First Native American Female Physician 1889 1 of 5

Susan La Flesche, sister, & friends
(Left to right) Nettie Fremont (?), Mary Tyndall, Susan La Flesche, & Susan’s sister Marguerite, 1880.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG2026-67


Susan La Flesche Picotte was born on the Omaha reservation in northeastern Nebraska on June 17, 1865. She became the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree.

Susan’s father, Joseph La Flesche, also known as Iron Eye, was the last recognized chief of the Omaha. He had a big impact on Susan’s life. He encouraged his people, especially his children, to seek education. Susan and the other La Flesche children all were leaders who continued their father’s legacy of helping the Omaha make the painful transition to white society while still holding onto their own culture.


Joseph La Flesche
Susan’s father, Joseph La Flesche.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG2026-1b
Mary La Flesche
Susan’s mother, Mary La Flesche, was also known as One Woman.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG2026-2

Susan was also the younger sister of Susette "Bright Eyes" La Flesche Tibbles, Standing Bear’s interpreter during his trial in 1879.

This module was funded in part by the Cooper Foundation,
Abel Foundation, and the Nebraska Humanities Council.

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J. Sterling Morton
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1875-1899
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1900-1924
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