Monday, February 12, 2018

Today I Learned about Pine Leaf, Woman Chief of the Crow

Posted by Daniexmachina

Hello everyone! Today I learned about a very interesting and badass woman of history! Her name was Pine Leaf, also known as Woman Chief and she was a warrior of the Crow Nation. When Pine Leaf was just a small, ten-year-old child, she was kidnapped by the Crow from her native tribe of the Gros Ventre.

The story of her kidnapping has two possible versions. The first possible idea is that when she was kidnapped she talked her way out of being killed on the spot by claiming to have actually been kidnapped by the Gros Ventre recently and she got away with it by knowing some of their language. The other option is a Crow warrior was actually looking for a replacement for his deceased son.

Whatever the truth is, she was raised to be strong and extremely good at everything. She learned to ride a horse, shot her bow and cleaning and carving a buffalo. She was a warrior who on her very first battle killed two enemies and herded some nearby wild horses because she wanted to.



Pine Leaf was what the Native Americans call a two spirit, meaning she was a different gender from the usuals. Most two spirits wore masculine clothes but Pine Leaf did not. She always dressed like a woman. She promised not to marry until she killed 100 enemies. A man who lived with the Crow people in the 1880s named James Beckwourth claimed to have married this woman for five weeks but these claims are thought to be untrue.

What was true was she married at least four women and did something the Natives called counting coup. This meant they would tease the enemy by doing something like running over the enemy unarmed and knocking the person over. She lead the tribe as the War Chief for twenty years.

In 1851 the Treaty of Fort Laramie brought new jobs for the former war chief. She helped in negotiations between the tribes of Upper Missouri and brought peace between her native tribe of Gros Ventre and her current tribe of the Crow. Unfortunately, after many years of peace, Pine Leaf was ambushed by the Gros Ventre and murdered.

Sources:

Radeska, Tijana Pine Leaf was a Woman Chief and warrior of the Crow people 2016 9-20

Smallwood, Karl Pine Leaf, The Badass Female Native American Chief 2016 5-11

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Today I Learned about Irena Sandler

Posted by Daniexmachina

Hello everyone! Today I learned about a very amazing lady who made a huge difference during World War II and hadn't even been heard of until about 18 years ago! Her name is Irena Sendler, born Irena Krzyanowski in February of 1910 to her doctor father and his wife. Her father passed away due to typhus after treating some patients no other doctor would treat because they were afraid of catching the disease. Many of those patients were Jewish and as a thank you for her father's service, the Jewish community got together and paid for Irena to go to college.

When at school, Irena saw they had a ghetto bench system in place, which I had to look up to find the meaning. Apparently, before World War II, Jewish students were forced to sit in a segragated section of the lecture hall on the left or face expulsion. Irena was agianst this so she defaced her grade card and was subsequently suspended from her university for three years.

Irena moved to Warsaw before the start of World War II and she started working for Social Welfare departments at the municipal level. Shortly after the German invasion she began to aid the poor and destitute Jews. She was unable to continue her work when the Germans forced the Jews into a ghetto. But she found a way to get past this.

With the help of her coworkers, they created 3,000 fake documents in order to continue to help the Jews. The group knew that if they were caught assisting the Jews, they would be put to death, but they believed so strongly in justice and freedom that they put their lives as secondary to the people they would help.

There was an underground organization called the Council to Aid Jews and they made Irena, code name Jolanta, as the leader of the children's section. Since Irena was a social worker she was able to get access to the ghetto in order to check up on any disease that might be there. Under this guise, she and her coworkers smuggled out many Jewish children.

They had many ways to get the children out. “She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second. One of Sendler’s children told of waiting by a gate in darkness as a German soldier patrolled nearby. When the soldier passed, the boy counted to 30, then made a mad dash to the middle of the street, where a manhole cover opened and he was taken down into the sewers and eventually to safety.”

Irena was arrested in 1943 but before she was caught she managed to put the names of all the children she saved into glass jars in her friend's garden. And she also secreted away money to help the The Germans tortured her, questioning her for the names of her fellows, she never gave in. She and the other women would make holes in the German's underwear while on prison laundry duty. The Germans found out and shot every other woman. She lived. She was still sentenced to death but her people bribed a German officer to let her go and so there were signs everywhere that she was to be shot. She lived again.

In spite of the threats of her death, she didn't stop her important work. She was thought to be exectuted so she tried not to be seen. Even before the Zegota movement started, Irena had been helping Jewish families and they estimate she saved about 3,00 Polish Jews.

When the war finally ended, Irena dug up the jars. She had hoped to reunite families after all this time but unforutunately, many of the family members had been gassed. So the children she saved went to be adopted either by Polish families or they went to Israel.

Though she had been recoginized by the Polish people, the rest of the world knew nothing about her. Until in 1999 when some students from Kansas were given a newspaper clipping by their teacher about Irena and only one website had any mention of Irena. The children went on to learn all about her, even traveling to Poland and writing her when they learned she was still alive in 2000. The children put on a presentation called Life in a Jar which shares the life story of Irena.

I'm glad that I was able to learn about her and the amazing work she did. Thanks to some kids in Kansas, there are tons of websites that talk about Irena and give her the fame she deserves. She passed away in 2008.

Sources:
Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project
Wikipedia : Irene Sendler
Vashem, Yad “Women of Valor” Stories of Women Who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust – Irena Sandler 2018
Snopes Irena Sandler, supposedly a candidate for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, is credited by saving 2,500 Polish Jews from the Holocaust




Sunday, January 14, 2018

Today I Learned about Simone Segouin

Posted by Daniexmachina

Hello everyone! Today I bring another amazing woman to your attention! She was called Nicole Minet but her name was Simone Segouin. She was born in Chatres to a farming family with her father and three brothers, so she grew up in a man's world. She was very passionate about the love she held for her country so when it was attacked int 1944, she joined a combat group called Francs-Tireurs et Partisans – which was a group made of communists and French nationalists. Simone was no communist. She wanted to protect her country.

The group gave her a new name, protection for her family in case she was captured and new papers to go with it. She was now Nicole Minet and the first thing she did was steal a German's bicycle, her first mission. The bike was repainted and would be her transport for delivering messages and finding targets.

Satisfied she could handle sneaking about and more dangerous things, she was given new missions. These included blowing up bridges, derailing a train and assisting in the capture of some Germans in Thivars. During the mission in Thivars, Simone met a man she fell deeply in love with. His name was Roland Boursier and he was a fighter who was in charge of the Thivars mission.

When they met, Roland had to go into hiding in the country because he shot a large group of Germans. Roland couldn't give his place away so he asked Simone to help him by running messages back to the Resistance group. er for a while to see what her feelings were,’ Roland said during an interview after the war ended. ‘When I discovered she had French feelings I told her little by little about the work I was doing. I asked her if she would be scared to do such work. She said: ‘No, it would please me to kill Boche.

A visit from General Charles de Gaulle who was the leader of the Free French at the time and would later be president, was when Simone was noticed by international journalists. General de Gaulle was headed to Paris and stopped to make a speech on the steps of the post office.

The journalists founded Simone eating a baguette with jam, holding her machine gun by her side and wearing her FTP armband. She was striking. There were so few women in the Resistance, they were impressed by the eighteen year old woman who was proud to be security for General de Gaulle. She was interviewed by an American reporter named Jack Belden and Robert Capa took several pictures of her which would be featured in a Life magazine titled “The Girl Partisan of Chartres”.

Simone was part of the troops going to Paris with General de Gaulle as part of the 2nd Armoured Division. It was at six o'clock in the morning on August 25 that the Germans surrendered to the Allied forces. Just a month after, Simone's photographs were published in Life. At the time it was a multi-million reader circulation and these pictures made Simone into a legend.



This fame she had would only grow with the some war footage shot by director George Stevens of Simone in battle. Asked if she had ever killed anyone, Simone said: ‘On July 14, 1944, I took part in an ambush with two comrades. Two German soldiers went by on a bike, and the three of us fired at the same time, so I don’t know who exactly killed them. You shouldn’t have to kill someone like that. It’s true, the Germans were our enemies, it was the war, but I don’t draw any pride from it.’

At the end of the war, Simone was awarded the Croix de Guerre as well as being promoted to lieutenant. The Croix de Guerre is a highly distinguished military honor the French receive. General George Patton said that the advance of Allied troops from Normandy woudn't have been possible without the FFI.



Simone became a pediatric nurse in Chatres where she was born. She always knew how few women could be part of the Resistance and many never saw combat like she, but the ten percent of the Resistance that was women made a mark on how women would be treated.

Women in France were first allowed to vote locally in April 29, 1945 and later in national one. Charles de Gaulle himself said that ‘women are voters and eligible under the same conditions as men’. The French Resistance in WWII helped a lot of things, like getting Germany out of France and helping win the war, but the women who helped in that made a difference for their fellows and we continue to move forward.

Sources: 
Murray, James 2016 April 17 "I was proud to march into Paris as a resistance fighter" says Simone Segouin
Blazeski, Goran 2016 October 6 18 Year old French Resistance daughter Simone Segouin captured 29 Nazis during the fall of Chatres
Allen, Peter and Adam Luck 2015 August 29 The hotpants headshot: Formidale derring-do of the Nazii-huntng, gun-toting teen pin up of the French Resistance

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Today I Learned about Maud Wagner

Posted by Daniexmachina

Hello everyone! Continuing today to learn about the badass women in history , I bring you a pioneer of an industry in America! Maud Wagner was the first female tattoo artist in the United States. I'm very excited to tell you the little bit of her very interesting life that we know about.

Maud was born in Kansas in 1877. As an adult, she worked in several traveling circuses. And during the St. Louis World's Fair while performing as a contortionist, acrobat and aerialist, she met a man named Gus Wagner. At the time they met, Gus was traveling in circuses and billed as the “Tattooed Globetrotter”.

Gus worked using the old stick and poke method of tattooing and he asked Maud out on a date. She requested tattoo lessons in return. Maud loved to be tattooed, she became an actual attraction in the circus as an inked woman. At the time, seeing a woman in very little clothing and covered in tattooes was quite shocking!



Maud also used the poke and stick method of tattooing even though machines were becoming more prevelant at the time. The two married and moved circus to circus and sometimes in vaudeville houses. They had a daughter named Lovetta who also learned to tattoo, although Maud wouldn't let her daughter be inked by her father and Lovetta said if her father couldn't, nobody could.

In 1961, Maud passed away. She had continued to be one of the most interesting person, as one of few woman tattoists in America. She and her husband were also two of the only well known stick and poke artists. Lovetta passed away in 1983 but not before giving an traditional stick and poke tattoo to Ed Hardy.


I hope everyone enjoyed learning about this awesome woman, I'm sorry it was a bit short today but I really got excited about this woman and I didn't have it in me to write a long blog because I had company today.

Sources:
Bell, Carly 2016 December 14 Biography: Maud Wagner -Tattooist
Howerton, Ross 2016 October 21 Maud Stevens Wagner - The First Female Tattooist in  the US
Howard, Krissy 2017 November 20 Cloaked in Ink: The Stoy of Maud Wagner, America's First Known Female Tattoo Artist

Friday, January 12, 2018

Today I Learned about Hedy Lamarr

Posted by Daniexmachina

Hello everyone! I'm sorry to be late again, but I write better when I'm feeling inspired and that took some time today. I returned to the article I found Khutulun in yesterday and found something I never knew. Hedy Lamarr, a starlet of the Golden Age of Hollywood, was an inventor as well! I notice reading about actresses from those times that they had extremely interesting lives and it makes me a bit jealous.

Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler to Jewish parents in Austria, was quite an amazing woman! At the young age of eighteen she appeared in a movie called Ecstasy, where she was naked and pretended to have an orgasm on stage. This first role brought a lot of attention and controversy to the young lady.



Although she was Jewish, she married a Nazi arms dealer. He wanted the most famous woman in the country and he had her for a time. Her husband kept her prisoner in her own home and she finally fled. She drugged the maid and took her uniform to escape the man's overbearing presence and she fled to America.

Hedy's debut in Hollywood was in Algiers in 1938. A year later, she wanted to enlarge her breasts naturally with hormones and she was introduced to amateur endocrinologist George Antheil. The two meeting and singing a duet led to a scientific breakthrough. Mr. Antheil was very well known for being impressive at playing pianola or player pianos and kept changing key. Hedy had to vocally keep up with this.

That's when Hedy told George about the idea she just had that if they had a roll like the pianos did but for jamming frequencies, they could fight nazy Germany. Radio frequency interuption could stop torpedoes from being fired. The device the invented which sparked that day on the piano earned a patent but not much was done with it at the time.

It wouldn't be until the 1950s that the idea was put to real use. As soon as they developed the technology, it spread through the Navy like wildfire,’ says Richard Rhodes, author of Hedy’s Folly. ‘This was just an absolutely wonderful system for protecting radio communications.’ Later still with the Cuban Missle Crisis, these frequency hopping radios branched out to all the other military services.

This device has brought about the science to make things like Wi-Fi, GPS and cell phones work. Unfortunately, Hedy and George got very little recognation at the time their invention was made. In fact it wouldn't be until three years before Hedy's death in 2000 that she received the Pioneer Award from the American Electronic Frontier Foundation. And in 2014 she was posthumously inducted into the United States National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Hedy realised that what she came up with was important but I don't think she knew how important it's going to be,’ says her son. ‘The definition of importance is the more people that it affects over the longer period of time. The longer this goes on and the more people it affects the more important she will be.’


I found learning about Hedy Lamarr to be very interesting. I love hearing about women who made a difference, it's just a shame she was only recognized for her beauty at the time. 

Sources: 
Phelan, Jessica 2014 January 16 7 of the most badass women who have ever lived (who you've probably never heard of)
Famous Women Inventors 2008 Invention of Spread Spectrum Technology
Carleton, Sharon and Alex McClintlock 2014 July 14 The unlikely life of inventor and Hollywood star,  Hedy Lamarr

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Today I Learned about Khutulun, Mongolian Warrior Princess

Posted by Daniexmachina

Hello everyone! I'm sorry for being late on learning today but I was really tired earlier and now it took some time to read up on my subject for the day. I couldn't think of anything to learn about and then I googled badass women in history and found some great ladies. I'm starting with Khutulun Mongolian Warrior Princess!

Khutulun was great-great-granddaughter of famous warrior Genghis Khan. And though she never met him, she clearly lived up to his notorious warrior status. Khutulun's father was Khaidu and he owned a fief of land in the Tian Shan Mountains. Khaidu had fifteen children and all were boys except for the last child, Khutulun. When she was born, Khaidu gave his daughter the same training his sons received in how to generally kick ass. She learned to wrestle, ride a horse, use a sword, shoot a bow and everything important to living in Mongolia.

At the time when most women in the world had no rights still, Mongolian women were often found in battle alongside the men! Most of the women would operate as snipers with their bows from far off but Khutulun had other ideas about how to fight. Her method was to ride into battle, pick out the biggest and tallest guy on the other side and grab him by the head and drag him back to her father to kept out of the way.

Aside from being a fearsome warrior and military commander, she was also insanely good at the Mongols favorite pastime, wrestling! And Mongolian wrestling was not fake, nor was it easy. Mongolian wrestling had no rules. There were no silly weight classes to fix an unfair advantage from one man to another. But Khutulun was a pro at beating all the big burly men in town.

When she got to be in her twenties, her parents wanted her to marry but she declared she would not marry any man who couldn't beat her at wrestling. After all the suitors got the butts kicked by this impressive woman, she opened up a challenge to any man that could beat her would have her hand. Any who couldn't had to give her ten horses.

Marco Polo met Khutulun in 1280 and she claimed to have ten thousand horses and was still single. There was later a prince who came looking to marry Khutulun and pleaded for her to throw the fight they would have the next day but Polo heard her say, “she would never let herself be vanquished if she could help it but if, indeed, he could get the better of her then she would gladly be his wife.”

The match the next day was attended by people from their city and the neighboring villages. Marco Polo said, “The damsel threw him right valiantly on the palace pavement. And when he found himself thus thrown and her standing over him, great indeed was his shame and discomfiture.”

Khutulun did marry eventually, but not to someone who bested her in battle. She chose a man for herself, something few women in the Middle Ages were able to do. And when her father died in 1301, before his death he offered his kingdom to Khutulun. She wouldn't take it because she had fourteen older brothers who would probably not have been pleased with this. But she told her brother she would let him be the Khan as long as she got to command his army.


She took over as General but wasn't in charge for long before she violently murdered at age fourty-five. Stories aren't sure if she fell in battle or was assassinated, but either way was living up to the legacy of bloodshed and battle Khutulun had left. I hope everyone enjoyed learning about this great lady and I will probably be learning about badass women in history for awhile because I really enjoyed reading about her!

Sources:
Thompson, Ben 2015 September 4 Khutulun
Phelan, Jessica 2014 January 16 7 of the most badass women who ever lived (who you've probably never heard of)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Today I Learned about Chris Whitecross

Posted by Daniexmachina

Hello everyone! Today I took inspiration from wikipedia in the did you know section of the home page to find something to learn about today. I'm going to tell you about Canadian Lieutanant-General Chris Whitecross. Chris was born in Germany to a typical home of the 60s, her father was in the air force and he ran the house. Her mother was a housewife who pictured her little girl growing up to be a teacher or a nurse. Chris was destined to do something different.

Chris's family moved to three different places in Canada following her birthplace and at the last one in Annapolis Valley, her brothers played in the cadet pipe band. Chris decided to join them and as soon as she did, she felt like something fell in place. She enjoyed the structured society of the military.

When Chris was in grade nine, her science teacher said she could be a great engineer. Her father saw the handsome uniforms of the Queen's University engineers, a gold jacket and clear pride eminating, and told Chris she should go there. This sounds like advice I would give. In her second year of school, she surprised her parents by announcing she was being sworn into the military.

The truth of the matter is that she had tried to enlist right out of high school, but Canadian laws on this require a very high placement in an aptitude test and she had failed and was terribly embarassed. When she tried again after some school time she wasn't required to take the exam but she did and aced it. She was now part of the Canadian Forces and she loved every bit of it. “'I like the fact that people rely upon me to make good and qualified decisions,” she says. “I like it when I can say something and people will do it.'”



But as much as she loved the military and made wonderful progress there, she had a family, a husband and children and leaving them behind to go serve her country is part of the deal. She said it best herself, “'Sometimes it’s about missing your child’s first birthday because you’ve gotta go and do something else. Or not being able to teach your oldest daughter how to ride her bike. Or sometimes it’s the high school allowing you to watch your daughter graduate through Skype, and it’s the middle of the night wherever you are.'”

Through her military career, Chris has been deployed in Germany, Bosnia, Afghanistan and nearly every Canadian province and territory. Her work has included engineering officer, director of infrastucture and environment and commander of a joint task force. She's been awarded Commander of the Order of Military Merit and the US Defense Meritorious Service Medal. She's now a three star general.

For the first few years of her marriage, both she and her husband were in the military but they felt very badly about moving their three children repeatedly and often. Her husband became the stay at home father, rare in the 90s when this was. And with the constant rock of her husband, they were able to take in foster children along with their own. They had fostered 33 children over all the years!

The longest Chris was stationed was Ottawa for eight years up until 2015, when she was sent to join NATO. But while in Ottawa she was given the task of battling against sexual misconduct in the military. Chris had received some name calling and inappropriate conduct herself, but doesn't go into details. When a report came out about how much this was still a problem, Chris was shocked. It had been about 30 years and this was still a problem. She was both unable to believe it and angered.

This good, professional woman has started an institutional change in everything in the military and later an emotive change in the people, which will take some time for sure. She has started Operation Honour, to help the military change, so that it's a safe place for women to serve as well as men. This new program has brought in an outside the chain of command team of investigators who handle all the cases of sexual misconduct, to respond to all claims filed to them.


In the summer of last year, she was sent to be commandant of the NATO Defense College. This was decided upon by a vote of the twenty-eight involved nations. Chris has hopes to take what she's learned at her last post to help bring eyes to this problem worldwide. I'm glad I learned about such an amazing woman today and I hope you enjoyed it too!

Sources: 
Wikipedia 5 January 2018 Chris Whitecross
Proudfoot, Shannon 6 November 2016 The Sacrifices of Canada's  female military trailblazer