2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2017
Program to examine life of Susan LaFlesche, first Native physician

image of program invitation

Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte, a member of the Omaha Tribe and the first Native American physician, will be the subject of a program by Joe Starita, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor of Journalism, at  2 p.m. Sunday, April 23. Admission will be free; a reception will follow.

Starita is the author of “A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor” (St. Martin’s Press; 2016).

Born on June 17, 1865, on the Omaha Reservation in Northeast Nebraska, LaFlesche was the youngest of four daughters of Chief Joseph LaFlesche (“Iron Eyes”) and Mary Gale (“One Woman”).

She attended a reservation mission school, graduated from the Hampton Institute in Virginia (now Hampton University) and was valedictorian of her class at Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

After completing her internship, LaFlesche returned to the reservation where she treated 1,244 patients scattered across almost 1,350 square miles. Her patients suffered from poverty and a range of diseases, including tuberculosis, smallpox, measles and influenza. She practiced medicine until her death in 1915.    

Starita also is the author of “I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice” (St. Martin’s Griffin; 2010; and “The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge – A Lakota Odyssey” (Putnam; 1995) which has been translated into six languages and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Before joining the UNL Journalism faculty in 2000, Starita worked at the Miami Herald. He was New York bureau chief from 1983-1987.