WILMA MANKILLER

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Today’s Boss Ass Bitch is Wilma Mankiller

Born on November 18, 1945, in Oklahoma, Wilma Pearl Mankiller was a descendant of the Cherokee,  who were forced to leave their homelands in 1830s;  She grew up on Mankiller Flats, located near Rocky Mountains, Oklahoma, before moving with her family in the mid-1950s to San Francisco, California, in hopes of a better life. 

In the 1960s, Mankiller was greatly inspired by the attempts to reclaim the island of Alcatraz to become more active in Native American issues. She then decided to return to Oklahoma in the mid-1970s. Soon after returning, she began working for the government of the Cherokee Indian Nation as a tribal planner and program developer.

Wilma Mankiller ran for deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1983 and won, subsequently serving in that position for two years. Then, in 1985, she was named the tribe's principal chief—making history as the first woman to serve as principal chief of the Cherokee people. She remained on the job for two full terms thereafter, winning elections in 1987 and 1991. A popular leader, Mankiller focused on improving the nation's government, and health-care and education systems. 

 After leaving office, she continued her activism on behalf of Native Americans and women. She also taught for a short time at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Mankiller shared her experiences as a pioneer in tribal government in her 1993 autobiography, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People. She also wrote and compiled Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women (2004), featuring a forward by leading feminist Gloria Steinem. 

Wilma Mankiller died on April 6, 2010, at the age of 64, in Adair County, Oklahoma.

After learning of Mankiller's passing in 2010, President Barack Obama issued a statement about legendary Cherokee chief: "As the Cherokee Nation's first female chief, she transformed the nation-to-nation relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government, and served as an inspiration to women in Indian Country and across America," he stated. "Her legacy will continue to encourage and motivate all who carry on her work."

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