Chief Wilma Pearl Mankiller

Chief Wilma Pearl Mankiller

Tahlequah, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 6 Apr 2010 (aged 64)
Stilwell, Adair County, Oklahoma, USA
Burial Stilwell, Adair County, Oklahoma, USA
Plot Southeast Corner
Memorial ID 50707945 · View Source
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Cherokee Chief, Activist and Author. Wilma Mankiller rose from being a dirt poor Oklahoma farm girl, on a farm dubbed Mankiller Flats near Stilwell, Adair County, Oklahoma, to become the first woman to hold the Cherokee Nation's highest office. She served as the Cherokee Nation's principal chief from 1985 to 1995. In the late 1960's, she became an activist for American Indian causes and women's rights. Among her many awards and honors, she was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. She talked about her life and accomplishments in her autobiography, "Mankiller: A Chief and Her People." She had a very dry sense of humor and when asked how she got her surname of Mankiller, she would often reply: "I earned it." She worked tirelessly for decades to encourage self sufficiency to her people and urged them to preserve the Cherokee culture and traditions. She was very proud of an inspiring project, the "Bell Waterline Project" that she and her husband, Charlie Soap directed about thirty years ago. She called this project, an affirmation of the human spirit. This project set the movement for self help and became a model for others, of how to develop a community. Her leadership and achievements are an inspiration for girls and women everywhere, to never let anyone define you. She handled the personal tragedies and health issues in her life with strength, grace and dignity.

Bio by: Donna



"I want to be remembered as the person who helped us restore faith in ourselves"



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ken Oliver
  • Added: 6 Apr 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 50707945
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Chief Wilma Pearl Mankiller (18 Nov 1945–6 Apr 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 50707945, citing Echota Cemetery, Stilwell, Adair County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .