Margaret Behan is an enrolled member of the Southern Cheyenne nation. Her native name is Ma’eve’ho’ka’e which means “Red Spider Woman.” Her mother was full-blooded Cheyenne and her father was half Arapahoe and half Cheyenne. She shared her childhood with four sister and four brothers in Watonga, Oklahoma.
She began her education at the St. Patrick’s mission school in Anadarko, Oklahoma, followed by government boarding schools in Concho and Chilocco, Oklahoma.
After graduating from high school she went to a polytechnical institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. From there she was placed in an accounting position with the Bureau of Indian Affairs for ten years.
She stopped working full time for the BIA because she had three children and wanted to spend more time with them. So in 1980, she started her own business doing clay and bead work at home. Once she began to specialize in making traditional story teller dolls, she wanted to learn how to write stories for them, so she went to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and received a Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing.
She moved to the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Lame Deer, Montana in 2003 following a divorce, thereby returning to her father’s people. Once she was situated there, she was invited to join the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and traveled the world with them until 2012.
She has since set up her own non-profit which is called the Cheyenne Elders Council (www.cheyenneelderscouncil.org) and is working to fund a film of the great Cheyenne exodus from Oklahoma to Montana. Grandmother Margaret Behan (enrolled Southern Cheyenne) recently relocated from Lame Deer, Montana to Oklahoma and will be giving talks in the NY/CT area.
Additional video interviews of Grandmother Margaret can be found online.
Offered by Heartfelt Donation.