By Nancy Stidham
Yazzie was inspired to become an aerospace engineer by the reading of a novel for pleasure. When she was a freshman at Many Farms High School in Arizona, her older brother, Lance, recommended that she read Michael Crichton's Airframe. Yazzie was captivated by one of the characters, a female aerospace engineer, and decided to pursue that career.
This is an excellent story for busting people's stereotypical perceptions of what Native women are--and aren't. They aren't princesses who are judged on poise and makeup. They aren't pretty young things in feathers and headdresses. They aren't whores, sluts, and junkies who become victims of crimes. No, they're normal people with a range of professions: banker, writer/artist, business owner, nurse, actor/activist. And aerospace engineer.
For more on Indians and feminism, see Women and Indians as Peacemakers and Lovejoy Faces "Buckskin Ceiling."
Below: Not your typical Lovely Indian Make-Up Girl.