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Born on January 22, 1939, into the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, Dora Steel Schexnider Young was the first woman to be elected chief of that nation. After serving on the tribal business committee in the early 1970s, she stood for election as chief and won the post by a slim, sixty-seven-vote margin on August 25, 1973. After serving a two-year term, she lost a reelection bid in 1975. Nevertheless, her selection stands as arguably the first instance Oklahoma’s Indian history in which a woman was chosen by her people to lead their tribal government. During her administration she presided over various projects promoting tribal economic development, water supply projects, and the planning for a new tribal complex and museum. She also promoted the creation of language retention with the research and publication of a textbook for that purpose. Young was elected secretary-treasurer in 1976, keeping the office into 1980. Reelected in 1995, she experienced a brief, tumultuous term and did not continue her political career. At the end of the twentieth century she resided in Seminole, Oklahoma.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Oklahoman, 9 March 1997 and 30 December 2006. Michael D. Green, “‘We Dance in Opposite Directions’: Mesquakie (Fox) Separatism from the Sac and Fox Tribe,” Ethnohistory 30 (No. 3, 1983).

Dianna Everett

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