Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Moxie Mama Salutes...Lyda Conley

There is hardly anything that I admire more in my fellow women than a healthy splash of Moxie. Being the history addict that I am, I've decided to periodically post about historical women that had it. A lot of them will probably be from Kansas City, since that's my historical specialty.

My first salute goes out to Lyda Conley. Why? She was the first Native American (Wyandotte Tribe) woman lawyer, she guarded her parents' graves with a shotgun and put a 7 generation curse on anyone who dared to defile the Huron Indian Cemetery.

In 1906, Congress approved a measure that would allow for the bodies in the cemetery to be moved in order to make way for building progress. Lyda, along with her 2 sisters, guarded the Huron Cemetery in KCK for several years, taking turns guarding it against the government. She sued the government and argued the case all the way to the Supreme Court, where they eventually repealed the sale of the cemetery based on an 1855 treaty that had promised to protect the Wyandot tribe's burial ground.

Lyda was murdered on her way home by a robber (who only got 20 cents from her purse)in 1946 and was buried in the cemetery. In 1971, the cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historical Places. I'm sure she rests in peace now.

This is a great article about her.