Wilma Mankiller Biography

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Wilma Pearl Mankiller was born to Charley Mankiller, a full blooded Cherokee Indian, and Clara Irene Sitton of Dutch-Irish descent on November 18, 1945 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capitol city for the Cherokee Nation. She was the 6th child of 11 children born to the family. Wilma Pearl Mankiller became the first female chief of the Cherokee Indian Nation. Wilma Mankiller, whose family surname “is an old military title that was given to the person in charge of protecting the village” (powersource.com), grew up on 160-acre piece of land given to her paternal grandfather “as part of a settlement the federal government made for forcing the Cherokee to move to Oklahoma from their tribal lands in the Carolinas and Georgia in the 1830s” (Verchock), this move between territory’s is known as the Trail of Tears. During the time of her youth in the early 1950’s, the Bureau of Indian affairs initiated policy to remove and relocate Indians from the reservations. This initiative was inacted to address the poor economic conditions and unemployment experienced on the …show more content…

Wilma Mankiller is the author of a national-bestselling autobiography, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People and co-authored Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women. On 04/30/2015, Wilma Mankiller was nominated as one of four potential female candidates to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. “In what some may see as an ironic twist or perhaps even poetic justice, Mankiller’s face could ultimately replace that of the president who enforced the 1830 Removal Act. This act sent the U.S. Army to force 17,000 Cherokee, including Mankiller’s great-grandfather, to walk the “Trail of Tears” from their southeast homeland to Oklahoma with little clothing, food, medicines or shoes” (Mintpress). On 04/06/2010, at the age of 64, Willa Mankiller succumbs to pancreatic cancer. She is survived by her second husband Charlie Soap, her daughters Felicia and Gina, many grandchildren and several

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