“From my childhood I have been aware of the problems of my tribe and have wanted to help make our people aware of them.”
Navajo public health activist, tribal leader. Worked to improve health and education of the Navajo. One of the first women ever elected to the Navajo Tribal Council, 1951. Reelected, 1955 and 1959. Appointed head of council’s Health and Welfare Committee. Known to Navajo nation as “Our Legendary Mother.” Created English-Navajo medical dictionary to help doctors and patients communicate. Dedicated her life to helping her people access the advantages of modern medicine without sacrificing traditional cultural values. Served on advisory boards to U.S. Surgeon General and U.S. Public Health Service. Won Josephine Hughes Award and Woman of Achievement Award, Arizona Press Women’s Association, 1958. Named Outstanding Worker Public Health of Arizona Public Health Association, Indian Achievement Award, Indian Council Fire of Chicago, 1959. Presidential Medal of Freedom for life of service, 1963. Inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, New York, 2000. B.S. in public health, University of Arizona, mid-1950s. Honorary doctorate in public health, University of Arizona, 1976.