Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Pearl Mankiller


Wilma Pearl Mankiller (1945-2010), was born in Okalhoma. She was a tireless advocate for the Cherokee people, and she became the first female principle chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985. With a focus on improved healthcare and education systems, Mankiller served two full terms as Cherokee chief. She also founded the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department, which helped to increase Cherokee citizenship from 55,000 to 156,000, and she revitalized the tribal Sequoyah High School.

President Bill Clinton awarded Mankiller the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.   She has also received awards from The Ms. Foundation and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.


Watch:  The Cherokee Word for Water (2013)


Wilma Mankiller, A Chief and Her People: Wilma Mankiller (1999)

Wilma Mankiller, Every Day is a Good Day: Reflections By Contemporary Indigenous Women (2004)


Wilma Mankiller on NPR