Zitkala Sa


Zitkala-Sal was a famous Yankton Dakota educator, writer, editor, translator, musician, and political activist. She was born on February 22, 1876, at Yankton Indian Reservation, Dakota Territory. She died on January 26, 1938 when she was 61 years old in Washington, DC. Zitkala is buried with her husband Gertrude Simmons Bonnin in Arlington National Cemetery.

She is also known as the Gertrude Simmons Bonnin. She was well known as the Co-composed of the first American Indian opera, founded the National Council of American Indians, and authored books and magazine articles.

Zitkala started her early education in her hometown. She studied the violin at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (1897-1899). She played violin with the school’s Carlisle Indian Band at the Paris Exposition in 1900. She started writing articles when she was 24 years of age. Her articles like Atlantic Monthly and Herper’s Monthly on Native American Life were published in National Periodicals.

In 1901, Zitkala married to Carlos Montezuma, a doctor, and activist. Her marriage journey with Montezuma did not run longer and broke up in August of the same year. Then she married Raymond Talephause Bonnin, who was a culturally Yankton. After that Zitkala with her husband moved to Ute (an Indian Tribe) and lived with the Ute people for the next 14 years. Zitkala has only one child with the name of Raymond Ohiya Bonnin.

A park near Washington DC was renamed to her name in her honor in 2020. The University of Nebraska reissued her writings on Native American Culture in the 20th century.

Quick Facts about Zitkala Ša

Full NameZitkala-Ša (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin)
BirthdateFebruary 22, 1876
Place of BirthYankton Indian Reservation, South Dakota
EducationNew England Conservatory of Music, Earlham College
Literary Works‘American Indian Stories,’ ‘Old Indian Legends’
ActivismCo-founder of the National Council of American Indians
SpouseRaymond Talephause Bonnin
ContributionBridging Native American culture and mainstream society
LegacyInfluential Native American activist and writer
Death DateJanuary 26, 1938
Burial PlaceArlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
zitkala sa picture

Zitkala Sa Writings

TitlePublication YearPublisher
Old Indian Legends1985University of Nebraska Press
American Indian Stories1985University of Nebraska Press
“Why I Am a Pagan”1902Atlantic Monthly
Oklahoma’s Poor Rich Indians: An Orgy of Graft and Exploitation of the Five Civilized Tribes, Legalized Robbery1924Office of the Indian Rights Association
Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems, and The Sun Dance Opera2001University of Nebraska Press
Zitkála-Šá: Letters, Speeches, and Unpublished Writings, 1898–19292018Brill Press

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FAQs: Zitkala Sa Biography

What is the full name of Zitkala Sa?

Zitkála-Šá (also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin)

What is the Profession of Zitkala Sa?

Zitkála-Šá was a writer, musician, teacher, and activist.

What is the age of Zitkala Sa?

Zitkála-Šá was born on February 22, 1876, and passed away on January 26, 1938. At the time of her death, she was 61 years old.

What is the height of Zitkala Sa?

There is no widely reported information about Zitkála-Šá’s height.

What is the weight of Zitkala Sa?

There is no widely reported information about Zitkála-Šá’s weight.

Who is Zitkala Sa’s wife?

Zitkála-Šá was married to Raymond Bonnin.

Who is Zitkala Sa’s Parents?

Zitkála-Šá’s parents were Ellen Tate ‘Tokahe’ Iyohiwin Simmons and John Haynes Simmons.

Who is Zitkala Sa’s siblings?

Zitkála-Šá had a brother named Samuel M. Simmons.

What is the net worth of Zitkala Sa?

There is no widely reported information about Zitkála-Šá’s net worth.

What is the education of Zitkala Sa?

Zitkála-Šá attended White’s Manual Labor Institute and Earlham College. She later studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music.

What are the major awards Zitkala Sa received?

Zitkála-Šá was not widely recognized with major awards during her lifetime, but her contributions to literature, music, and Native American activism have been honored posthumously, and her works have received critical acclaim.

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