Gertrude Evaline “Zitkála-Šá” <I>Simmons</I> Bonnin

Gertrude Evaline “Zitkála-Šá” Simmons Bonnin

Greenwood, Charles Mix County, South Dakota, USA
Death 28 Jan 1938 (aged 61)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Sec: 2, Site: 4703
Memorial ID 49125460 View Source
Suggest Edits

She was born 22 February 1876 on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. Tribal name: Zitkala-Sa ("Red Bird").

Her father was a white man named Felker, about whom little is known. Her mother was Ellen Tate Iyohinwin (She Reaches for the Wind) Simmons, a full-blooded Sioux. Bonnin was Simmons' third child
A rarely spoken about but incredibly important writer and translator is Zitkála-Šá, otherwise known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin. Being a writer of Yankton Dakota Sioux origin, much of her work dealt with cultural identity, specifically the difference between the mainstream world in which she found herself and her culture which was being constantly stripped away.

Aside writing about her identity, Zitkála-Šá wrote The Sun Dance Opera, the first opera by a Native American and featuring members of the Ute Nation. She passed away at the age of 61 in 1938. Her work has been reissued by the University of Nebraska.

The Bonnins had one son named Ohiya (Winner).

Family Members


See more Bonnin or Simmons memorials in: