November 18, 1945

“One of the things my parents taught me, and I’ll always be grateful… is to not ever let anybody else define me; that for me to define myself.”

Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller the first female elected to be Chief of the Cherokee Nation was born.

Wilma Pearl Mankiller was an American Cherokee activist, social worker, community developer. On December 5, 1985 she became the first woman elected to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. In 1994, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as well as the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas. That same year, Mankiller was invited by Clinton to moderate the Nation-to-Nation Summit, in which leaders of all 545 federally recognized tribes in the United States were assembled to discuss a variety of topics. The summit provided a forum for tribal leaders and government officials to resolve issues concerning jurisdiction, law, resources, and religious freedom. (Wikipedia)

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Related Articles:

  • “Wilma Mankiller’s descendants remember Cherokee Nation’s 1st woman chief” | NPR
  • “Wilma Mankiller Quarter- American Women Quarters” | U.S. Mint 
  • “Just doing “what I could,” Wilma Mankiller changed Native America” | Smithsonian Magazine
  • “The Life of Wilma Mankiller, First Woman to Serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation” | National Trust for Historic Preservation 
  • “Throwback Tulsa: Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief Wilma Mankiller” | TuslaWorld