Friday, April 9, 2010

In History: Wilma Mankiller

This is the 20th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

I realize most of you have probably already heard this news, but I can't not write something about it. On April 6, Wilma Mankiller died. Here is how the New York times begins its obituary for her:
Wilma Mankiller, who as the first woman to be elected chief of a major American Indian tribe revitalized the Cherokee Nation’s tribal government and improved its education, health and housing, died Tuesday at her home near Tahlequah, Okla. She was 64.
Her death was covered by pretty much every major media outlet and feminist blog, so a Google search will turn up a ton of information if you want to read more about her. For quick reference, here are some of her other achievements (via):
  • She won several awards including Ms. Magazine's Woman of the Year in 1987, Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame, Woman of the Year, the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, John W. Gardner Leadership Award, Independent Sector, and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Her first book, "Mankiller: A Chief and Her People," an autobiography, became a national bestseller. In 2004, Mankiller co-authored "Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women."
  • In 1994, Mankiller and the singer Patsy Cline were among the inductees into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.
And here is President Obama's statement about her death:
"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wilma Mankiller today. 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. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she was recognized for her vision and commitment to a brighter future for all Americans. Her legacy will continue to encourage and motivate all who carry on her work. Michelle and I offer our condolences to Wilma’s family, especially her husband Charlie and two daughters, Gina and Felicia, as well as the Cherokee Nation and all those who knew her and were touched by her good works."

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