Ramona Bennett: Local Woman Honored on Forbes' List of 50 Over 50

September 27, 2023 at 9:25 a.m.
Seattle-born Ramona Bennett was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the 50 most influential woman over age 50 in the nation
Seattle-born Ramona Bennett was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the 50 most influential woman over age 50 in the nation

On August 1 of this year, the month she turned 85, Seattle-born Ramona Bennett was recognized as one of Forbes Magazine’s 50 most impactful women over age 50.

Bennett is a longtime leader in the Native rights movement, an advocate for Native children and tribal fishing rights, a former chair of the Puyallup Tribe, and an outspoken critic of the federal government's treatment of Native peoples.

This August, she also received the Tacoma City of Destiny Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ramona Bennett accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Tacoma. Photo courtesy Puyallup Tribe.


In addition to her work advocating for tribal fishing rights and Native children, the Forbes’ article also cites the fact that Bennett’s work to secure tribal rights caused threats to her safety (she survived several assassination attempts for her activism during the “Fish War” protests of the 1960s and 70s). Her advocacy helped pass the Indian Child Welfare Act. In 2022, she began amending a law that she believes undermines the fishing rights of tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

Ramona Bennett earned an MA in Education from the University of Puget Sound in 1981, and received an honorary Doctorate of Public Affairs from the school in 2000. She received the Native Action Network’s Enduring Spirit Award in 2003.

Forbes’ “50 Over 50” list highlights dynamic women who have achieved significant success later in life—often overcoming formidable odds or barriers—and “proving that success has no age limit.”

The list started with thousands of nominations of notable women over age 50. To cut down the list, Forbes asked nominees to list their greatest “over 50 accomplishments and other relevant questions. A list of semifinalists was sent to a panel of judges, who selected the final list. 

From the article: “The result is a group of people whose collective power—literally—stretches from the deep sea to outer space. We only hope that you will be as inspired by reading their stories as we are in sharing them.”

Forbes divided the list into four categories: Lifestyle (Visionaries reshaping entertainment and Culture); Impact (Changemakers leaving the world a little better than they found it); Innovation (Disruptors breaking new technological grounds); Investment (Rainmakers commanding wealth and seeding the future).

Here are a handful of the other inspiring women from the list:

  • Patti Labelle – after a successful career as “The Godmother of Soul” and actress, she has gained further success as an entrepreneur under her prepared food brand, Patti’s Good Life.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis – she won her first Oscar at 64
  • Peggy Whitson – the 63-year-old astronaut commanded a flight and has spent more time in space than any other woman
  • Nancy Pfund – founded a $600 million fund at 53
  • Catherine Coleman Flowers – working for better sanitation and water infrastructure in rural communities.

To read the full article, visit this link: 50 Over 50 2023 (forbes.com).
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