Susette La Flesche
1854 - May 26, 1903

Suzette, also know as Inshta Theumba, or “Bright Eyes,” La Flesche was born on the Omaha Indian Reservation just south of present-day Omaha, Nebraska. Suzette's father was a chief of the Omahas and lived as an Indian, but he believed that the Omaha people should try to fit into the white culture. He sent Suzette to the reservation's missionary school so she could learn to speak English and read and write. Suzette was sent to Elizabeth, New Jersey, to continue her education and became known for her writing ability. After college she returned to the Omaha Reservation to teach at a government school.

In 1887, Suzette and her father paid a visit to the Ponca tribe in Indian Territory, which is now known as Oklahoma. The Poncas, who were closely related to the Omahas, had been forcibly removed from their homeland in Nebraska. Suzette and her father saw that the Ponca people were suffering from sickness and starvation. Suzette vowed that she would help the Ponca Indians by making sure people heard what the government had done to the Ponca's. Suzette and a newspaper reporter named Thomas Tibbles helped a group of Poncas who had been arrested for trying to return to their original homeland of Nebraska. The courts decided that the government had been unfair to the Ponca tribe and ruled in their favor.

Thomas and Suzette married in 1881 and spent most of their lives traveling across America and in Great Britain, lecturing and writing about the plight of Native Americans. Suzette "Bright Eyes" La Flesche's efforts helped improve conditions for Native Americans.

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