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Zitkala-Sa: Topics in Chronicling America

Zitkala-Sa was an indigenous musician, writer, and political activist. This guide provides access to material related to "Zitaka-Sa" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Mrs. Gertrude Bonnin, Carlisle graduate, relative of Sitting Bull, describes effects of mind-poisin. February 17, 1918. The Washington Times (Washington, DC), Image 9. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Zitkala-Sa (1876-1938), also known as Gertrude Bonnin, was a descendant of Sitting Bull. She became a musician, teacher, author, lecturer, and political activist for both women's rights and the rights of indigenous people.

Zitkala-Sa sought to protect the indigenous culture and actively worked with Congress to make changes for the betterment of indigenous people. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


April 1, 1900 Zitkala-Sa plays the violin in the Carlisle Indian Band. She is featured in a short article in the New York Tribune before the band travels to play at the Paris Exposition.
1913 Zitkala-Sa writes and performs the Sun Dance opera, based on the Sioux life.
February 1918 Zitkala-Sa goes to Washington to advocate against the growing use of the peyote drug by indigenous people.
March 1926 Representatives from nine tribes meet in Washington D.C. to form the National Council of American Indians. Zitkala-Sa is chosen as first president until the first convention is held.
June 1928 Zitkala-Sa travels to South Dakota to speak on the "Indian's eleventh hour."
January 26, 1938 At age 62, Zitkala-Sa dies at Georgetown Hospital.