Madonna Thunderhawk

Lakota People’s Law Project

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH Madonna Thunderhawk

Born on the Yankton Sioux Reservation, Madonna belongs to the Oohenumpa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She was an early adopter of the Red Power Movement, taking part in the occupation of Alcatraz to persuade the government to adopt an official policy of self-determination.  In the early 1970’s she was a part of the occupation of mount Rushmore which had been seized by the government in 1877 and was director of the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Offense Committee.  Along with Lorelei De Cora and a handful of Native American women she founded the Women of All Red Nations who worked to address children and family rights, political prisoners, threats to indigenous lands and sterilization abuse.   As co-founder for the Black Hills Alliance, she was responsible for preventing the Union Carbide Corporation from mining uranium on sacred land and keeping developers from ruining their water supplies. Joining with the Romero Institute, they formed the Lakota People’s law project , encouraging reform of the Child Welfare Act enabling Lakota children to live with their families or on their ancestral homeland.  Her presence against the Dakota Access pipeline was inspiring and an encouragement to the dissenters.  Read more about Madonna Thunder Hawk in the article by Elizabeth Castle, The Original Gangster: The Life and Times of Red Power Activist Madonna Thunder Hawk here.