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Wilma Mankiller
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Native American Icon
    (November 18, 1945-April 6, 2010)
    Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma
    Wilma Pearl Mankiller
    First woman Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1985-1995)
    Founded the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department
    Author of 'Mankiller: A Chief and Her People' and 'Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women'
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, in 1998
    Wow, that's one ball-buster of a last name...
    She is sometimes identified as 'the first woman chief of a Native American tribe' when she wasn't.
    She passed a law limiting tribal membership by excluding the Freedmen section of Cherokee Indians listed on the Dawes Rolls.
    The law was later ruled unconstitutional by the Cherokee Nation's Judicial Appeals Tribunal/Cherokee Supreme Court (2006).
    Her administration had a contentious relation with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB), frequently questioning its jurisdiction and passing laws closing the territory's smoke shops.
    A lawsuit was filed against her over allegations of embezzlement of tribal funds at the end of her last term in office, which was eventually withdrawn by a vote of the tribal council.
    She attained 'final four' finalist status to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill, out of 100 nominees, but not by popular vote.
    Rather, her inclusion on the final ballot was honorary - due to 'strong public sentiment' that a Native American woman should be an option to replace a President responsible for the 'Trail of Tears.'
    She was the sixth of eleven children.
    She was of Dutch-Irish descent on her mother's side (her father was a full-blooded Cherokee).
    She was a participant in the Occupation of Alcatraz Island protest, in 1969.
    She expanded health care and job-training programs during her time as chief.
    The Cherokee Nation saw a population increase of Cherokee Nation citizens from by over 100,000.
    She faced sexism prior to, and after becoming chief, the Cherokee Nation's leadership was almost completely male-dominated.
    She was a close friend and colleague of Gloria Steinem.
    She was named Ms. Magazine's Woman of the Year, in 1987.
    She was credited with improving federal-tribal negotiations into the 21st-century.
    She endured numerous health problems throughout her life, particularly after surviving a near-fatal car accident which required multiple surgeries, in 1979.
    She was inducted along with Patsy Cline into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth (1994).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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