Native American Archives - StoryCorps
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This Couple is Fighting for Equality and Safety For Two Spirit People On Tribal Land

Felipa DeLeon Mousseau Grew up in Manderson on the Pine Ridge Reservation. When she was young she knew a few gay people, including her cousin, and while they were accepted in the community they were not always respected.

Felipa Deleon Mousseau and Monique “Muffie” Mousseau in 2022 at a Two Spirit gathering at Flat Head Lake, Montana. Courtesy of the participants.

When she was in her 30’s Felipa went for out for a night with coworkers to a dimly lit, crowded bar in Rapid City, South Dakota. This is where she first saw Monique “Muffie” Mousseau. Muffie had also grown up on the reservation, but 16 miles from Felipa in a small town called Porcupine.

The hands of Felipa Deleon Mousseau and Monique “Muffie” Mousseau at their StoryCorps interview in Rapid City, South Dakota on January 31, 2023. By Savannah Winchester for StoryCorps.

A fast and intense love sprung up between them. And it took them on a journey that neither of them could have anticipated. They came to StoryCorps to talk about that night and what came next.

 

Top Photo: Felipa Deleon Mousseau and Monique “Muffie” Mousseau at their StoryCorps interview in Rapid City, South Dakota on January 31, 2023. By Savannah Winchester for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This recording was made possible by a partnership with Uniting Resilience.

Originally aired May 5, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Mother And Son Remember “Grandma Chief”

In 1985, Wilma Mankiller made history when she became the first woman to lead the Cherokee Nation, one of the largest Native American tribes in the United States.

She would lead for ten years, receiving numerous awards for her achievements, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. In fact, in 2022 the U.S. Mint will feature Wilma Mankiller on a quarter.

During her tenure, enrollment to become a citizen of the Cherokee Tribe more than doubled, and she pushed to revitalize the tribe’s health care system.

She also helped broker a self-governance agreement in the 1990s, paving the way towards tribal sovereignty.

But at first, the transition into power wasn’t made easy for her. Her daughter and grandson, Gina Olaya and Kellen Quinton, came to StoryCorps to talk about how they remember her, and the challenges she faced when she first became Chief.

Gina Olaya and Kellen Quinton at their StoryCorps interview in Oklahoma City on September 27, 2021. By Castle Row Studios for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Wilma Mankiller in June of 1992. Credit: Getty Images

Originally aired October 8, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.