Over Ada Deer’s life, she has been a social worker, activist, professor, lobbyist, and author. She joins host Chali Pittman in studio to talk about her life, work, and American Indian history.
Ada Deer grew up on the Menominee Reservation, and she graduated from UW–Madison with a degree in social work. She later taught courses that fused Indian history and social work.
Ada served as Assistant Secretary of U.S. Department of the Interior as the head of the bureau of Indian affairs. She was the first woman to fill this position. She was the first Native American woman to run for Congress in 1992, to represent Wisconsin’s second district. She also ran for Wisconsin Secretary of State.
She has advocated for the rights to self determination and sovereignty for Indians for her entire life. She’s an important person in Menominee, Wisconsin, and national history.
Ada’s new memoir is Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019).