Where do Indigenous women fit into the early history of nursing? How did their work intertwine with their personal, professional, and political lives?
My new piece, “Nursing for Generations: Kiowa Peoplehood in the Work of Laura Pedrick” is a short exploration into these questions through a study of one Kiowa woman, Laura Pedrick (T’oyhawlma). It’s the first piece of public writing that comes from my dissertation research, so I’m so excited to finally have it up.
Over the course of her rich life, T’oyhawlma saw the confinement of her people to a reservation, attended boarding school hundreds of miles from her home, served as a government field matron, became a leader in Kiowa arts, and survived two husbands and two of her four children. There is much to be learned from her about Indigenous progressivism and activism, Native women’s labor, and about resilience – the resilience of women, and the resilience of Kiowa people.
I can’t address all of that in a short post, or even in the dissertation chapter I hope to eventually write about Pedrick. In accordance with my broader research on healing in modern Kiowa history, this post examines her as a nurse, untrained but savvy and dedicated above all to the survival of her people.
If you want to learn more about Laura Pedrick, I highly suggest you read Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote’s book, Crafting an Indigenous Nation: Kiowa Expressive Culture in the Progressive Era, which examines Pedrick’s labor and legacy as a beadworker and activist in Kiowa arts.