This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Regina Brave remembers the moment the first viral picture of her was taken. It was 1973, and 32-year-old Brave had taken up arms in a standoff between federal marshals and militant indigenous activists in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Brave had been assigned to guard a bunker on the front lines and was holding a rifle when a reporter leaped from a car to snap her photo. She remembers thinking that an image of an armed woman would never make the papers — “It was a man’s world,” she says — but the bespectacled Brave, in a peacoat with hair pulled back, was on front pages across the country the following Sunday.
Brave had grown up on Pine Ridge, where the standoff emerged from a challenge to the tribal chair, whose alleged offenses included scheming to accept federal money for Paha Sapa, also known as the Black Hills. Brave’s great-grandfather Ohitika had helped negotiate the 1868 treaty preserving Lakota stewardship of the hills, but after white settlers found gold there, the lands were wrested away. Ohitika fought ... Read more