A Woman to Know: Wilma Mankiller

A lot of young girls have looked to their career paths and said they'd like to be chief. There's been a change in the limits people see. - Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller was the Cherokee Nation's first female chief and a fierce advocate for native rights. As chief in Oklahoma, Mankiller increased tribal enrollment and employment, built new housing and medical centers and laid the foundation for a massive rethink in tribal education, emphasizing the preservation of ancestral culture, stories and customs.

After leaving chiefhood, Mankiller became a national force for social issues and women's liberation, touring with Gloria Steinem and other activists. Louise Erdrich put it best:

In America, the most widely recognized Native American women are the ones who contribute to the national mythos (in story) by assisting white men in the business of taking Indian — Pochahontas and Sacagawea. Wilma Mankiller was another kind of woman entirely.

And, I mean, that last name. Right? Right? Add to your reading list:

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*~ Thank you to so many of you for recommending Wilma as a woman to know! Ms. Mankiller starred in a *very early* issue of this newsletter but, you know, she's been a super popular request and way more of you have subscribed since then so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ~*

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