Here at Etkie we are celebrating all of the strong women around the world that are inspiring us on this International Women’s Day. Not only is Etkie a female owned company, where sisterhood and community are important values, the majority of our employees are strong, indigenous women from long lines of powerful lady bosses stretching as far back as creation. The role of women in the Native American community is a sacred and powerful one that we are honored to be a part of.
One of the principle deities in the Navajo (Diné) Creation Story is Changing Woman, whom the gods instructed in the ways of living so that she could pass the knowledge on to her people. She raised twin sons on her own, without the aid of a husband, and taught them in all ways of life from hunting to praying. For the Diné, she is template for female strength and integrity, and is one reason why Diné are known for their unique, matriarchal culture. Diné women are also known for their roles as fierce warriors who throughout history have fought alongside men to protect their families and homeland.
But Diné women are not the only Native Americans in history to be lady bosses. Since the dawn of colonization, the role of warrior and protector has become an important part Indigenous women’s identity. Amongst every indigenous group on the continent, there are stories of women who have saved the day. Dahteste and Lozen are both famous female Apache warriors who fought alongside Geronimo. Buffalo Calf Road Woman rode valiantly into the Battle of the Rosebud in 1876, saving her brother Chief Comes in Sight from American soldiers. In the Battle of Greasy Grass, where Lt. Col. Custer was defeated, a Lakota woman called Moving Robe rode in alongside the men leading the counterattack against the Calvary. Centuries later, during the Iraq War, it was a Hopi woman who was among the first casualties, marking the first Native American woman ever to die in battle on foreign soil. During the months-long protests at Standing Rock, there the women stood arm in arm in prayer for the protection of their water, bravely facing a line of armed police and attack dogs.
As we move through this day with mindfulness, we give thanks to all of the grandmothers, mothers, aunts and sisters who have taken it upon themselves – generation after generation – to join the front-lines for the sake of their children. In every culture, in every era, women have done their part and more to pave the way to a better world for us, their daughters. Today, we couldn’t be more honored to walk in the footsteps of these and so many other inspiring women.