Wilma Mankiller

(Wilma Pearl Mankiller)

Wilma Mankiller
Wilma Mankiller
  • Born: November 18, 1945
  • Died: April 6, 2010
  • Nationality: Native American (Cherokee)
  • Profession: Statesman









Wilma Pearl Mankiller was an activist, social worker, community developer and the first woman elected to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, she lived on her family's allotment in Adair County, Oklahoma, until the age of 11, when her family relocated to San Francisco as part of a federal government program to urbanize Native Americans. After high school, she married a well-to-do Ecuadorian and raised two daughters. Inspired by the social and political movements of the 1960s, Mankiller became involved in the Occupation of Alcatraz and later participated in the land and compensation struggles with the Pit River Tribe. For five years in the early 1970s, she was employed as a social worker, focusing mainly on children's issues.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
[Describing her role:] It's like running a big corporation and a little country at the same time. Management & Managing Government
From the outside you may see all the social indicators of decline, but from the inside I see an extremely tenacious people interested in holding on to their traditions. Minorities & Women
If you want to change something, you’ve got to go where the people are. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
In our culture, the people who have the most respect are not those who have the most material possessions or those who have accomplished the most. It is the people who have helped others the most. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Indians are immigrants like everyone else, they just came earlier Immigration & Emigration
It takes 4 generations to heal one act of violence Health, Healthcare & Medicine
I've run into more discrimination as a woman than as an Indian. Discrimination & Prejudice
Most of our history has been recorded orally. Among us Cherokee people we used to have people who were trained to listen at all meetings and then pass it on. History
The Cherokee Nation has had a government for a long, long, long time. We had a government in this country long before there was a United States government. States. Nations & Nationhood
The leadership we saw in our communities may not have looked like leadership that you see in the external world, but the leadership existed. You could find the leadership just by seeing who people go to when there's a time of crisis in the community. Leaders & Leadership
The most important attribute of leadership is to trust yourself and believe in your own thinking. Leaders & Leadership
A lot of young girls have looked to their career paths and have said they'd like to be chief. There's been a change in the limits people see.
America would be a better place if leaders would do more long-term thinking.
Everybody is sitting around saying, 'Well, jeez, we need somebody to solve this problem of bias.' That somebody is us. We all have to try to figure out a better way to get along.
Growth is a painful process.
I don't think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Future
I want to be remembered as the person who helped us restore faith in ourselves. Religion & God
In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people. Society ;Future
Individually and collectively, Cherokee people possess an extraordinary ability to face down adversity and continue moving forward.
Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief.
The secret of our success is that we never, never give up. Success
There are a whole lot of historical factors that have played a part in our being where we are today, and I think that to even to begin to understand our contemporary issues and contemporary problems, you have to understand a little bit about that history. History
We must trust our own thinking. Trust where we're going. And get the job done. Trust