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Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail was born in Montana in 1903. She graduated from Boston Hospital’s School of Nursing with honors in 1923, making her the first person of Apsáalooke (Crow) descent to become a registered nurse.

Generations of indigenous American* children were sent to boarding schools where they were expected to give up their language, beliefs, and traditions. However, Yellowtail closely held onto her Apsáalooke culture throughout her life, marrying a religious leader, creating intricate traditional beadwork, and advocating for tribal healers’ ability to see patients.

Her career as a nurse was spent in service to indigenous Americans – both members of the Apsáalooke tribe and beyond. She documented healthcare injustices and advocated for improvements to the Indian Health Service. Among her many awards and recognitions, she received the President’s Award for Outstanding Nursing from John F. Kennedy in 1962.

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail passed away in 1981, and has since been inducted into both the Montana and the American Nurses Association Halls of Fame.

*We have used the term “indigenous American” with the recognition that appropriate terminology used to refer to these diverse peoples is an ongoing discussion.

Info sources: http://montanawomenshistory.org/susie-walking-bear-yellowtail-our-bright-morning-star/; https://mhs.mt.gov/Portals/11/education/Montanans/yellowtail2.pdf

Photo source: http://montanawomenshistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/023WHM-PAc-87-71-Tom-and-Susie-Yellowtail.jpg

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