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Native Women’s Activism

Lessons for the Next Generation of Native Leaders and Activists

This course recounts the history of Native women's activism, examining ways that Native women changed the course of Indian country toward greater self-determination and female empowerment in Native communities. Based on the lessons gleaned from their histories, you will learn the qualities they exhibited that made a difference in their communities, and how they apply in today's contexts.

List of Course Objectives. You will be able to:

  • Recount the influence of Native women on the women’s movement in the U.S.
  • Explain the differences between Native feminism and mainstream feminism.
  • Identify 3 different eras of Native women’s feminist activism.
  • Name at least 9 important historical and 5 contemporary Native female leaders.
  • Explain the relationship between environmental activism and Native women’s activism.
  • Discuss the relationship between Native women’s health issues and activist organizing.
  • Name 6 qualities of Native leadership.
  • Identify 3 lessons from the past, and ways they apply to the present and future of Native women’s activism.


Your Instructor


Dina Gilio-Whitaker, M.A.
Dina Gilio-Whitaker, M.A.

I am the policy director and senior research associate at CWIS, and copy editor for our in-house publication, Fourth World Journal. I have been with this great organization for about 5 of its nearly 40 year history, having been hired when I was right out of grad school. I have a bachelors degree in Native am studies, and a masters degree in American studies, where I was able to expand on my undergrad work. Both of my degrees are from the University of new Mexico. I also teach in the American Indian studies program at Cal State San Marcos in southern California.

Since grad school I have also been working as a journalist, primarily at Indian Country Media Network, with my work appearing in numerous other publications, including Native People’s magazine, KCET Link TV and many more. I have published several academic articles, and last year my first book was released, co-authored with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, titled “All the Indians Died off" and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans , published by Beacon Press. I am currently under contract with Beacon for a second book, tentatively titled Defending Our Lands, Indigenous Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock.

I am a descendant of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington state. Having been born and raised in southern California, I consider myself an urban mixed blood Indian, but with ties to my home community on the Colville reservation.


Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!