Ieweras Gray (1998-2014) was a Mohawk girl who was diagnosed with leukemia at age six, battling the cancer until succumbing to it at age 16. Her story, and that of her father James Sakoietah Gray who was torn between supporting his daughter and defending himself in a criminal case regarding an Indian casino, was movingly documented in She brings the thunder by Jorge Barrera (APTN National News, 20 April 2015). He quotes Sakoietah:
The Woman’s Warrior Flag was developed to honour Ieweras Gray and to bring strength to all women of the world for their voices to be heard once again. For the women are the protectors of the lands, they will stand strong and proud.
Ieweras means “she helps bring the thunder and lightning” — a warrior’s name given to her because she was born during a thunderstorm in Cornwall, Ontario. The thunderbolt earring shown on the flag references this.
The flag is a variant of the flag of the Mohawk Warrior Society, one of a series of flags designed by the artist Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall. Other flags in the series include the “Indian Flag” showing a “long haired indigenous person,” and versions showing both a man and a woman.
The Women’s Warrior Flag has been adopted by the Ieweras Gray Foundation, which sells the flag in its online store and publishes a feed on Instagram of photographs it has been sent showing the flag in various contexts, including MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) protests.