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Women of the Hall

Year Honored: 1993
Birth: 1945 - Death: 2010
Born In: Oklahoma,
Died In: Oklahoma,
Achievements: Humanities
Educated In: California, Oklahoma, Arkansas
Schools Attended: Skyline College, San Francisco State University, Flaming Rainbow University, University of Arkansas
Worked In: California, Oklahoma

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Wilma Mankiller

As the powerful, visionary first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma Mankiller was responsible for 139,000 people and a $69 million budget.

Mankiller spent her formative years in San Francisco, where she learned about the women's movement and organizing. When she returned to her native Oklahoma, Mankiller used her skills to help the Cherokee Nation, starting community self-help programs and teaching people ways out of poverty. In 1983 she ran for deputy chief of the Nation, and in 1985 Mankiller became Principal Chief. Mankiller brought about important strides for the Cherokees, including improved health care, education, utilities management and tribal government. Future plans call for attracting higher-paying industry to the area, improving adult literacy, supporting women returning to school and more. Mankiller also lived in the larger world, active in civil rights matters, lobbying the federal government and supporting women's activities and issues. She said: "We've had daunting problems in many critical areas, but I believe in the old Cherokee injunction to 'be of a good mind.' Today it's called positive thinking."
Additional Sources:
Harris, Jo D. A Brief Interview with Chief Mankiller. Lewiston, Idaho: Confluence Press in association with Women's Action Committee, Lewis-Clark State College, 1996.

Mink, Gwendolyn, Marysa Navarro, and Gloria Steinem, editors. The Reader's Campanion to U.S. Women's History. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998.

Yannuzzie, Della A. Wilma Mankiller: Leader of the Cherokee Nation. Hillside, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, 1994. NOTES: Juvenile Literature.

Editor with Vine Deloria, Barbara Deloria, Kristen Foehner, and Sam Scinta. Spirit & Reason: The Vine Deloria, Jr., Reader. Fulcrum Pub., 1999.

With Michael Wallis (contributor). Mankiller: a Chief and her People. St. Martin's Press, 1994.
National Women's Hall Event in Chicago