Wilma P. Mankiller

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Chief Wilma P. Mankiller, "former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma. The first woman in modern times elected to lead a major tribe, she honed her organizing skills in California. The occupation of Alcatraz by American Indians influenced her evolution as activist, community organizer, and ultimately, tribal government leader. When Mankiller moved back to Oklahoma to reconnect with her Cherokee roots, she quickly started economic development projects and entered politics. In spite of difficulties, was able to stay highly focused on her priorities for the tribe: rural development and health care. Mankiller received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, and a health clinic in her name is one of her proudest achievements." [1]

"Chief Mankiller has been recognized and honored by various organizations for her distinguished work with the public and for her basic philosophy of the empowerment of people at the local level. Representative honors she has received include: American Indian Woman of the Year, 1986; Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame, Governor's Advisory Committee, 1986; Woman of the Year, Ms. Magazine, 1987; John W. Gardner Leadership Award, Independent Sector, 1988; and the Indian Health Service Award, U.S. Public Health Service, 1989.“ [2]

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