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Montana highway dedicated to first Native American woman to enlist in Marines

Minnie Spotted-Wolf was a heavy equipment operator in the 1940s
Posted at 8:27 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 23:25:09-04

A section of US Highway 89 was officially dedicated on Friday as "Minnie Spotted-Wolf Memorial Highway" in honor of the first Native American woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

Many spectators attended the dedication ceremony, including family members, guest speakers, and members of the Blackfeet Tribe she belonged to before she passed away.

Her daughter expressed the joy she felt at her mother’s memorialization: “I’m just so proud that she would be recognized. A lot of people would always tell me that she should be recognized. And this was my dream right here.“

Spotted-Wolf is one of three Montana women to have a portion of the highway dedicated to her.

You can see the sign at the southern tip of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation near mile marker 85.

Raised on a ranch near Heart Butte, Spotted Wolf stated that growing up doing such ranch work as “cutting fence posts, driving a two-ton truck, and breaking horses” prepared her for the rigors of Marine Corps boot camp, which she was quoted as saying was “hard, but not too hard,” according to the National Archives Foundation .

The National Archives says that Spotted Wolf served for four years in the Marines as a heavy equipment operator as well as a driver for visiting general officers on military bases in Hawaii and California.

After her discharge in 1947, Spotted Wolf returned to Montana. She married Robert England and attended college, earning degrees in Elementary Education.

After a 29-year teaching career, Minnie Spotted Wolf died in 1988.