Ensuring Sarah Winnemucca has her day in Carson City | FirstNationsFocus.com

Ensuring Sarah Winnemucca has her day in Carson City

Geoff Dornan
Dianna Maria de Borges at the Sarah Winnemucca statue in the Nevada Capitol.
Geoff Dornan/Nevada Appeal

In Nevada, Oct. 16 is Sarah Winnemucca Day, as declared by former Gov. Brian Sandoval on what is believed to be her birth date.

To honor her on Wednesday, Dianna Maria de Borges, a longtime Carson Valley resident who for years has portrayed the Paiute princess in regional Chautauqua assemblies and other events, placed flowers at the feet of her statue in the Nevada Capitol.

Winnemucca, who is believed to have been born in 1844 in western Nevada, is the granddaughter of Chief Truckee.

She was the first Native American to write a book in English and ultimately secure a copyright. Her book, “Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims,” still provides historians with a first-hand account of the tribe’s encounters with increasing white population.

“The reason she wrote the book was to show we are not different,” de Borges said.

As an educator and defender of Native Americans, Winnemucca traveled widely across the U.S. and Canada, speaking at hundreds of gatherings to humanize Native Americans. She even addressed the Nevada Legislature.

“She knew she couldn’t change the government but she could change the minds of the people,” she said.

She continued speaking and defending the rights of Native Americans until her death in 1891.

“Sarah should have her day,” she said.


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