20 Influential Native Americans You May Not Know | New

Most Americans can count on the Native Americans who contributed to the colonial history of this land, from Sacagawea and Geronimo to Pocahontas and Sitting Bull. However, the reality is that the one-sided nature of American history taught to children in the United States has minimized the contributions of Indigenous peoples, making it a difficult journey to truth and reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples of this land.

With the discoveries of an Indigenous children’s burial site in Albuquerque in September 2021 and the anonymous graves of children in Canada in the summer of 2021, the world has finally started to reckon with the brutal realities of the residential school system and the insidious legacy of colonization—Injustices that indigenous activists and the communities concerned have denounced for years.

Speaking as an expert on a residential school panel, Dena Ned, a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, stressed the importance to remember and learn our history. In doing so, Ned explained, we can understand why it is important for policies, systems and institutions to recognize and respond to certain members of the community.

By learning about the backgrounds, contributions, and sacrifices of Indigenous leaders, you can take action to break down systems of oppression that threaten the rights of Indigenous peoples in the United States and around the world.

Supported by press articles and historical sources, Stacker has compiled a list of 20 Influential Native Americans You May Not Know. Read on to learn more about these unsung Indigenous heroes and revolutionaries from across North America who stood up to oppression, broke barriers, and changed the course of history.

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