APRIL 6, 2010

CHEROKEE TRIBAL LEADER WILMA MANKILLER DIED

Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, November 18, 1945, Mankiller grew up in San Francisco.  In the 1960s, she became active in Native American issues.  In the mid-1970s, she worked for the Cherokee Nation (Nation) as planner and program developer.  In 1983, Mankiller was elected deputy chief of the Nation and, in 1985, named principal chief—the 1st woman to serve in that capacity.  A popular leader focused on improving the Nation’s government, health-care, and education systems, Wilma was reelected in 1987 and 1991.  Due to ill health, she did not seek re-election in 1995, but taught at Dartmouth College.  She published a 1993 autobiography, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, as well as Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women (2004).  She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 and, in October 2018, she posthumously became one of the first class of inductees into the National Native American Hall of Fame.  Mankiller died in Adair County, Oklahoma.  

Source:  “Wilma Mankiller-Biography,” Biography, 4/1/2014.  Retrieved 6/26/2019, https://www.biography.com/people/wilma-mankiller-214109
Photo:  White House Television, 1/15/1998.  Clinton Presidential Library.  Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

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