Every year we name our straps after women we admire. In 2016, we wanted to honor the lesser sung female heros throughout the world and coincidentally entered our unlearning of American history.
Lozen lived a remarkable life and I never heard of her. She was was an active protector of Indigenous rights at a time the US and Mexican governments were forcefully displacing her people out of their homes. She was a prophet and skilled warrior of the Chihenne Chiricahua Apache. Her life also led her to ride alongside other First Nation legends like Geronimo.
Legends That Move Us
Despite our research online it’s been difficult to discern fact from fiction and we wish we could learn so much more about her legendary life.
Here are some phenomenal stories about her that left us with goosebumps:
Why this gives us goosebumps: History has a way of repeating itself and as we know there have been various iterations of inhumane treatment in the America. The nickname alone echos memories of Manzanar and what we currently hold as detention centers.
3. after losing over half of her family to multiple US raids and skirmishes Lozen joined forces with Geronimo and other Apache leaders
Why this gives us goosebumps: This strong courageous woman overcame obstacles throughout her life and as life got harder she fought harder.
4. in 1885, Geronimo, Lozen, and several other Apache leaders surrendered after hearing survivors of their tribes were imprisoned
Why this gives us goosebumps: After decades of fighting and witnessing the brutal decline of their community. The remaining warriors decided to surrender in hopes of reuniting with those who were left. They chose to do this. Our hypothesis is that perhaps they hoped the incarcerated were in good enough health to escape as a community.
5. Lozen died of TB in Alabama as a POW
Why this gives us goosebumps: We are all still very aware of the horrible conditions the US military provides for declared enemies of the state. We, as Americans, have a long history with detention centers, internment camps, and continued oppression of marginalized communities. Lozen was the ultimate feminist, a mother, a sister, an intellectual and warrior who fought for her nation. She died imprisoned where conditions were clearly so negligent she (and presumably her community) couldn’t live their last days in good health.
6. Lozen’s real name is no longer known. It is to our understanding that many Apache warriors would go by nicknames with the belief that their real name holds spiritual power. Lozen was a nickname for someone good at stealing horses.
why this gives us goosebumps: while we initially wished we knew her real name we’re now delighted by the idea. She was a woman of faith and frequently compared to the European warrior Joan of Arc. Her prayers and connection to God led her into victories for her peoples. The idea that she kept her spiritual power even while imprisoned is literally the ultimate power move.
Why We Honor Her
Women have been doing remarkable things throughout history and few have been celebrated to the extent we wish they were.
The unlearning of our personal relationship with American History has led us to realize how integrated our preconditioned gender bias seeps into our daily life.
It’s a form of accumulative oppression that carries into our work interviews, our relationships (both home and professional), and more importantly our acceptance of ourselves.
We hope that by providing more opportunities to honor the strong women before us, there will be space for the next generation to find their own truths sooner than we did.
** notes** This op-ed was written with the active intent to be inclusive and anti-racist. We are committed to learning and welcome any input regarding our approach or terminology in this article. Please send any constructive notes directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.