NOVEMBER 21, 2021


Born October 12, 1919, in Promise, South Dakota (SD), on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation (CRIR), her name meant “Pretty Rainbow Woman.” Enlisting in the Army Nurse Corps in 1943, LeBeau served in Europe with the 76th General Hospital Unit, including at the Battle of the Bulge. Leaving the Army as a First Lieutenant, she worked 31 years for the Indian Health Service (IHS) on the CRIR, retiring as director of nursing. On the CRIR Tribal Council (1991-95), she helped make CRIR SD’s 1st smoke-free community.  Awards/Honors: Rear Admiral O. Marie Henry & Mable May Wagner Awards, U.S. Public Health Service; French Legion of Honor (2004); SD (2006) & National Native American (2021) Halls of Fame; Women in History Award, DAR (2016); and Leadership Award, National Congress of American Indians (2020). Featured in Angels in Our Midst, about American nurses on D-Day & in the European Theater (2019), she was named one of the century’s most influential women [USA Today (2020)]. She died on the CRIR. 

  Tanya Manus, “Native American advocate, WW II veteran Marcella LeBeau dies at 102,” Rapid City Journal, 11/22/2021.  Retrieved 9/27/2022, Native American advocate, WW II veteran Marcella LeBeau dies at 102 (
Richard Two Bulls, “Renowned Native American WWII veteran Marcella LeBeau dies,” South Dakota Public Broadcasting, 11/22/2021.  Retrieved 9/28/2022, Renowned Native American WWII veteran Marcella LeBeau dies | SDPB
Photo:  U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (1960-   ), 6/25/2019. Marcella LeBeau, who received the Legion of Honor for her service in WWII, at Rep. Haaland’s office [Cropped].  Public Domain.

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