Indian women hope to inspire future generations

Three Indian women overcame hurdles to join the legal field and now they are serving as role models for younger generations.

Danelle Smith, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, excelled in school but left college to care for her dying mother. Along the way, she got married, had three children and got divorced, but she didn't let that stop her from pursuing her dreams of becoming an attorney.

Smith is now a partner at Fredericks, Peebles & Morgan. "I took not the easiest route," the mother of three teen boys tells The Omaha World-Herald. "It would have been so easy just to stop."

Leonika Charging, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota, is following in Smith's footsteps at the firm. Her tribe's struggles motivated her to study law.

"The fact that I’m here — that we’re here working as lawyers — is proof that others can go to college and make a difference," Charging tells the paper.

Jennifer Bear Eagle, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, grew up with a love of reading and was pursuing a doctorate in English when she realized she had a different calling. She finished law school in 2008 and is in her first year as an associate at the firm.

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Quest for justice motivates trio of attorneys (The Omaha World-Herald 7/4)