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O'PEQTAW-METAMOH
FLYING EAGLE WOMAN

INGRID WASHINAWATOK EL ISSA

JULY 31, 1957 - MARCH 4, 1999

"Since the time that human beings offered thanks for the first sunrise, sovereignty has been an integral part of Indigenous peoples' daily existence. With the original instructions from the Creator, we realize our responsibilities. Those are the laws that lay the foundation of our society. These responsibilities manifest through our ceremonies ... Sovereignty is that wafting thread securing the components that make a society. Without that wafting thread, you cannot make a rug. Without that wafting thread, all you have are un-joined, isolated components of a society. Sovereignty runs through the vertical strands and secures the entire pattern. That is the fabric of Native society."


Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa, 1999

O'Peqtaw-Metamoh passed into the spirit world on March 4, 1999. She was a loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and proud member of the Menominee Nation. Ingrid was an internationally known humanitarian who worked for Indigenous peoples' rights, Indigenous women's issues, sovereignty, human rights throughout the world.

Throughout her lifetime, Ingrid was an activist when it came to promoting Indigenous cultures and traditions. She was Executive Director of the Fund for the Four Directions in New York City, a private fund, where she planned, organized and directed grant-making policies and initiated a new effort to promote and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures.

Ingrid was an award winning lecturer who spoke out for the rights of Indigenous peoples regionally and internationally. Among her many publications, her most recent include "Sovereignty is More than Just Power" ( January 1999) in Indigenous Woman Magazine and " In from the Margins: Native People's International Work Results in the UN Decade of Indigenous People" ( summer of 1998) in Native Americas Magazine.

Ingrid is survived by her husband of over 17 years, Ali El-Issa, her son, Maeh-kiw-kesec, her mother, sister, and many aunts, uncles, and nephews. Ingrid carried on the legacy of compassion, kindness and activism of her late father, the Honorable James Washinawatok of the Menominee Nation Supreme Court.

Ingrid touched the lives of countless people who remember her positive energy, charismatic personality and radiant enthusiasm for making the world a better place. We will miss her energetic presence, her laughter, and her leadership. Ingrid will be remembered as a remarkable woman who served her people and others selflessly.

           

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