MAY 28, 1946

LYDA CONLEY–1ST NATIVE AMERICAN WOMAN TO PLEAD BEFORE U.S. SUPREME COURT–DIED

Born in 1869, in Wyandot Co., Ohio, Lyda went to Kansas City School of Law in 1902 and was the first woman admitted to the Kansas bar.  In 1855, some Wyandots accepted U.S. citizenship; others later became the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, but kept control of the Huron (Wyandot) Cemetery in Kansas City, Kansas, and, in 1906, approved its sale.  As the cemetery held her ancestors, Lyda and her sisters fought the sale, building a shack, living on the grounds, and guarding it with muskets.  In 1907, Lyda filed in Federal court to enjoin the sale.  The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she became the first female Native American to argue before the Court.  She lost, but grassroots efforts succeeded.  In 1916, Congress made the land a national park.  Lyda was finally buried in the cemetery she fought to save.  In 1998, the Wyandots of Kansas and Wyandottes of Oklahoma agreed to use the cemetery only for religious and cultural purposes.  The cemetery is now a National Historic Landmark

Sources:  First in their Field: Lyda Conley,” Women's Museum of California.  Retrieved 7/1/2019, https://womensmuseum.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/first-in-their-field-lyda-conley/ Kim Dayton, "Trespassers, Beware!: Lyda Burton Conley and the Battle for Huron Place Cemetery," Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (1995).  Retrieved 7/1/2019, https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1110&context=yjlf
Photo:  Author and date unknown, but likely pre-1900.  Most likely Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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