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Today I don't know whether I want to laugh or cry.

Lori Piestewa was the first woman to be killed in the Iraq war in March 2003, and also the first Native American woman ever killed fighting a in a U.S-let war.  If you recall, she was killed  near Nasiriyah when her convoy (the same one Jessica Lynch was with) got lost. All managed to make it safely through a dangerous area, but then realized to get back to their unit they had to go back exactly the way they came.

And that's when Lori, a young Hopi woman and single mother of two young children, was killed.

Today I found this memorial for her, and experienced a range of emotions, as I read first the memorial and then the following uplifting story...

more below...

more below....

That was the sad part.  Here's the great part:

I almost feel like I know Lori personally now.  Good things can and still DO happen.  On the other hand, it reveals who really IS fighting over there and why.  

Unlike our armchair chickenhawks, Lori wasn't a red-state flag-waving right-wing Republican eager to find WMD and kill terrorists.  She was a mother who wanted to do better for her children facing limited options.  She was someone grew up in what we call poverty, but also immersed in a rich spiritual culture and tradition.

May you rest in peace Lori.

Your friend

Originally posted to Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 06:40 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Beautiful Diary (none)
    I watched a news story recently about Lori and it was touching.  It included interviews with her Mother and other Indians on the reservation where she lived. I also recall video footage of her in an Iraqi hospital which surfaced last year.  She intially survived but eventually succumbed to her wounds.  What is bothersome to me most about the casualities of this War is that many were looking to better themselves and their lives through service to the country.  

    I could go into the media coverage and how it possibly would have been different if Jessica Lynch had died and Lori had survived but that is fruitless at this point.

    Rest in peace, Lori.

  •  I remember hearing (none)
    she and Jessica Lynch were good friends, and I'm glad Jessica did not allow herself to be used in that whole myth about Jessica going down shooting, when the truth was her gun was stuck. I suspect, realizing the real heroine whose life was lost, she must have felt truth as an imperative and something that would honor her friend.

    and why wasn't the first Native woman to die in combat not considered a great story for the big made-for-TV movie, etc?

    oh, I guess we know the answer.

    but it's good that something in the popular culture was utilized to her her family and the tribe.

    "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

    by Miss Devore on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 06:48:57 PM PDT

    •  All great points... (none)
      and I agree 100%

      WesClark 2008 - better than Prozac

      by Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:25:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Painful, but wonderful story (4.00)
      Lori's story moves me.  Recently, Jessica Lynch came out to visit Lori's family and was honored by some special Hopi and Navajo ceremonies - link to pictures and info.

      Lori was honored by having a mountain in the Phoenix area renamed for her.  Originally called "Squaw Peak" (an offensive name nowadays), Gov. Janet Napolitano had it renamed to Piestawa Peak.  The gov got flack for it, because there's supposed to be a waiting time for naming of monuments, but I thoroughly supported the decision.  God forbid, the Republicans in the state could have easily wished for it to be named Ronald Reagan Standing Tall Mountain, or something horrid like that.

    •  Although I agree with you ... (none)
      ... on all counts, given the terrible way Hollywood has treated us Indians (with a few exceptions), I'm not sure I would want to see a movie treatment of Lori.
      •  agree (none)
        would never subject these people's lives to a "treatment"

        let time and truth soak in before these stories are told.

        admittedly, it would be great if truth rose to the top quickly, but, unfortunately, these are not our active values.

        "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

        by Miss Devore on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:04:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've seen a few good ones lately (none)
        Incident at Oglala, Thunderheart (a Hollywood one, but done well IMO), White Dawn (made in the 60s with then young Timothy Hutton), Fast Runner, and the last one which title I can't remember now was, of all oddity, made by Hallmark for TV - about an old Lakota storyteller who gets his troubled grandson to take him to a Pow wow in New Mexico (I think), and tells stories all the way along.  I watched that one twice in a row (almost four hours long).  Got it through, an alternative to Blockbuster's online video rental service.

        WesClark 2008 - better than Prozac

        by Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:32:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Forgot to say (none)
          that in general, movies about Native Americans should be made by Native Americans.  Our cultural perceptions are so different from each other, how can one do justice.  But it looks like that's happening a little anyway.  Fast runner was made by Canadian Inuit people I believe.  It's even in Inuit with subtitles.

          WesClark 2008 - better than Prozac

          by Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:35:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I had the exact same thought. (none)
    "how it possibly would have been different if Jessica Lynch had died and Lori had survived"

    Fortunately (and sometimes unfortunately) I no longer own a TV, so I miss the few programs that still interest me.  I wish I could have seen that one.

    WesClark 2008 - better than Prozac

    by Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 06:56:36 PM PDT

  •  One of my dreams has been to see (4.00)
    tribes working together towards common goals to the betterment of all Indians.

    What a wonderful story in Indian Country. The makeover, the help from other tribes, community support, and the Vet's center.  

    A beautiful tribute to Lori. A blessing for her family, an honor for all involved.

    Thank you for this rememberence.
    Wah do

    Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

    by maggiemae on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:09:32 PM PDT

    •  Indian Country online... (none)
      ...I go there frequently.  I always get a lift.  Kos can get pretty depressing if not taken along with some medicine.  I did a diary not too long ago about another article I found there, about a man named Thomas Banyacya, whom I knew when he was still alive.  I think it's a shame that we don't hear more about Native people here or elsewhere.

      WesClark 2008 - better than Prozac

      by Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:25:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Especially given the Navajo-Hopi history (none)
      Relations between the Navajo and Hopi tribes have been troublesome for a long time.  It's wonderful to see that this tragedy has been the occasion for cooperation between them (as well as with the San Manuel Band).  If only more tragedies could lead to cooperation and friendship, rather than the opposite as is so often the case!
    •  one of my dreams (none)
      has been to reconcile american history with its original inhabitants.

      "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

      by Miss Devore on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:33:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lori (none)
    owed this country absolutely NOTHING!! Much less her life. Her family is proud and this nation is proud but not one drop of Hopi blood(or any for that matter) should be spent in Iraq or anywhere else in service to this administration.  If the native americans start to weild too much power or the govt. starts to want their natural resources they will start oppressing them.   Read about Leonard Peltier..a person who Amnesty International deems a political prisoner.
    •  Leonard Peltier (none)
      The government always has and still is taking their resources.  Right on the Hopi reservation coal and uranium mining is happening by our good friends Bechtel Corporation and Peabody Coal, and uranium dumps exist on the Navajo reservation that pollute rivers and cause cancer in Navajo (Dine) people. The uranium dust piles are illegal elsewhere in the U.S., and yes, Leonard Peltier is another victim of our government, the FBI in particular.

      And there's another more quiet "theft" happening, the marketing of their spirituality.

      I say with all my heart, MORE power to them, not less.

      WesClark 2008 - better than Prozac

      by Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:24:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I lived in Northern Arizona in 2003 (none)
    . . . not on the reservation, but in Flagstaff, about an hour-and-a-half south of her hometown of Tuba City. I've never met the Piestewa family personally, but I have tremendous repsect for them. Lori was doing what she thought was best for herself, her country, and her family. I hope she rests in peace.
  •  I'd like to share my (none)
    personal photos of Lori's father and her children.  I attended the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian last September in Washington DC and walked with my tribe.  These are photos of some of the Native American troops there who walked in the opening procession.  

    The other encounter I had regarding Lori was when I was visiting the Tuba City trading post and the clerk happened to be Lori's aunt.  She described how Tuba was invaded after Lori's death and that her coworkers kept Lori's aunt's identity secret from the press. She was a very nice lady and I held her hand for a long time. I cannot imagine how painful it was for her and her family. I wanted to visit Lori's grave but it was in a the family's kiva in Moenkopi and remained private.

    I was very pleased when they named Piestewa Peak for her. I was certain it wouldn't happen. There is a highway named for her also.

    Even though Lori's family lived in poverty I think they will miss Tuba and Moenkopi.

    •  Thanks for sharing! (none)
      Today I found out there's a small Native American group on KOS.  Also had no idea Meteor Blade is Seminole (I guess it helps to check others' diary pages).  Still fairly new here, about 3 weeks.

      Thanks all for participating in this diary.  I was afraid no-one would even notice.

      WesClark 2008 - better than Prozac

      by Gabriele Droz on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:46:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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