Ella Cara Deloria is most famous for her contributions to the Sioux Nation. Deloria grew up on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota, where she studied and acquired a bachelor’s degree from Columbia Teacher’s College in 1915. During this time, Deloria worked as a translator with Franz Boas, a highly regarded anthropologist. In the 1940s, Deloria was devoted to the authority of the Dakota and Lakota Sioux because of her intensive research at the University of South Dakota. From 1962-1966, she gave informal lectures and presentations of the Sioux culture at churches, schools, and other public organizations. One of Deloria’s highest achievements was the novel, Waterlily, which set about to use the work Deloria had collected and describes Dakota life before it was altered by American western expansion. Deloria is held in high esteem as an ethnologist, but in fact she never studied anthropology in an institutional setting yet earned more experience in the field and continued to write more novels on her journey while inspiring others.
Learn more at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center