Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee Nation) dedicated her life to the specific betterment of her people and Native America in general. She participated in the Native American Red Power movement and was present at the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969—calling attention to the importance of Indigenous rights, self-governance and decolonization. Her passion translated into a long a successful political career as one of the first women to lead a Native American tribe in the 20th century. Her tenure as Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation lasted ten years (1985-1995). Through this public post, Mankiller encouraged future generations of girls to seek similar positions of responsibility and influence. Her activism did not go unnoticed, as she received numerous awards and honours, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was also inducted into the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
Resources and Further Reading:
Mankiller, Wilma and Michael Wallis. Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999).
Edmunds, R. David. The New Warriors: Native American Leaders Since 1900 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001).