Zitkala-Ša (Dakota: pronounced zitkála-ša, which translates to "Red Bird") also known by the missionary-given name Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a Sioux writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist. She wrote several works chronicling her struggles in her youth as she was pulled back and forth between the influences of dominant American culture and her own Native American heritage, as well as books in English that brought traditional Native American stories to a widespread white readership for one of the first times. With William F. Hanson, Bonnin co-composed the first American Indian opera, The Sun Dance (composed in romantic style based on Ute and Sioux themes), which premiered in 1913. She founded the National Council of American Indians in 1926 to lobby for the rights of Native Americans to American citizenship, and served as its president until her death in 1938.
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