 50. She was a member of the Omaha tribe.
Susan felt inspired to become a physician after seeing a white doctor ignore four requests to come and help a sick female Native American patient. She knew that someone had to change the situation and that she couldn’t just stand by and wait for someone else to do something.
In 1889, she became the first Native American woman to a medical degree in the United States. That is quite amazing.
She campaigned to discourage drinking on the reservation, to prevent and treat tuberculosis, and other public health reforms.
Susan La Flesche Picotte is diffidently one of those women that we should be learning about in history class back in school. In this case, her story has both value as female history and native history. We need to learn more about these individuals who have witness a wrong and decided that they were going to be the change. It is incredibly inspiring.