Iva Good Voice Flute grew up on the Oglala Sioux Reservation in Pine Ridge, SD–one of the poorest areas in the country. About 85 percent of its residents live below poverty level.
In an interview with Ms. Magazine (Spring 2003), Iva Good Voice Flute told a reporter, “there are no jobs on the reservation and the military provides jobs. It is ironic that Native Americans join the United States military, but we serve to protect our families, our country and our own freedoms. So many people on the reservation serve just as their families served.”
She came from a family of four women military veterans, but no one told her about them until after she enlisted in the Air Force in 1991. After her military service, Iva became a founder of the first chartered all woman American Legion Post in the nation and serves as the first female Native commander. She is using her military benefits to continue her college education and she counsels young people about the military.