Wilma Mankiller was born on November 18th, 1945 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She came from a "poor family" but not "desperately so" according to her autobiography Wilma Mankiller : A Chief and her Peopl. Her family was then relocated from their Native lands in 1959 due to the Federal Iendian Relocation Act. Mankiller's family moved to San Francisco. She was part of a Indian womens movement that did a protest on Alcatraz Island . In the late 1970's she went back to her people and started working for the Cherokee Nation. In 1983 Mankiller won a position titled deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation. In 1985 their Chief resigned and in 1987 she was elected as Chief. Proceeding elections were landslides in her favor. During her three terms as Chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma mankiller instituted the practice of Gadukgi, where the women and men work equally and collectively together. Her push towards a gender quilibrium was due to a male dominance of leadership in the tribe when she took her position of Chief. Another thing that she did was helped member s of the tribe to get out of debt and welfare. Another accomplish while being Chief of the Cherokee Nation the population rose from 55,000 to 156,000. She is also credited heavily for the Cherokee nation for being one of the few self sufficient tribes still in the United States. From 1979 to 1980 were years marred with sickness and injury. In 1979 while in the car with a friend they were in a head on collision that was nearly fatal. The nin 1980 she was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis,"grave muscular weakness." The most common form of MG is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups. She then went in and had to have a kidney transplant in 1987 where her brother was the donor. Also in 1987 she was Ms Magazines Women of the year.
I have heard of Chief Wilma Mankiller before, i took a course with Dr. Lynda Dixon, and one of her books was our reading selection for that course. I think that with her election as the first female chief of a native American tribe. Also how she reincorporated a lost equality into their culture, gives a lesson to everyone. She still work vigorously to this day fighting for Native American and Womens rights withing the Cherokee Nation. I think we can learn much from Wilma Mankiller in her efficiency in progressing the Cherokee Nation as well as pushing a better sense of equality onto her people.