Born on Feb. 22, 1876, Zitkala-Sa resisted assimilation into European American culture through writing and political activism. To preserve her people’s traditional stories, she published the anthology Old Indian Legends in 1901, and wrote the first Native American opera, The Sun Dance, in 1913.
She also co-founded the National Council of American Indians in 1926, to get tribes across the US full citizenship rights, and served as its first president until her death. She was instrumental in the passage of the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act and the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which increased Native American self-governance.
After her death on Jan. 26, 1938, she was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.