Biographical / Historical
A member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Beatrice "Bea" Medicine—also known by her Lakota name Hinsha Waste Agli Win, or "Returns Victorious with a Red Horse Woman"—was born on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Wakpala, South Dakota on August 1, 1923.
As a young adult, she studied at the South Dakota State University on the Laverne Noyes Scholarship, where she attained her B.A. in Anthropology in 1945. Between 1945 and 1951, Medicine worked a variety of teaching positions, including for three American Indian institutions (see Chronology for Medicine's complete work history). In 1951, Medicine went back to school and worked as a research assistant until she earned her master's degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Michigan State University in 1954. For the remainder of her life, Medicine served as faculty, visiting professor, and scholar-in-residence at thirty-one universities and colleges in the United States and Canada, teaching cultural and educational anthropology courses, as well as Native American Studies. As an educator, Medicine carried out her research on a variety of issues affecting Native American and First Nation communities, including: 1) mental health issues, 2) women's issues—professionalization, sterilization, socialization, and aging, 3) bilingual education, 4) alcohol and drug use and abuse, 5) ethno-methodologies and research needs, and 6) socialization of children and identity needs. Medicine's research in American Indian women's and children's issues, as well as her research in gender identity among the LGBT community was among the first to document the narratives of the members of these groups.
In 1974, Medicine testified alongside her cousin, Vine Deloria, Jr., as an expert witness in the Wounded Knee trial (United States v. Banks and Means). Following this, Medicine returned to school to pursue her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, which she completed in 1983 at the University of Wisconsin. With her experience as a researcher, educator, activist, and Lakota woman, medicine sought to create more opportunities for multicultural and bilingual education for minority students, especially those of Native American descent. Such education, she believed, provided students a means to preserve and legitimize their own cultural identity, debase negative stereotyes, and be recognized as individuals who are capable of academic and economic achievement.
Medicine was an active member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and pursued her educational agenda further through the establishment of the Committee of Anthropologists in Primarily Minority Institutions (CAPMI) (1987-1995), which brought anthropologists out of retirement to teach at minority institutions. (See Chronology for a complete list of organizations and committees in which Medicine was involved.) The program was short-lived but provided a space for minority students to confront a field that historically misrepresented them, reclaim their narratives and languages, and instigate positive change as potential future anthropologists.
Medicine officially retired on August 1, 1989, but continued to be active in AAA and was honored many times for her contributions to the field of anthropology. Some of her recognitions include the Distinguished Service Award from AAA (1991) and the Bronislaw Malinowski Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology (1996). One of Medicine's highest honors, however, was serving as the Sacred Pipe Woman at the 1977 Sun Dance. Medicine continued her research into retirement, and went on to publish her first book in 2001, Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining "Native": Selected Writings. Medicine died in Bismarck, North Dakota on December 19, 2005. Medicine's final work, Drinking and Sobriety Among the Lakota Sioux was published posthumously in 2006. In honor of her life's work and dedication to education, the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) created the Bea Medicine Award, a scholarship travel grant for students to attend the Annual Meeting of the SfAA.
Chronology: Beatrice Medicine
1923 August 1
Beatrice Medicine (also known by her Lakota name, Hinsha Waste Agli Win, or "Returns Victorious with a Red Horse Woman") is born on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Wakpala, South Dakota.
Receives scholarship: Laverne Noyes Scholarship, South Dakota State University
Receives Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, South Dakota State University.
Teacher, Home Economics, Haskell Indian Institute (B.I.A.)
Health Education Lecturer, Michigan Tuberculosis Association
Teacher, Santo Domingo Pueblo, United Pueblos Agency, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Teacher, Navajo Adult Beginner's Program, Albuquerque Indian School
Teacher, Home Economics, Flandreau Indian School
Fellowship: Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs Fellowships
Research Assistant, Sociology and Anthropology, Michigan State University
Fellowship: John Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship
Receives Master of Arts, Sociology and Anthropology, Michigan State University.
Fellowship: American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship
Charter Member, American Indian Women's Service League
Teaching and Research Assistant, University of Washington
Honor: Outstanding Alumna, South Dakota State University
Mentioned as "Who's Who Among American Indians"
Alpha Kappa Delta, Sociology Hononary
Phi Upsilon Omicron, Home Economic Honorary
Lecturer, Anthropology, University of British Columbia
Board of Directors, Native Urban Indian Centers in Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta
Lecturer/Sociology and Teacher/Counselor, Mount Royal College, Indian Affairs Branch
Receives grant: American Council of Learned Societies Research Grant
Lecturer, Social Science, Michigan State University
Psychiatric Social Worker, Provincial Guidance Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Receives grant: Career Development Grant, National Institute of Mental Health
Member, National Congress of American Indians (Education Issues)
Receives grant: Ethnological Research Grant, National Museum of Canada
Lecturer, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Montana
Teacher, "Cultural Enrichment Program," Standing Rock Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Cited in "The Role of Racial Minorities in the United States," Seattle, Washington
Speaker: "The Pow-Wow as a Social Factor in the Northern Plains Ceremonialism," Montana Academy of Sciences
Speaker: "Patterns and Periphery of Plains Indian Pow-Wows," Central States Anthropological Society
Speaker: "Magic Among the Stoney Indians," Canadian Sociology and Anthropological Association, Calgary, Alberta
Speaker: "Magic Among the Stoney Indians," International Congress of Americanists, Stuttgart, German
Speaker: "The Dynamics of a Dakota Indian Giveaway," International Congress of Americanists, Stuttgart, German
Director, American Indian Research, Oral History Project and Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of South Dakota
Consultant, Text Book Evaluation Committee, American Indians United
Assistant Professor, Teacher Corps, University of Nebraska
Speaker: "The Red Man Yesterday," Governor's Interstate Indian Council, Wichita, Kansas
Speaker: "The Native American in Modern Society," Northwestern State College
Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University
Speaker: "The Indian in Institutions of Higher Learning," Annual Conference, National Indian Education Association
Member, Editorial Board, American Indian Historical Society
Mentioned for second time as "Who's Who Among American Indians"
Steering Committee Member, Indian Ecumenical Convocation of North America
Member, Planning Committee Indian Alcoholism and Drug Use
Speaker: "The Role of the White Indian Expert," 2nd Annual Conference, National Indian Education Association
Speaker: "The Ethnographic Study of Indian Women," Annual Convention, American Ethnohistorical Soceity
Speaker: "The Anthropologists as the Indian's Image Maker," Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association
Speaker: "The Anthropologist and Ethnic Studies Programs," Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association
Associate Professor, Anthropology, San Francisco State University
Member, Mayor's Committee on the Status of Women, San Francisco, California
Member, Native American Scholars Board, Steering and Selection, American Indian Historical Society
Speaker: "Ethnic Studies and Native Americans," National Education Association
Pre-Doctoral Lecturer, Anthropology, University of Washington
Consultant, American Indian Heritage Program
Honored in "Potlatch" ceremony by Makah Tribal people at the National Indian Education Conference for contributions to Indian education
Receives grant: American Council of Learned Societies Travel Grant, Americanist Annual Meeting, Rome, Italy
Curriculum Advisor, Lakota Higher Education Center, Prine Ridge, South Dakota
Speaker: "Warrior Women Societies," Northwest Anthropological Conference
Chairperson and Speaker: "Racism and Ethnic Relations," Society for Applied Anthropology
Chairperson, Native American Studies Symposium, International Congress of Americanists, Mexico
Speaker: "Warrior Women of the Plains," International Congress of Americanists, Rome, Italy
Speaker: "Native Americans in the Modern World," Southwest Minnesota State College
Expert Witness, Yvonne Wanro Trial, Spokane, Washington
Member, Organization of American States, First Congress of Indigenous Women, Chiapas, Mexico
Speaker: "Self-Direction in Sioux Education," American Anthropological Association
Speaker: "North American Native Women: The Aspirations and Their Associations," presented as a Delegate to the Inter-American Commission on Indigenous Women, Chiapas, Mexico
Visiting Professor, Anthropology, Native American Studies Program, Dartmouth College
Member, Committee on Minorities in Anthropology, American Anthropological Association
Consultant, Human Services Department, Sinte Gleska Community College
Expert Witness, Wounded Knee Trial, Lincoln, Nebraska
Speaker: "Indian Women's Roles: Traditional and Contemporary," Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association
Visiting Professor, Anthropology, Colorado College
Visiting Associate Professor, Anthropology, Stanford University
Member, Steering Committee, Council of Anthropology and Education, American Anthropological Association
Visiting Professor, Educational Anthropology, University of New Brunswick
Expert Witness, Topsky Eagle Feathers Trial, Pocatello, Idaho
Panelist, White House Conference on Ethnic Studies, Washington, D.C.
Expert Witness, Greybull Grandchildren Custody Case, Portland, Oregon
American Indian representative to the World Conference on Indigenous People, Geneva, Switzerland
Honor: Outstanding Alumna, South Dakota State University
1977 August 18
Medicine serves as Sacred Pipe Woman at the Sun Dance, Green Grass, South Dakota
Education Consultant, National Congress of American Indians, Washington, D.C.
Cited in the Directory of Significant 20th Century American Minority Women, Gaylord Professional Publications
Biographical Sketch in "Moving Forward" of the Bookmark Reading Program, Third Edition
Speaker: "Issues in the Professionalization of Native American Women," Annual Meeting, American Psychological Association
Advanced Opportunity Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Visiting Professor, Department of Education Policy Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters, Northern Michigan University
Speaker: "The Dakota Indian Memorial Feast: Reservation and Urban Manifestations," International Congress of Americanists, Lima, Peru
Member, Nominations Committee, American Anthropological Association
Biographical Sketch in "Native American Indian Personalities, Historical and Contemporary," Dansville, New York: The Instructor Publications, Inc.
Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Washington-Seattle
Speaker: "Linguistically Marginated: The Transformation of Dominated Speech Varieties," American Anthropological Association
School of Social and Behavioral Science Academic Planning, California State University
Speaker: "Policy Decisions: Federal Regulations and American Indian Identity Issues," Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association
Anthropology Department Curriculum Committee, California State University
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Program in American Indian Studies, California State University
Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Program in American Studies Program, California State University
President, Assembly of California Indian Women
Receives Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, University of Wisconsin
Expert Witness, Fortunate Eagle Trial, Reno, Nevada
Award: Outstanding Woman of Color, National Institute of Women of Color, Washingtonton, D.C. (for anthropological contributions)
Award: Outstanding Minority Researcher, American Educational Research Association
Publishes book with Patricia Albers: The Hidden Half: Indian Women of the Northern Plains
Honor: Significant Academic Book (The Hidden Half), Choice, Association of Colleges and Research Libraries, American Library Association
Student Affirmative Action Coordinating Council, California State University
Member, Executive Board, Southwest Anthropological Association
Member, Governing Board, Common Cause
Member, Advisory Board of National Research for Handicapped Native Americans, North Arizona University
Scholarly Publications Award Selection Committee, California State University
Award: Faculty Award for Meritorious Service, California State University
Speaker: Field Work Methods: "Ties That Bond," Committee on the Status of Women in Anthropology," Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association
Speaker: "Career Patterns of American Indian Women," Council of Education and Anthropology, Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association
Faculty Award for Meritorious Service, California State University
Participant, Chancellor's Office Grant to "Cross-Cultural Perspectives in the Social Sciences," California State University
Speaker: Conference on "The Native American: His Arts, His Culture, and His History," West Virginia State College
Board of Directors, Naechi Institute on Alcohol and Drug Education
Professor, Department of Anthropology and Director, Native Centre, University of Calgary
Member, Malinowski Awards Committee, Society for Applied Anthropology
Honor: Outstanding Minority Professorship Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks Visiting Professor, University of Michigan
Member, Committee of Anthropologists in Primarily Minority Institutions, American Anthropological Association
1988 August 1
Medicine officially retires.
Volunteer (Committee of Anthropologists in Primarily Minority Institutions, American Anthropological Association), Standing Rock College
Honor (twice): Outstanding Minority Professorship Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks Visiting Professor, Wayne State University.
Honor: "Outstanding Contributions for the promotion of sex equity in Education," Illinois State Board of Education
Honor: Outstanding Lakota Woman, Standing Rock College
Honor: Distinguished Service Award, American Anthropological Association. Medicine was the first American Indian to receive this award.
Visiting Professor, Saskatchewan Indian Federal College
Visiting Professor, Colorado College
Visiting Professor, Anthropology, Humboldt State University
Visiting Distinguished Professor, Women's Studies, University of Toronto
Visiting Professor, Rural Sociology, South Dakota State University
Award: Distinguished Native American Alumna Award, South Dakota State University
Research Co-ordinator, Women's Perspectives, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta
Scholar in Residence, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul
Visiting Scholar, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia
Award: Ohana Award, Multi-Cultural Counseling Excellence, American Association of Counselors
Award: Bronislaw Malinowski Award, Society for Applied Anthropology.
Buckman Professor, Department of Human Ecology, University of Minnesota
Associate Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, California State University
Publishes book: Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining "Native": Selected Writings.
Award: George and Louise Spindler Award, Council on Anthropology and Education, American Anthropological Association.
2005 December 19
Medicine dies during emergency surgery in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Book: Drinking and Sobriety Among the Lakota Sioux is published posthumously.
The Society for Applied Anthropology creates the Bea Medicine Award.