The Office of Diversity and Inclusion celebrates America’s rich Native American History by recognizing the heritage and culture of American Indians and Alaska Natives in November. Native American Heritage Month celebrates the tradition, history and acknowledgment of the contributions of America’s Indigenous People.
While honoring Native American history and heritage, we would like to highlight Native American nursing pioneer Susie Walker Bear Yellowtail.
Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail, RN (Jan. 27, 1903 – Dec. 25, 1981) was the first Native American Registered Nurse. She was also the first Native American Nurse to be inducted into the American Nursing Association’s Hall of Fame. She brought modern health care to her tribe and improved healthcare on reservations by traveling throughout the United States to provide care to the Native American community. She received many honors throughout her career for her prestigious work. Her awards include President John F. Kennedy presenting her with the President’s Award for Outstanding Nursing. She also received the honor as the “Grandmother of American Indian Nurses” by the American Indian Association in 1978. In 1987, she was the first Native American to be inducted into the Montana Hall of Fame and then went on to become the first Native American to be inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame in 2002.