Native Village Youth and Education News
September 2009


2009 Medal of Freedom Recipients

Washington D.C.: President Barack Obama awarded the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 recipients in an August White House Ceremony. Among those honored was:
  Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow.

Medicine Crow, 96, is a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana. He is the last living Plains Indian war chief and a historian and author of Native American history and culture. Medicine-Crow is most known for his work on the Battle of Little Big Horn, the 1876 battle in which his grandfather served as a scout for General George Armstrong Custer.

A veteran of World War II, Medicine Crow obtained the honor of becoming the last war chief of the Crow Tribe by completing four key tasks while fighting in Europe:

"Born just a generation past the Battle of the Little Big Horn, a grandson of a scout for General Custer himself, Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow was the first member of his tribe to attend college and earn a Master's," said President Barack Obama. "Before completing his PhD, he left to serve in World War II. Wearing war paint beneath his uniform, and a sacred feather beneath his helmet, Joseph Medicine Crow completed the four battlefield deeds that made him the last Crow war chief. Historian, educator, and patriot -- a good man, a bacheitche in Crow -- Dr. Medicine Crow's life reflects not only the warrior spirit of the Crow people, but America's highest ideals."

Other Medal of Freedom Winners:

   Nancy Goodman Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s leading breast cancer grassroots organization.
  Pedro José Greer, Jr., Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Florida International University School of Medicine and founder of Camillus Health Concern, an agency that provides medical care to  homeless and low-income patients.
   Stephen Hawking, an internationally-recognized theoretical physicist and the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.
  Jack Kemp, U.S. Congressman, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Republican Nominee for Vice President in 1996.
  Sen. Edward Kennedy, one of the longest-serving and greatest Senators of all time who's worked  tirelessly for health care reform for more than 50 years.
  Billie Jean King, tennis player who championed gender equality issues in all aspects of life.
  Rev. Joseph Lowery, leader of the civil rights movement since the 1950s, and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
  Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official from a major U.S. city. He encouraged LGBT citizens to live their lives openly.
  Sandra Day O’Connor,  a Supreme Court Justice from 1981 - 2006. She was the first woman ever to sit on the Supreme Court.
   Sidney Poitier, actor, who broke racial barriers and is the first African American to be nominated and win a Best Actor Academy Award.
   Chita Rivera,  actress, singer and dancer, who broke barriers to inspire a generation of women. In 2002, she was the first Hispanic to receive the Kennedy Center Honor.
  Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative.
  Janet Davison Rowley, M.D.,  Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. She discovered the first consistent chromosome translocation in a human cancer.
  Desmond Tutu,  regarded as "South Africa’s moral conscience," and a leading anti-apartheid activist
  Muhammad Yunus, a global leader in anti-poverty efforts who pioneered the use of "micro-loans" to provide credit to poor individuals.


Watch the ceremony:

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