The Story of Running Eagle (Him-i-tsu-muts)

“The Story of Running Eagle (Him-i-tsu-muts):” Learn about the bravery and spiritual insights of Running Eagle, a prominent female warrior of the Blackfeet tribe.

The Story of Running Eagle: Embracing Indigenous Wisdom and Female Leadership


The legacy of indigenous peoples is one that encompasses wisdom, resilience, and a deep connection to the land. These stories, passed down through generations, hold valuable lessons that can guide us in our efforts towards conservation and a more just society. One such story is that of Running Eagle, also known as Him-i-tsu-muts, a remarkable woman who defied societal norms and led her people with courage and strength. In this essay, we will delve into the story of Running Eagle, highlighting the importance of recognizing and incorporating indigenous wisdom into our conservation efforts. We will also explore the power of female leadership, drawing parallels between Running Eagle and other indigenous women who shaped history.

The Story of Running Eagle:

Running Eagle was born into the Piegan tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy, in what is now modern-day Montana. From a young age, she displayed exceptional hunting and leadership skills, often outperforming her male counterparts. However, her abilities were met with skepticism and resistance from those who believed that a woman’s place was solely within the domestic sphere. Undeterred by societal expectations, Running Eagle embraced her natural talents and became a skilled warrior and respected leader.

As the encroachment of settlers intensified, Running Eagle recognized the need to protect her people and their way of life. She led numerous successful raids against rival tribes and defended her homeland from external threats. Her strategic acumen, bravery, and unwavering determination earned her the respect and admiration of her tribe.

Running Eagle’s Legacy:

Running Eagle’s story exemplifies the strength and resilience of indigenous women throughout history. Like many other indigenous leaders, she recognized the importance of preserving the land and maintaining a harmonious relationship with nature. This perspective is deeply rooted in indigenous wisdom, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living beings and the need to live in harmony with the environment.

Incorporating Indigenous Wisdom into Conservation Efforts:

Today, as we face pressing environmental challenges, it is crucial to recognize and incorporate indigenous wisdom into our conservation efforts. Indigenous peoples have long-held knowledge about sustainable land management, resource conservation, and the protection of biodiversity. By actively involving indigenous communities in conservation initiatives, we can tap into this wealth of knowledge and create more effective and inclusive strategies.

The Importance of Female Leadership:

Running Eagle’s story also highlights the power of female leadership. Throughout history, indigenous women have played pivotal roles in their communities, often assuming positions of authority and influence. One notable example is the Cherokee Women’s Council, a matriarchal governing body that made important decisions regarding land use and resource management. By embracing female leadership, indigenous societies recognized the unique perspectives and strengths that women bring to the table. We must take inspiration from these examples and strive for a more inclusive and equitable society, where the voices and leadership of women are valued and respected.

Parallel Stories of Female Leadership:

Running Eagle’s story is not unique in its testament to the power of female leadership. The Chiricahua Apache Resistance, led by women such as Lozen and Dahteste, demonstrates the instrumental role women played in defending their communities and resisting colonization. These women were not only skilled warriors but also strategists, diplomats, and healers. Their contributions were invaluable in preserving their culture and way of life.


The story of Running Eagle serves as a powerful reminder of the wisdom, strength, and leadership that indigenous women have demonstrated throughout history. By recognizing and incorporating indigenous wisdom into our conservation efforts, we can learn to live in harmony with the environment and protect our planet for future generations. Moreover, by embracing diverse perspectives and empowering female leadership, we can strive for a more just and equitable future. Running Eagle’s legacy reminds us that by learning from these stories, we can forge a path towards a more inclusive and sustainable world.

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