Tibbles, Susette La Flesche

Tibbles, Susette La Flesche (b. Inshtatheumba, “Bright Eyes”)

(1854–1903) Omaha reformer, author, illustrator; born in present-day Nebraska (sister of Susan La Flesche Picotte). Both grandfathers were Caucasians, both grandmothers were Native Americans; her father was an Omaha chief, her mother was more involved with the world of whites. After studying at a girls school in Elizabeth, N.J., Susette returned to the reservation and became a teacher in a government school. In an infamous affair in its day, the Ponca Indians were forcibly removed from their lands in 1877; in the national protest that followed, Susette La Flesche traveled to the East as translator for the Ponca chief, Standing Bear, on a lecture tour organized by an Omaha newspaperman, Thomas Tibbles. (She coauthored, with Standing Bear, Ploughed Under: The Story of an Indian Chief, 1882.) She and Tibbles were married in 1881 and their crusade led to the passage of the Dawes Act of 1887. The Tibbles also traveled to England to present the case for Native Americans' claims to their land. Thereafter she lectured occasionally, wrote various articles, and gained a minor reputation as an artist-illustrator. She and her husband lived most of their years in Nebraska where she died on her native land.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.