November 11: Fighting for the Colville Indians
Washington became the 41st American state on this date in 1889. Among the Jewish residents of Washington Territory was Joseph Herman Friedlander, a trader who married Sken-What-Ux, a Colville Indian who was a direct descendant of the tribe’s female chief, Kar-Ne-Za, and the daughter of Standing Cloud, a Brule leader. Sken-What-Ux became known as “Grandma Elizabeth Friedlander.” President Grant established the original Colville Indian Reservation by Executive Order on July 2, 1872. In the 1950s, when Senator Henry Jackson was seeking to terminate the Colville tribe, a descendant of the Friedlanders, Lucy Friedlander Covington (1910-1982), successfully fought the bill and became a pioneer of modern Native American self-determination.
Covington “worked with characteristic determination to protect tribal rights and resources, develop tribal services, govern the reservation for the benefit of tribe members, and promote inter tribal cooperation.” —Susan Ware, in Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Completing the Twentieth Century.