Wilma Mankiller
Chief of the Cherokee Nation
Wilma Mankiller
Wilma Pearl Mankiller was the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She served as principal chief for ten years from 1985 to 1995.
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Wilma Mankiller's personal information overview.
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News
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Read The Women's March On Washington's Beautifully Intersectional Policy Platform
Huffington Post - 3 months
The organizers of the Women’s March on Washington just released a four-page document outlining the principles and goals of the protest, and it’s the definition of intersectional feminism.  The Women’s March will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21 in DC with sister marches all over the country (and world) to “affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination,” according to the official platform. After a rocky start, the organizers have put together an inclusive and intersectional policy platform.  The document lays out the march’s purpose, values and principles, and gives an important nod to movements that came before them: the suffragists and abolitionists, the America Indian Movement, the Civil Rights era, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street and the fight for LGBTQ rights.  “Our liberation is bound in each other’s,” the platform states. “The Women’s March on Washington includes leaders of organizations and communities that have b ...
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Huffington Post article
Review: A Feminist Icon Takes Us On a Sometimes Too-Fast-Moving Adventure
Huffington Post - over 1 year
This review first appeared in The National Book Review My Life on the Road By Gloria Steinem Random House 304 pp. $28 By Carol Owens Gloria Steinem is a real person. That may be stating the completely obvious, but it also accurately sums up the dawning realization a reader feels while making her way through Steinem's lyrical, fascinating, and ultimately frustrating memoir, My Life on the Road. As key a figure as Gloria has been in the Second Wave of feminism - and there is no argument about the centrality or longevity of her leadership - she herself as a person has remained in the shadows. Certainly, Steinem is recognizable, and in fact, easily described: her physicality, her distinct manner of dress and speech, the aviator glasses and center-parted long hair unchanged over the years. She is readily and easily associated with her championing of the core political causes meant to achieve women's equality and basic civil rights: the Equal Rights Amendment, the National O ...
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Huffington Post article
Gale Anne Hurd On The Legacy of Wilma Mankiller (Exclusive Video)
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
I've asked Gale Anne Hurd to share her thoughts on why the story of the first female Principal Chief of The Cherokee Nation is one for the history books. You might think the first woman to become principal chief of the Cherokee Nation is unrelated to my Sci-fi productions, but the late Wilma Mankiller was a real-life Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor, and like the women of "The Walking Dead" she was a survivor-warrior who stepped up to lead her people. As I sat down to write about Wilma Mankiller and the importance of her legacy,  I thought: Where do I start?  On the leadership front?  How she brought a nation together when many of the men who preceded her had failed?  Or the equally important aspect of her heritage, and how American history has essentially scrubbed the original "Americans"  from our history books?  "Most people like to deal with us as though we were in a museum or a history book," Chief Wilma Mankiller once said of Native American tribes. For Wilma, there is added ins ...
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Huffington Post article
If a Woman's Place Is on the 20
NYTimes - about 2 years
A campaign has begun to put a woman on the $20 bill by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the United States. Who better to make room for a new honoree than the current resident, Andrew Jackson? Even if you don't think he's a genocidal racist, he opposed paper currency. So if we wave bye-bye to Jackson, what woman should we welcome? Responses: Sojourner Truth, Fighter for Universal Freedom Gloria Steinem, feminist activist Emma Lazarus, Muse for a Nation of Immigrants Linda Chavez, Becoming American Institute Susan B. Anthony, the Brightest Star Lynn Sherr, author, "Failure Is impossible" Frances Perkins, Champion of Workers' Rights Kirstin Downey, author, "The Woman Behind the New Deal" Rachel Carson, Environmental Visionary ...
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NYTimes article
Driving Oklahoma
Counter Punch - almost 5 years
It’s unseemly for anyone born and raised in Ohio to criticize any other place on earth. But I recently passed through Oklahoma. Starting from the adopted home base of Killadelphia — city of descending tough guy mayors like Frank Rizzo, MOVEabomber Wilson Goode and, now, raccoon-killer Michael Extermi-Nutter, a city where the pedophile priests and NAMBLA-pamby football coaches roam and the streets overflow with the cheapest narcotics (Philly cheese steaks), a city where the homeless and their outdoor nuisance feedings are now “raptured” out of sight from the brand new Barnes Foundation and where Christian forgiveness is reserved for dogfighting millionaire quarterbacks (so long as they convert on third and ten) — I drove 2700 miles to San Diego. The Pennsylvania turnpike, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois were all uneventful. But somewhere in southern Missouri, towering over the puppy mills (and really blossoming in Oklahoma), the Intercontinental Ballistic Crosses (ICBCs) started to appea ...
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Counter Punch article
Women Honored At Sackler Center First Awards
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
Yesterday 15 women were honored at the fifth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The "firstees," as Toni Morrison called them during her speech, became "permanent members of the symbolic fourth wing" of Judy Chicago's 1970s masterpiece, "The Dinner Party." Each received a translucent glass "Dinner Party"-themed award created by Judy Chicago, who was in excellent form -- she wore a glittery pink, blue and yellow dress and sported rose-colored glasses. Gloria Steinem and Elizabeth Sackler presented awards to these remarkable women who took changes and broke through barriers in order to succeed in their respective fields. From art to finance, these 15 women all had grabbed at the bottom rung of the ladder and climbed all the way to the top. Steinem said, "It's the first celebration of firsts in the first feminist art center in the world." When the authority of these words sunk in, the audience erupted. Linda Nochlin received ...
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Huffington Post article
If the stakes are high enough… - Cherokee Phoenix
Google News - over 5 years
Case in point, Wilma Mankiller and George Bearpaw during the 1995 election campaign. Mankiller wanted Bearpaw to replace her as principal chief and spent thousands of tribal dollars campaigning for Bearpaw across the United States
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Google News article
The story of Bell - Tahlequah Daily Press
Google News - over 5 years
A new movie will highlight a waterline project spurred by the late former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller. By TEDDYE SNELL Staff Writer TAHLEQUAH — Water is essential to all forms of life. The planet is two-thirds water, and the human
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Google News article
Mary Faulkner and the potluck of women's spirituality - National Catholic Reporter (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The writer tells of the impact of women such as Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation who worked tirelessly to improve employment, health, care and the advancement of Native American women. It is all here, “like a survey course
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Google News article
BRIEF: CN: Computer issue handled 'by the book' [Tahlequah Daily Press, Okla.] - TMC Net
Google News - over 5 years
The marshals were asked to observe, in part because in 1995, outgoing Chief Wilma Mankiller was accused of removing tribal property, and in this instance, officials wanted to be sure procedure had been followed to the letter
Article Link:
Google News article
Grayson to continue life of service - Tahlequah Daily Press
Google News - over 5 years
Former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller introduced Grayson to the woman who would become his wife: Gwen, who was working for Mankiller at that time. “Gwen was pretty and has these big, green eyes,” he said. “She was smart, very intelligent
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Google News article
Canterbury: Three stakes on meet's biggest day - Daily Racing Form
Google News - over 5 years
Though winless since May 2010, she's picked up checks this year in the Wilma Mankiller Stakes at Will Rogers Downs and the Lady Slipper here at Canterbury for trainer Francisco Bravo. Mac Robertson will send out Sheso Dazzling in search of her third
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Google News article
Crittenden in as Cherokee deputy chief - Muskogee Daily Phoenix
Google News - over 5 years
Soap, the stepson of the late Wilma Mankiller, campaigned with Principal Chief Chad Smith. Smith's bid for a fourth term has taken a number of twists and turns after the outcome of the general election bounced back and forth between him and Councilman
Article Link:
Google News article
Cherokees begin 2nd manual recount of chief votes - MiamiHerald.com
Google News - over 5 years
Soap, the stepson of the late, legendary Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller, faces Joe Crittenden in a July 23 runoff for the deputy chief's office, and the absentee voting period had begun. The Cherokee Nation is Oklahoma's largest tribe and one of the
Article Link:
Google News article
Longtime Cherokee leaders wage bitter campaign - News On 6
Google News - almost 6 years
Smith came to power in 1999 by defeating Chief Joe Byrd. Byrd's running mate was Baker - who has now served 12 years as a councilor. Smith's running mate is Chris Soap - the stepson of the late Chief Wilma Mankiller
Article Link:
Google News article
Cherokee Nation voters face many decisions - Muskogee Daily Phoenix
Google News - almost 6 years
My stepmother was Wilma Mankiller (former principal chief), so I've been around politics a long time.” Soap said he doesn't anticipate having to change many procedures when in office. He also emphasized that he believes there are opportunities to train
Article Link:
Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Wilma Mankiller
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2010
    Age 64
    In March 2010 she was reported to be terminally ill with pancreatic cancer.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FIFTIES
  • 2004
    Age 58
    In 2004, Mankiller co-authored Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women.
    More Details Hide Details Mankiller is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the first woman chief of a Native American tribe. In the twentieth century, Alice Brown Davis became Principal Chief of the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma in 1922, and Mildred Cleghorn became the Chairperson of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe in 1976. In earlier times, a number of women led their tribes.
  • FORTIES
  • 1994
    Age 48
    In 1994, Mankiller and the singer Patsy Cline were among the inductees into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.
    More Details Hide Details She was also inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1994. A 2013 feature film, The Cherokee Word for Water, tells the story of the Bell waterline project that helped launch Mankiller's political career, and was also the start of her friendship with her future husband, Charlie Soap. In the film, Mankiller is portrayed by actress Kimberly Norris Guerrero, and Soap by actor Moses Brings Plenty.
  • 1991
    Age 45
    After her term as chief, she became a guest professor at Dartmouth College, where, in 1991, she also received an honorary degree. In 1998, Bill Clinton awarded Mankiller the Medal of Freedom.
    More Details Hide Details President Obama said:
  • 1987
    Age 41
    She won several awards including Ms. Magazine's Woman of the Year in 1987, Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame, Woman of the Year, the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, John W. Gardner Leadership Award, Independent Sector, and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1993, Mankiller received the American Association of University Women's Achievement Award.
    More Details Hide Details Her first book, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, an autobiography, became a national bestseller. Gloria Steinem said in a review that, "As one woman's journey, Mankiller opens the heart. As the history of a people, it informs the mind. Together, it teaches us that, as long as people like Wilma Mankiller carry the flame within them, centuries of ignorance and genocide can't extinguish the human spirit." Steinem went on to become one of Mankiller's closest friends.
    She was elected in her own campaign in 1987, and re-elected again in 1991 in a landslide victory, collecting 83% of the vote. In 1995, Mankiller chose not to run again for chief, largely due to health problems.
    More Details Hide Details Mankiller faced many obstacles during her tenure in office. At the time she became chief, the Cherokee Nation leadership was male-dominated. Such a structure contrasted with the traditional Cherokee culture and value system, which tended to include both sexes in leadership positions, though in somewhat different capacities. Over the course of her three terms, Mankiller reinvigorated the Cherokee Nation through community-development projects where men and women work collectively for the common good. These were funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs "Self Help" programs, initiated by the United Keetoowah Band, and with the help of the Federal government's self-determination monies. The projects included establishing tribally owned businesses (such as horticultural operations and plants with government defense contracts), improving infrastructure (such as providing running water to the community of Bell, Oklahoma), and building a hydroelectric facility. Under the US Federal policy of Native American self-determination, Mankiller improved federal-tribal negotiations. She helped prepare for today's Government-to-Government relationship which the Cherokee Nation has with the US Federal Government.
  • 1986
    Age 40
    After many years working together on Cherokee community development projects, Mankiller married her longtime friend, Charlie Lee Soap, a full-blood Cherokee traditionalist and fluent Cherokee speaker, in 1986.
    More Details Hide Details They lived on Mankiller's ancestral land at Mankiller Flats.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1983
    Age 37
    By 1983, Mankiller was elected deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation, alongside Ross Swimmer, who was serving his third consecutive term as principal chief. In 1985, Chief Swimmer resigned when appointed as assistant secretary of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    More Details Hide Details Mankiller succeeded him as the first female principal chief of the Cherokee.
  • 1977
    Age 31
    After divorcing Hugo Olaya in 1977, Mankiller moved back to Oklahoma with her two young daughters, in hopes of helping her people.
    More Details Hide Details She began an entry-level job for the Cherokee Nation.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1969
    Age 23
    In the late 1960s, Mankiller joined the activist movement and participated in the Occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969.
    More Details Hide Details For five years, she volunteered for the Pit River Tribe.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1963
    Age 17
    In 1963, at the age of 17, Mankiller married Hector Hugo Olaya de Bardi, an Ecuadorian college student.
    More Details Hide Details They moved to Oakland and had two daughters, Felicia Olaya, born in 1964, and Gina Olaya, born in 1966. Mankiller returned to school, first at Skyline College, and then San Francisco State University. Her bachelor's degree in the social sciences was from Flaming Rainbow University in Stilwell, Oklahoma and she did graduate work at the University of Arkansas. She had been very involved in San Francisco’s Indian Center throughout her time in California.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1945
    Born
    Born on November 18, 1945.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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