Alex Griener of Auburn, Nebraska and member of the Choctaw Nation of Durant, Oklahoma placed third in the District History Day Contest held at Peru State College. Currently, Alex is an 8th grader in the Johnson-Brock Public School system.
Alex’s project tells the heroic story of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865 – 1915), the first Native American doctor. The title of his project is, ‘Against the Current: The Selfless Acts of Susan La Flesche Picotte’. Very clever title. It manage’s to honor both Dr. Picotte’s Omaha heritage and her work as a physician to those living in Northeastern Nebraska. Alex’s excellent showing at the contest has earned him a trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in nationals.
One of the selfless acts mentioned in Alex’s title was establishing a hospital in Walthill, NE in 1912. The hospital stands as a monument to Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte’s legacy. Unfortunately, it has fallen into such disrepair that in 2018 it earned a spot on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of 11 most endangered historic places. An effort to save the hospital is underway. Recently, the effort has been aided significantly by a $100,000 USDA grant and a $50,000 grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
Work like Alex’s nicely highlights the great work of Dr. Picotte and encourages others to learn about the excellent lives of people not often discussed or mentioned as we reflect on our past. Alex’s work also serves to draw attention to the ongoing effort to restore Dr. Picotte’s hospital. Really a triumph all around!
Thank you for your hard work, Alex. Good luck in D.C.!