Native Americans endured many wars and the loss of their land. Their history is marked by many tragedies. However, those tragedies and defeats have not kept them from making many achievements. There are many famous Native American chiefs. But Native Americans have also made many other contributions. Below you’ll find a short list of famous Native Americans, who each left their mark on American society.
Squanto—Without the help of the Patuxet Indian, Squanto, the Pilgrims might not have survived their first winter in North America. He gave them food and helped them to grow their own.
Sacagawea—As a teenage girl, Sacagawea helped the Lewis and Clark expedition into the west by serving as an interpreter. She also saved records and supplies when one of the expedition’s canoes capsized.
Sequoyah—Sequoyah wrote the Cherokee alphabet. The alphabet was very easy to learn, so most of the Cherokee became literate in a short time.
Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman—A Sioux author, Dr. Eastman helped found the Boy Scouts of America
Stand Watie—When eleven Southern states seceded from the Union in 1860-61, some Cherokee supported the Confederacy. Stand Watie was a Cherokee leader and a brigadier general in the Confederate army.
Ira Hayes—Hayes was a Pima Indian who served in the US Army in World War II. He was one of the American soldiers who raised the US flag over Iwo Jima.
Will Rogers—Rogers is famous as a writer, actor, and social commentator. He was also of Native American descent, and grew up on Oklahoma Indian territory.
Wilma Mankiller—Mankiller was the first woman elected to be chief of the Cherokee people, in 1985.
Pocahontas—Even though she was only a young girl, Pocahontas helped the Jamestown colony survive its first winter by bringing them food. She also married a colonist and became a celebrity in England!
Pontiac—An Ottowa Indian, Pontiac defended the Great Lakes region from a British invasion in the 1760s. He is so respected that Detroit-area car manufacturers named a line of automobiles for him!
Sitting Bull—The Sioux chief is one of the most famous Native Americans in history. He is responsible for the defeat of Custer at Little Bighorn.
John Ross—Ross served as chief of the Cherokee longer than any other person. He led the Cherokee during the process of removal.
Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins—Hopkins published a book called “Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims.” She is believed to be the first Native American woman to publish in the English language.
Things to Remember:
Native Americans contributed to every aspect of American life
Although Native American chiefs are very well-known, there are accomplished Native American writers, inventors, artists, politicians, etc.