Annie Dodge Wauneka (1910-1997)
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Annie Dodge Wauneka, a member of the Navajo Tribal Council in Window Rock, Arizona, from 1951 to 1978, advocated for improved lifestyle, disease prevention, and access to medical knowledge in the Navajo Indian Reservation, later renamed the Navajo Nation. Wauneka served as chair of the Health and Welfare Committee of the Navajo Tribal Council and as a member of the US Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Indian Health. Wauneka advocated for initiatives aimed at promoting education, preventing tuberculosis, and reducing the infant mortality rate. In 1963, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Wauneka’s initiatives to educate mothers about child health and increase hospital births reduced infant mortality rates in the Navajo Indian Reservation during the twentieth century.