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Lakota Woman Warrior

Lakota Woman Warrior

By: Brenda White Bull

Brenda White Bull

Brenda White Bull Photo Courtesy of The Veteran Vision Project

“‘Lakota Woman Warrior,’ a title I hold to the highest standards. As I look in the mirror, I give myself permission to feel very proud. I not only see my own image, but I see glimpses of my ancestors’ blood running through my veins. I come from a well-known line of warriors, which dates back to when the Hunkpapa Lakotas were led by my great-grandfathers, Sitting Bull and Chief White Bull, to halt General George A. Custer to his last stand. My great-grandmother, Mary Crawler, a.k.a. Moving Robe Woman, is one of the few women who fought in this battle as well. It is known as The Battle of Little Big Horn or The Battle of the Greasy Grass. The only battle in which the United States Army has been defeated. My warrior lineage also dates to a very recent award ceremony, held in my homelands, on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. On this day, my mother so proudly accepted my grandfather George Sleeps from Home’s Congressional Silver Medal in his honor (posthumously). You see, my grandpa George hardly ever spoke of his wartime memories. They were kept a secret, top-secret if you will. He was a Lakota Code Talker during World War I. At this time, Native Americans were not even considered citizens of this country. Yet, The Lakota Code Talkers remained loyal to their oath of enlistment, therefore rarely speaking of their mission. Their devotion to duty stood still, until many years after, in their final resting place, the President of the United States awarded them along with many other tribes to celebrate their call of duty to our nation.

These historical battles my family has faced, are but a few. Most recently, together we face another battle, called Breast Cancer. My mother was diagnosed in 2009. Sadly, on March 30, 2015, we lost her, our matriarch, during her second bout to this unforgiving disease. Rest in Peace Mom, I love you and I miss you so much. It already seems like an eternity, since you took your journey into the Spirit World, but I know you are no longer suffering. Tok’sa A’ke (see you again). My sister, an Army Veteran, also has been diagnosed in October of 2014. She said, ‘If I had not performed my monthly breast self-exams, I may not be here today.’ When one family member goes through these battles, they do not face them alone; we all go through it with them. Seeing them fight and ‘absolutely’ never giving up, gives me hope and strength, to use my moment captured here in this photo, as a platform to bring awareness, prevention and self-education to Breast Cancer.

Combining the military uniform with my traditional regalia exhibits Warrior Pride. Two lifestyles brought together, each carrying richness in their unique tradition and culture. I proudly wear my uniform in honor of those past and present, for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice-you will not be forgotten, and for all my brothers and sisters who continue their honorable service. My prayers and dance are for you. I will continue to ‘Forward March,’ by serving our people. For these battles that were fought, were not fought in vain.

Once a Marine, Always a Marine. Semper Fidelis.

Philamiyaye (Thank You) and Mitakuye Oyasin (We Are All Related).” –

Brenda White Bull

United States Marine Corps.
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4 comments on “Lakota Woman Warrior

  1. Semper Fidelis sister

  2. thanks for sharing your story with us. I proudly served at Quantico with an Oglala Sioux named Arlene Lomax. “Max”, as we all called her, was enlisted, got picked up on the Enlisted Commissioning Program, became a 2nd Lieutenant, worked in computer science, retired as a LtCol with a doctorate in computer science. Her twin sister Darlene held the rank of Captain (Navy equivalent to a Colonel) in the Public Health Service. They were originally from a reservation in South Dakota. Later, at Parris Island, was proud to have two full-blooded American Indians in my recruit platoons…Deborah American Horse (who has served for many years with the VA) and Little One Foot. Good Marines, all three.

  3. Brenda, I am writing a book entitled “Your Corps” and would like to interview you. Please e-mail me at the address below if interested. Website also included below.

    Kevin J. Carleo
    GySgt, U.S. Marines (Ret.)

  4. Hi Brenda,

    We were in MOS school together back in 1989-1990 at Camp Johnson. I would love to reconnect with you and catch up.

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