There are so many influential women throughout history that have motivated many of us to choose career paths, show kindness and generosity to others, and get through tough times or even traumatic experiences. While it is hard to narrow down or highlight all these women in a single post, some of us at Caldwell Public Library have decided to share about a few women who have personally inspired us, shared incredible stories, or have accomplished amazing things.
Submitted by Lea:
Immaculée Ilibagiza- survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Immaculée suffered the death of most of her family by Hutu Interahamwe soldiers. She hid for 91 days in a small bathroom no larger than 3 feet with seven other women in a Hutu pastors’ home. She went on to survive and author Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (2006) and Led by Faith: Rising from the ashes of the Rwandan Genocide (2008).
She described her survival and how God kept her going as she found her place in the world again. Through unbelievably horrific circumstances to a place of power and faith. She embodies the inspirational life of a survivor. She went on to be the recipient of the 2007 Mahatma Gandhi Reconciliation and Peace Award.
Submitted by Megan:
Dr. Betty G Miller is known as the mother of De’VIA, a genre of art that represents the Deaf experience and culture, both good and bad. She was born hard of hearing to two deaf parents and they didn’t realize she was hard of hearing until she started school.
Dr. Betty G Miller obtained a degree in art education at Pennsylvania State University and taught at Gallaudet University for 17 years. She is known as a “resistance” artist, a De’VIA artist who shows the oppression that the Deaf community have faced. She has held many art shows all over the country, her first one being “The Silent World”.
Submitted by Monique:
Christine Nofchissey McHorse was an incredible artist and highly influential within the Native American community. She was also my aunt. Her work can be seen in various galleries and has been seen in many exhibitions throughout decades. While I cannot speak for all my family members as to what she meant to them, I can tell you what she meant to me.
One of the things that I relate to the most when I study my Aunt’s work is her use of abstract shape. Often my own artistic work is done in abstract and I believe it is influenced from her work - and the way that my family always tends to express themselves with music, art, and craft. The story of her work with clay is known throughout all the generations of family members.
My aunt passed away from COVID this year and will be mourned by many. The family will have a memorial when the time is right. The COVID virus has hit the Navajo community deeply and disproportionately - and will continue to endure hardships with access to healthcare and water - until we find lasting solutions.
I will always remember Christine as a bright force of inspiration, determination, and non-traditional exploration, as well as an extremely influential community member. You may not be able to find her book on our shelves here in the Treasure Valley, but you can find a copy through Interlibrary loan if you wanted to see more of her work.
“I learned the basics, but then after that I had to experiment. You try this, and if you make a mistake, don’t quit. Because you learn from your mistakes as well. And they stick. You remember those mistakes.” - Christine Nofchissey McHorse.
Who inspires you? Are they well known, less known but incredible still, or someone you know personally or locally that you would love to recognize? Let us know in the comments! Looking for more books on women for Women's History Month? Come by the Caldwell Public Library and let us know what you are looking for and we can assist you with your search, or browse our display section for books we have already collected for the occasion. We can also assist you over the phone, through our website, or through email as well. Happy reading!