Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) stands before the newest entry into the Capitol’s Statuary Hall collection: a sculpture of American Indian Sarah Winnemucca. The bronze sculpture is Nevada’s second in the collection, which now contains 99 statues. Only New Mexico has yet to provide a second statue.
Winnemucca, the eighth woman depicted in the collection, traveled the country as an advocate for American Indians during the 19th century, giving hundreds of speeches and meeting with government officials in an attempt to improve living conditions on the reservations. She was a translator for the military, founded Nevada’s first school for Paiute children, and became the first American Indian woman to write and publish a book in English (“Life Among the Paiutes”).
She is depicted in the statue holding a book in her left hand and a shell flower in her right. The sculpture will remain in the Rotunda for six months and then be moved elsewhere in the Capitol.