OGALALA CECELIA FIRE THUNDER BORN-1ST OGALALA WOMAN TRIBAL PRESIDENT
Born on the Pine Ridge Reserve (PRR), Cecilia grew up in Los Angeles, California. As a nurse, Fire Thunder started community-based health clinics in Los Angeles & San Diego. In 1986, Cecilia returned to PRR. Given the name “Good Hearted Woman,” in 2004, she was elected to a 2-year term as the 1st female president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the PRR. In 2005, she was impeached for allegedly using tribal land as collateral for a loan from another tribe to help pay off short-term tribal debt. She prevailed, but in 2006, she announced plans to have a Planned Parenthood clinic on her own land within the reservation and was again impeached. This time, her legal challenges & reelection effort both failed. She helped found the Oglala Lakota Women’s Society, serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), and chairs the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains. A Lakota speaker, she has been active in efforts to recover and revive use of the Lakota language.
Sources: David Melmer, “Cecelia Fire Thunder A year of confusion draws to an end for former Oglala Sioux leader,” Indian Country Today, 12/27/2006, updated 9/12/2018. Retrieved 4/18/2022, Cecelia Fire Thunder A year of confusion draws to an end for former Oglala Sioux leader - Indian Country Today Screen Capture: “Cecilia Fire Thunder,” C-Span, 2/11/2004. Public Domain. Retrieved 4/18/2022, Cecilia Fire Thunder | C-SPAN.org