Bio of Jenny Big Crow

Jenny Big Crow is on a quest to inspire and encourage others to fulfill their calling in life. As a leader, she believes despite all that we go through in life we are overcomers.

She is no stranger to overcoming life obstacles. She was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation which is one of the poorest places in America. It is also home to the proud Oglala Lakota Sioux which she is a member of. Her own story is one of brokenness as she is a survivor of emotional, spiritual, and sexual abuse. However, she has not allowed her past to stop her from the future that she is created for.

She is an Army veteran who has a college degree in accounting and holds a certification in Practical Theology. She founded and led a mentoring program for 6 years; she now trains other leaders and organizations on starting mentoring programs. She loves leading and teaching because she is passionate about seeing the lives of people change.

She has spoken at conferences, in school, in prisons, in small groups, and at other venues. She is available to speak on many inspiring topics such as leadership, motherhood, boundaries, mentoring, women veterans, emotional healing and overcoming abuse at your next event.

She is also passionate about bringing awareness to the historical trauma Native Americans endured throughout their history.

Jenny is available to speak at events by contacting her at jennybigcrow@gmail.com or 561-774-4428

Bio of Chelaine Knudsen

Bio of Chelaine Knudsen
Iha Nanji Win (Standing Smiling Woman)

C1

Chelaine Knudsen is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe and also represents the Rosebud Sioux & Ponca nations. She is a descendant of Chief Pretty Boy & Chief Pretty Rock of the Yankton Sioux. She is also a fourth-generation military veteran & first woman combat veteran in her family.

Chelaine enlisted in the South Dakota Army National Guards May 31, 2002 immediately after her High School Graduation. She completed her Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She then attended her Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Virginia as a 92A – Automated Logistical Specialist. She then returned to Mitchell South Dakota’s National Guard 665th Maintenance Company full-time. In April 2004, she volunteered for a deployment spot in Bagram, Afghanistan with the 109th Engineer Group out of Rapid City, SD.

Upon return to the States, Chelaine enrolled in College at Sinte Gleska University. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting.

Chelaine was honorably discharged from the military May 2010.

Currently she is employed with the Yankton Sioux Tribe as the Development Trust Fund Director. She sits on various boards in her community and enjoys serving her nation.

Chelaine is a loving mother to three children and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Presenting the colors

“Presenting the colors” at Pow Wows has been a tradition for veterans across Native America for many generations. I’ve watched veterans from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, WWII and other war campaigns in between, post the colors at community Pow Wows on Pine Ridge reservation since I was a little girl. I remember seeing the pride and honor on their faces as they made their way into the arena and in the way they carried themselves. They were brave, courageous and they were heroes. The little girl in me was inspired.

While scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook one day, I saw an all-female veterans’ group for the first time – I was in awe and blown away. The thought of women veterans coming together and lifting one another, inspired me yet again. I would be remiss if I failed to describe the kind of connectedness I am referring to. There is a sisterhood among veterans cultivated from trust, love, empathy and deep understanding. It comes from sharing similar experiences and recognizing that, at certain moments, all we have is one another. My own experience of sisterhood began with my biological sisters, who have been patient and kind with helping me learn, as I grew up on Pine Ridge reservation. The bond I share with my birth sisters nurtures an unwavering love and empathy for one another that is unbreakable. I sensed this same empowerment and bond among women veterans groups, and I secretly wanted to be a part of that experience.

The first time I met members of the Lakota Women Warriors was at the Black Hills Pow Wow in Rapid City, SD in October 2018. At that time, I was a member of an all-male Veterans group presenting the colors at this Pow Wow. I was on my way out of the arena, after a grand entry, when I ran into members from the Lakota Women Warriors. After a short interaction, I immediately felt their love, respect and support. I was invited to join, and I couldn’t believe it! I was humbled and honored that this dream of mine was coming true.

Over the President’s Day Holiday, February 15-17, 2019 in Seminole country in Florida, I experienced my first event with this amazing group of women. The Lakota Women Warriors were invited to the 81st Brighton Field Days on the Brighton Indian Reservation in Florida. The Seminoles treat their military veterans with great reverence. An entire building commemorates the tribal members who have sacrificed for and served this country in the military. We were treated with much respect and kindness. I met talented performers and dancers from other tribes across the U.S., South America and Canada. I will cherish forever, the friendships I made from this trip.

Throughout the weekend, we experienced random acts of kindness and friendliness which made the weekend feel blessed. Some of these acts were obvious and others were quiet, nonetheless all were very meaningful. One morning, we were walking quickly with our flags to get to the parade on time. As we were walking, I heard a man holler, “Hey girls! Hey, hey, I want to sing you a veteran’s song. Is that ok?” I turned to look and I saw him running toward us. He was out of breath and we all responded with, “Yes.” I assumed he would find us later for the song, when suddenly he removed his hat from his head, and cleared his throat and began singing as we walked together towards the parade. His song was beautiful, and the frantic feelings inside me subsided. I began to hear the birds singing, I noticed the calm blue sky, and even though we were walking by the rodeo arena with the stench of manure strong in the air, I did not mind it. The moment became sweeter. I saw a beautiful, caring man, and strong wonderful women around me. I felt happy and peaceful. The entire weekend was filled with special moments like this – my cousins and their kids drove eight hours to see me, I met amazing people throughout the weekend who were filled with hopeful and purposeful energy, and the Seminole Tribe were amazing hosts. The Lakota Women Warriors are full of patience, love, kindness, generosity and humility – it is at the forefront of all they do. We came together to represent our nation, our tribes, communities and families, and we represented them well. The day after I flew home, I woke up inspired, at peace, and excited for my future with this group.

On behalf of the Lakota Women Warriors, wopila eciya (We extend a deep gratitude!) to the Seminole Nation for your kindness, love, generosity and hospitality. You are amazing people! I am humbled to have experienced your celebrations and honored by your invitation.
At a time when I prayed for them to come into my life, the Lakota Women Warriors arrived, with open hearts and minds, and they took me in. During my first event with them, I learned so much, I felt so much, and I am grateful and happy to be a part of this amazing group. These women have had, and currently have challenges and obstacles in their lives – they work hard to persevere and overcome. Their stories are amazing and inspirational. As I sit to write about my experiences with them, I am deeply moved by each one of them. They are my heroes, and the little girl in me remains inspired.

Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Maya Angelou

Lisa Whiteface
Tasina Tokala Win (Standing up front with her shawl woman)
Oglala Lakota
Captain, U.S. Army

Welcome to our first blog post!

In 2014 the Lakota Women Warriors made their debut. Since making our first appearance at the Black Hills Powwow, we have been super busy. We are now going on our 5th year. We have traveled across the nation and we have visited many places and have met so many great people. We have many things yet to accomplish and we thought how nice it would be to start a blog to fill in everyone on what we are doing.

Our first event of the year will be taking place this next coming weekend. The Seminole Tribe of Florida invited us to their yearly event in Brighton, Florida in Okeechobee. This event is Brighton Field Days. Many people attend, and there are events that take place during the weekend.There are many talented vendors in attendance, great food, great entertainment and an awesome rodeo. We will take photos and share after the event.

2019 will be a busy year. We have started off with an already full calendar of events. We also have our logo finalized and are selling t-shirts for fundraising for travel expenses. If you like what we do, who we represent or want to support us in any way possible, we have created a donation button that go to and lend us your support. We appreciate all of your support.





Bio of Katherine Coppedge

Coppledge

Katherine Coppedge is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe located in South Dakota, where she was born and raised.

Shortly preceding high school graduation, Katherine left home to pursue a career opportunity in the United States Air Force as a Material Management Specialist. Following basic and technical training graduation in Lackland Air Force Base, she then received her duty station orders to Minot, North Dakota. In Minot, Katherine devoted her time to towards the mission’s goals, aspiring to become an Officer, while taking college courses at night and volunteering for extracurricular activities during her off time. However, due to uncontrollable events, she was medically retired, given an honorable discharge, and is considered a disabled veteran.

After the military, Katherine went on to continue her education, and currently holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration/Health Management. She is now working towards her Master’s degree in Health Administration and aspires to finish with a Doctorate’s degree.

Katherine is married to Army Staff Sergeant Gabriel Coppedge of the Seminole Tribe, and they have four children.

Bio of Marilee Spottedwolf

Marilee Spottedwolf is an enrolled member of The Northern Cheyenne Tribe, she also represents the Arikara, Mandan, and Lakota Nations.

A third generation Navy veteran, following in the foot steps of her mother, a Vietnam era Yeoman and her grandfather, a Gunners Mate in Pearl Harbor/WWII.

Marilee was also designated as a Gunners Mate, reaching the rank of Petty Officer Second Class (E-5) during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She has served onboard the USS Comstock (LSD-45), Fleet Readiness Center South West (FRCSW), USS Kidd (DDG-100) and Amphibious Construction Battalion One (ACB-1) all out of San Diego, CA.

Bio of Kaleb Shepherd

BIOGRAPHY

AIRMAN FIRST CLASS KALEB CRYSTAL NICOLE SHEPHERD
A1C Kaleb Shepherd is assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron where she is a Radio Maintenance Technician of Combat Mission Support. She performs operational tests, maintains functionality, and the issuing of essential Radio equipment. She ensures all she supports get their gear fully mission-ready and capable to perform their mission. During her time on station, she has overseen the repair and transportation of over $9M worth of equipment.

A1C Shepherd enlisted in the Air Force on 31 May 2016 as a Radio Maintenance Apprentice. A1C Shepherd was born on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on June 8, 1996.

EDUCATION:
2014 Graduated High School, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, Eagle Butte, SD
2016 Graduated Basic Training, Lackland AFB, TX
2017 Graduated Ground Radio Maintenance Apprentice Course Keesler, AFB, MS

ASSIGNMENTS:
1. February 2017 – Present, 23 Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Diamond Sharp Airman Award
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Effective Dates of Promotion:
A1C 07 Dec 2016

(Current as of April 5, 2017)

Bio of Alexandria Hacker

Alexandria Hacker
Iglaka win (Moves Camp Woman)

Sergeant Alexandria Hacker is currently Active Duty in the U.S. Army. She is currently stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. SGT Hacker is Sicangu Lakota and grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her Lakota name is Iglaka win, which means Moves Camp Woman. She comes from the Aske Gluwipi Tiospaye and is the Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter of Chief Iron Shell. She has two children who she credits as her reason for never giving up.

Sergeant Hacker enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 2005 and graduated Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She then went on to Fort Gordon, Georgia where she graduated with a Military Occupational Specialty of 25U – Signal Support Systems Specialist. SGT Hacker’s first duty station was with the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Humphreys, South Korea. After spending 14 months in South Korea, SGT Hacker was then stationed with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. While stationed with the 25th, SGT Hacker was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After her return to Hawaii, SGT Hacker was then stationed with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After serving with 1st ID, SGT Hacker was selected to become a U.S. Army Recruiter. She attended the U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and recruited out of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. After recruiting SGT Hacker worked under the Fort Knox Garrison Command Sergeant Major and was then stationed with the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command on Fort Knox. SGT Hacker is now currently stationed with the 19th Engineer Battalion, also on Fort Knox.

During her service to the country, SGT Hacker has been awarded various awards and decorations and has had the opportunity to serve in significant roles, such as an Equal Opportunity Leader and Army Substance Abuse Advocate.

Bio of Marcella R. Ryan LeBeau

World War II Veteran

Marcella R. Ryan LeBeau
Wigmuke Waste Win (Pretty Rainbow Woman)

Branch of Service: United States Army Nurse Corps

Entered: Palm Springs, CA April 14, 1943,
Appointed Reserve Nurse Army Nurse Corps, 2nd Lt.

Left: February 17, 1946 – separation on 6 month Reserve status
1st Lt. Army Nurse Corps

As a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a Lakota of the Two Kettle Band, I served in the United States Army Nurse Corps and retired as Director of Nursing from Indian Health Service, Eagle Butte, SD after thirty-one years.

During WWII, I served in Wales, England, France and Belgium. In Leominster, England we took care of D-Day causalities. In August 1944, we crossed the English Channel taking several days due to the inclement weather. We climbed down a rope ladder into a landing barge. Camping temporally in a cow pasture in the Carentan area, a french lady served us a banquet with white linens. For the first time since the war began, with tears streaming down her face, she was able to sing the French National Anthem. After Paris, France, we took assignment at the 76th General Hospital in Liege, Belgium. It was a 1000-bed tent hospital on a hill, overlooking Liege, Belgium. My ward was the first ward: A-1 surgical ward staffed by myself, another nurse and two corpsmen.

We had buzz bombs coming over night and day. On June 8, 1945, a buzz bomb hit the tent where the night shift of military police were preparing for bed. Twenty-five military police were killed. One was reported missing in action. After the war, we saw a map where it recorded 3000 buzz bombs hit the Liege area.

• I had worked my tour of night duty on a shock ward and was headed for my tent in the nurses quarters. I was met by a nurse who was crying, saying, “It’s awful,” as she explained what she had seen. She said. “don’t go there, get some sleep, they will need you tonight.” I took her advice. That night, we had several patients admitted to the shock ward who had survived the bomb attack.

After the war, my daughter, Kathy and I went to Liege, Belgium, looking for the plaque in memoriam to the twenty-five military police from the 76th General Hospital. We took the train from Paris, France to Liege. At an information counter at the train station, I explained what we wanted to see. As we stood there explaining, a man came up to me. He said, “Lady, because of you, we are free! Thank you,” when he turned and left.

A lady arose from a bench near us and offered to take us wherever we wanted to go. She first took us to her home and onto the Henry Chapelle Military Cemetery. It was there, we saw a log with the names of all who were buried there. We found the names of the 76th General Hospital military police who were killed on June 8, 1945. Most of the men had been repatriated to the USA by the next of kin.

I took care of casualties from three campaigns: African-Middle East, Rhineland and Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge.) We received three battles stars for the three campaigns and a medal of honor from the Belgium Government.

Other related service awards: In 2004, Paris, France, the French Government, awarded 100 American Veterans the French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration bestowed in France for the veterans service to the French people during WWII. We were guests of the French Government at the Normandy Beaches for WWII ceremonies. I was privileged to be among those receiving the French Legion of Honor. For the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we attended both ceremonies at Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, where I received a round encapsulated sand in glass memento from Utah Beach with engraving stating their thanks for our service during WWII. South Dakota honored us with the Honor Flight to Washington, DC and the viewing of the WWII Memorial. Due to the SD Honor Flight, I have been invited and have attended two honor luncheons in Rapid City. In 2014, Mayo Clinic staff invited me to speak at the Veteran’s Day Event held each November.

I am proud to be a member of Post #308, Eagle Butte, SD

It has been my great honor and privilege to serve as a nurse caring for in WWII veterans. Veterans are my heroes.