Women’s History Month: Marcella Rose LeBeau

At 100 years old, Marcella Rose LeBeau receives a special recognition award from the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, DC (Photo/Levi Rickert)

During the month of March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, Native News Online will feature various Native American women who have contributed to the betterment of Indian Country.

Marcella LeBeau (October 12, 1919 – November 21, 2021)

Marcella Rose LeBeau, a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has lived a long life of service to others – in Indian Country and beyond – as a nurse, tribal councilor and advocate.

Born in Promise, South Dakota, her grandmother gave her a native name: Wigmunke ‘Waste Win’, meaning Pretty Rainbow Woman. She became a nurse in 1942 and a year later, LaBeau enlisted in the Army Nurse Corp and served as a combat nurse during World War II, where she served wounded soldiers of the “Greatest Generation” .

She provided medical care to wounded soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge in Normandy, France, on D-Day. For her heroic service, LeBeau was honored by the country of France with its highest honor, the Legion Medal of French honor.

After receiving a leadership award from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) during its winter session in Washington, D.C. in February 2020, LeBeau, 100, shared the moving story of treating a soldier , a citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. who lost both his legs during the war, then found them again about forty years later. He then told her that he had never forgotten the care she had given him and had helped him regain his will to live.

After World War II, LeBeau returned to the Cheyenne River Sioux and worked as a nurse and held other positions for the Indian Health Service.

She eventually entered tribal politics and served on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council from 1991 to 1995.

His advocacy led Lebeau, even at the age of 100, to work so that the medals of honor of the American Calvary soldiers who…

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