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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Susan la Flesche Piccotte

b. 1865, Omaha Reservation, Nebraska; d. 1915, Nebraska

The correct spelling of this name is SUSAN LA FLESCHE PICOTTE.

Born to Chief Joseph La Flesche (Iron Eye) and his wife, Mary (One Woman), on the Omaha Reservation in northeastern Nebraska, Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American woman to become a physician in the United States. Because her father encouraged the Omaha people to seek education, La Flesche attended public school in Nebraska until she was fourteen and then was sent to the Elizabeth Institute for Young Ladies in New Jersey. She returned home at seventeen to teach at the Quaker Mission School on the Omaha Reservation for two years, after which she returned east to study at the Hampton Institute in Virginia and then at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP). Graduating in 1889 at the top of her class, La Flesche went home again in 1890 to provide health care to the Omaha people at the government boarding school. After marrying Henry Picotte in 1894, raising two sons, and establishing a private practice, she led a delegation to Washington, D.C., to lobby for prohibition of alcohol on the reservation in 1903, and opened a hospital in the reservation town of Walthill, Nebraska, in 1913.