JULY 31, 1957


Born in Kenesha, Wisconsin, her name meant “Flying Eagle Woman.”  She worked with multiple organizations on behalf of indigenous culture, women’s rights, and Native-American issues, and chaired the NGO Committee on the United Nations International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.  As executive director, Fund for Four Directions, she worked to revitalize indigenous languages.  On February 25, 1999, while traveling with the U’was tribes-people to help set up a school, she and 2 other American activists were kidnapped & murdered by guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  In 2003, Nelson Vargas Rueda was extradited to the United States for prosecution in the case, but the case was dismissed when witnesses failed to appear.  The Menominee Nation honored her with a full warrior’s funeral.  She received a memorial in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New York City.  The song Nuevas Señoritas by the Indigo Girls is an elegy in honor of her and Marsha Gómez.

Source:  Ingrid Washinawatok el-Issa 1957-1999, The Art of Revolution.  Retrieved 6/4/2020, http://theartofrevolution.org/ingrid-washinawatok
Photo:  Michael Collopy, 1999.  Courtesy of Michael Collopy.