Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail (1903-1981)

First Native American Registered Nurse; Elected to Nursing Hall of Fame


Last updated 11/14/2015 at 5:04pm

K.B. Schaller

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail was appointed to President Richard Nixon's Council on Indian Health, Education and Welfare and the Federal Indian Health Advisory Committee. She founded the first professional association for Native American nurses. Throughout her life, Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail maintained her Crow identity and heritage and was a talented craftsperson who created exquisite traditional Crow beadwork that she presented to family and friends.

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail was born on the Crow Indian Reservation near Pryor, Montana to Walking Bear (Crow Tribe) and Jane White Horse (Sioux). When she graduated from Boston City Hospital School of Nursing (1923), Susie Walking Bear became the first American Indian graduate registered nurse.

Walking Bear returned to serve on the Crow Reservation and married Tom Yellowtail, a Crow religious leader (1929). She was appointed to Indian Health Services and worked in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Hospital. Under the auspices of the U.S. Public Health Service (1930-1960), Yellowta...

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