USA Native Entities

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
United States of America Native Tribes

Also see USA Heads

Absentee Shawnee

2007- Governor Jennifer Onzahwah

Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Tribes in Montana

2005- President of the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council Julia Doney She was Vice-President of the Council which oversees the joint government of the Fort Belknap Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes 2004-05.

Caddo Nation in Oklahoma

Circa 2000- Chairperson of the Tribal Council LaRue Martin Parker
In 2005 she was re-elected over opposition candidate, Christine Smith Noah.

Chippewas of Georgina Island

2007- Chief Donna Big Canoe
She was elected over her distant relative Lorraine Big Canoe. (b. 1976-).

Crow Tribe of Indians

1966-72 Vice-Secretary of the Crow Tribal Council Pauline White Man Runs Him Small
She served in various other positions within the Crow Tribal Office, and lived (1924-2005).

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian

1995-? Principal Chief Joyce Dugan

Eastern Shawnee Tribe

2006- Chief Glenna J. Wallace

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

1972-74 Tribal President Agnes Ross

1983 -85 Tribal President Carolyn Sorensen

1987-90 Tribal President Judith Peterson

Ford still Apache Tribe

1977-95 Chairperson of the Tribe Mildred Cleghorn
She lived (1910-97).

 Ho-chunk Tribe in Wisconsin

1727-after 1766 Glory of the Morning (Hoe-poe-kaw)
In 1728 she married a French fur trader named Sabrevoir Descaris. Under her leadership, the Ho-Chunk allied themselves with the French and fought the Fox tribe in several battles during the 1730s and 1740s. Her husband left her and her sons after 7 years of marriage taking with him their daughter to Quebec. She lived (1709-after 1766)

Iowa Tribe

2005-07 (?) Chief Bernadette Huber


The  Iroquoi Nation in New York State

Until 1804 Influential Madame Catherine Montour
Also known as Queen Catharine, she was prominent the Iroquois during the end of the 18th century. She was reportedly a half-breed Huron from New France and also claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of a French official. She had been captured by the Iroquois and married to a Seneca chief. After his death she was accepted into the matriarchate of the tribe and was influential in their dealings with white settlers and leaders. She was able to speak both English and French, as well as some native languages. A Seneca town named Catherine's Town after her was located at the south end of Seneca Lake. It was destroyed during  the Sullivan Expedition of 1779. At that time the town was reported to have 30 houses, corn fields, and fruit orchards, all of which were destroyed. She is sometimes confused with a granddaugther, Esther Montour, who reportably was in the Wyoming Massacre in 1778, tomahawking captured whites. The Senecas were the allies of the British during the American Revolution. She lived (17101804)

Kootenai Tribe of Idaho

- 2006- Tribal Chair Jennifer Porter

Las Vegas Paiute tribal government

1978-80 Chairperson Gloria Yazzie

1988-90 Chairperson Margaret Henry

1990-93 and 1994-98 Chairperson  Alfreda Mitre
(b. 1954-)


1980-81, 1982-83 and 1987-88 Tribal Chairperson Lucille Chapman

200203 Tribal Chairperson Lisa Waukau

2003-04 Tribal Chairperson Joan R. Delabreau

2006- Tribal Chairperson Karen Washinawatok

Miami Tribe

Until circa 1790 Politically Influential Chefress Tacumwah
Her name was also spelled Taucumwah, and she was also known as Marie-Louise Pacanne Richerville (Richardville), and apart from her role as chief, she was a businesswoman, mother of Chief Richardville, the sister of Michikinikwa ("Little Turtle"), and Pacan. She married Joseph Drouet de la Richerville, the son of a French nobleman who was serving as a lieutenant in the French garrison at Fort St. Phillipe, later Fort Miamis, who later became a fur trader in Canada. She was a political advisor to her son Peshewa and sometimes spoke for him in the tribal council. She lived (ca 1720-circa 1790).

Mohegan Tribe in Conneticut

2009- Chief Lynn Malerba

The Narragansett Tribe

1658-76 Sachem and Chiefess Quaiapen
The word sachem, of Algonquian origin, was used among some northeastern tribes to refer to their leaders. In contrast to chiefs, who were chosen for their skill in battle or oratory, sachems held hereditary, civil positions and ruled by consensus. Their responsibilities included the distribution of land, the dispensation of justice, the collection of tribute, the reception of guests, and sometimes the direction of war or the sponsoring of rituals. Among the Narragansetts, sachems held sway over villages, which formed the basic political, territorial unit of the society. Most sachems were men, but many women are known to have been sachems as well. The most famous of the female sachems was the Narragansett sachem Quaiapen, also known as Magnus or Matantuck. In addition to establishing her own sachemdom after she was widowed in 1658, she was the sister, wife, and mother of several other Narragansett sachems. Rumors among white colonists of her marriage in 1649 to the sachem Mixanno aroused fear of an Indian conspiracy. That fear took on a new form in 1675, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony went to war against the Wampanoag sachem Metacom, whom white called King Philip. I. She was killed in battle.

The Nez Perce tribe

2005- Chairperson of the Tribal Council Rebecca Miles

The Omaha Tribal Council in Navada

2005- Chairperson of the Tribal Council Eleanor Baxter
Former Vice-Chairperson of the tribe council.

Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota

2004-06 President Cecilia Fire Thunder
Suspended in 2005 when she was under investigation for financial irregularities, and the following year she was impeached.
(b. 1946-).

Ossabaw, Sapelos and Caint Catherine Islands

From 1747 Princess Mary Bosomworth
(Creek Indian)

Pamunkey Tribe in Virginia

Before 1618 District chief of Appamattuck (Appomattox) The sister of the great chief, she  governed the strategically important town at that river's junction with the James. Powhatan's chiefly position was also inherited matrilineally; thus his children could not succeed him. His three brothers, in order of age, were his successors, followed by his two sisters, and then by their two daughters.

1644/44-circa 57 Queen Cockacoeske
Possibly known as Queen  Betty to the Colonists, she is described as diplomat and suzeraine, she shrewdly used her connections with the Virginia colonist to rebuild her tribe's primacy over the neighboring tribes. She seems to have directly succeeded her Opechancanough, who might have come to power after having been Prince-Consort to a previsous reigning Queen - Cockacoeske's mother "Cleopatra", the daughter of King Powhatan.

I have not found conclusive sources of the sucession to the Panmunkey Monarchy. Some say that two of Powhatan's sisters ruled and two of their daughters. Some say that Cockacoeske was succeeded by "Queen Betty" and then by Anne, and others again that Cockacoeske and Anne was the same person.

Circa 1657-circa 1715 Queen Anne Totopotomoi
She succeeded her aunt. Anne's husband, the chief Totopotomoi was killed during the battle in which he supported the English against other Indian warriors. In 1675 she was called upon to furnish warriors to fight with the Whites during Bacon's Rebellion; this was her first appearance in colonial history. Her appearance at the colonial Council, in which she scornfully rejected the request to furnish warriors for the Whites on the grounds that her people had been neglected for the past 20 years, in spite of their friendship to the Whites, was a dramatic confrontation between Indian and White. 1677 she signed
"on behalfe of herselfe, & the severall Indians under her Subjection" a treaty between the Indians and the Virginia colonisers.It was only after strong promises of better treatment by the colonists that Queen Anne agreed to provide the needed assistance. Following the end of the Rebellion, a silver headband, or coronet, inscribed Queen of Pamunkey was presented to her by King Charles II. Little more is heard about her following this period, beyond an appearance in 1715, when she visited the colonial authorities to request fair treatment for her people.

Around 1677 Queen of Wayonaoake
She is mentioned as one of the signateurs of the treaty between the Indian tribes and the British colonisers.

The Pascua Yaqui in Arizona

2004- Chairperson of the Tribal Council Herminia Frias
She is the first woman, who is also the youngest ever to lead the 14.000 member tribe. She is from the Yaqui community of Old Pascua. Catalina Alvarez was elected Secretary of the 11 member Council. Hermnia is (b. 1973-).

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

2005- Chairperson Cecelia Fire Thunder
Elected for a two year term as tribal leader

Quapaw Tribe

1994-96 Chairperson Grace Goodeagle

2000-02 Chairperson Tamara Summerfield

The Quinnipiac in Totoket (Branford in Conneticut)

Until 1960s Sachem Elizabeth Sakaskantawe Brown
She was the last hereditary matriarch; and she was related to the last Sachems of Mioonkhtuck  James Mah-wee-yeuh
Married three times and lived (1850s-1960s)

Sac and Fox Nation

2007- Chief Kay Rhoads

Seneca Tribe

Circa 1701-1754 Queen Alliquippa
She was a politician and a member of the Seneca tribe, one of the Iroquois Indian nations. The first records of her was her saying goodbye to William Penn in Delaware, New Jersey in 1701. She warned the Pennsylvania government officials in 1747 that the French were trying to take over the area as they came from Ohio. She found this out apparently as she was making a trip across the state. In 1753 as George Washington traveled through Logstown, he stopped to see her and gave her gifts of a watch coat. She was a key ally of the British during the French and Indian War. Together with her son Kanuksusy, and warriors from her band of Mingo Seneca, she traveled to Fort Necessity to assist George Washington but did not take an active part in the Battle of the Great Meadows on 3-4 July 1754. She lived (1680/85-1754)

The Seminole Nation of Florida

1922-35 Chiefess Alice Brown Davis
Prominent in tribal affairs for much of her life. In 1922 she was appointed principal chief by President Warren G. Harding in order to facilitate the closing of the tribal land affairs. Although she was not the first woman to be chief of an Indian tribe, she was the first woman to head the Seminole Nation. There was some controversy over the appointment, but eventually she was accepted by both her own people and outsiders. Although she was appointed, and not elected in the Seminole tradition, she was well thought of and well respected and the people were happy with having her as Chief. The tribal land affairs, which she had been appointed to resolve, became a source of contention between Alice and the government. A survey conducted in 1910 had shifted the old boundaries between the Creek and Seminole Nations, and the new boundaries transferred several important parcels of land to the Creeks, and she refused to sign the deeds transferring them to the Creek Nation or the federal government, on the grounds that it was morally wrong for her to pass a most valuable tract of land out of the hands of the destitute Seminole people. Alice continued to serve the Seminoles as chief until her death on June 21, 1935. She received many posthumous awards recognizing her achievements. She lived (1852-1935).

The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

1967-71 Head of the Tribal Council Chief Betty Mae Jumper
In the Seminole Nation the clans are perpetuated trough women. She was elected the first female chief and her main concern was to raise the living standards of her tribe trough education. (b. 1923-).

The Six Nations

1891 Honorary Seneca Sachem Harriet Maxwell Converse
Her Indian name was Ga-is-wa-noh -The Watcher, and she became the first white woman to be named chief of an Indian Tribe. Converse became chief of the Six Nations Tribe at Tonawanda Reservation in New York. She had been adopted by the Seneca tribe 7 years earlier because of her efforts on behalf of the tribe. She lived (1836-1903).

he Southern Ute Indian Tribe

2004 Acting Chairperson Pearl E. Casias

Suquamish tribe

1920's-1940's Tribal Chairperson Martha George
She founded the Small Tribes Organization of Western Washington

Tahlequaho, The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma

1985-95 Principal Chief Wilma Pearl Mankiller
Deputy Chief 1983-85. The first woman to be elected to a chiefly position among the American Native population. Others have followed since. (b. 1945-).

The Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona

Around 2004- Chairperson of the Tribal Council Vivian Juan Sanders,

The Yakama Nation

1980s Tribal Secretary Lavina Washines
2006- Chairperson of the Tribal Council

2006- Tribal Secretary Portia Shields

Yavapai-Prescott Native Tribe in Arizona

1940-66 Chief Viola Jimulla
Became chief when her husband died in an accident. Lived (18781966)



Last update 15.10.09