Former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller died in the morning hours of April 6 at her home in rural Adair County. Mankiller, who was one of the few women ever to lead a major American Indian tribe, was 64.
Created by CherokeePhoenix on Mar 30, 2010
Last updated: 04/13/10 at 10:14 AM
Wilma Pearl Mankiller dies at the age of 64 at her home in rural Adair County. (Courtesy photo)
Husband Charlie Soap confirms Mankiller is ill with stage IV pancreatic cancer.
Mankiller is named Northeastern State University’s first Sequoyah Institute Fellow. (Photo courtesy of Northeastern State University)
Publishes the book, “Every Day is a Good Day.” (Courtesy Photo)
Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. (Photo by the Associated Press)
Construction of the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell, Okla., is completed in 1995. (Cherokee Phoenix archives)
Mankiller retires from public office after serving 10 years as Principal Chief for the Cherokee Nation.
Retiring from public service, Mankiller announces she will not seek re-election saying her "season at the Cherokee Nation has ended."
Mankiller is inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
Mankiller publishes the book, “Mankiller: A Chief and Her People” and is inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y. (Courtesy photo)
Mankiller is re-elected in a landslide victory, collecting 83 percent of the vote.
Mankiller signs the historic self-governance agreement authorizing the Cherokee Nation to assume responsibility for funds formerly administered by the BIA. (Cherokee Phoenix archives)
Mankiller is freely elected in 1987 as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Mankiller marries Charlie Soap of Adair County. The couple moves to Mankiller's ancestral home in rural Adair County, Mankiller Flats. (Courtesy photo)
Chief Swimmer resigns to take the position as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This allows Mankiller to become the first female principal chief. (Cherokee Phoenix archives)
The Cherokee Nation, led by Principal Chief Ross Swimmer and Deputy Chief Wilma Mankiller, meet the leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians at Red Clay, Tenn., in 1984. The event marked the first joint council meeting between the two tribes in 146 years. (Cherokee Phoenix archives)
Mankiller is elected deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation alongside Ross Swimmer.
Mankiller starts a community self-help project in Bell, Okla., that becomes a model for community development nationwide.
A 1979 car accident nearly claimed her life and resulted in 17 operations.
After divorcing Hector Hugo Olaya de Bardi, Mankiller returns to Oklahoma with her two daughters. She earns a bachelor of arts degree by correspondence from Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities. She begins her career at the Cherokee Nation as a grant writer and later becomes the founding director of CN community development.
Mankiller attends Skyline College and San Francisco State College.
Wilma Pearl Mankiller joined the American Indian activist movement in the late 1960s and participated in the occupation of Alcatraz Island.
At the age of 17, Mankiller marries Hector Hugo Olaya de Bardi, an Ecuadorian college student. They have two daughters, Felicia Olaya, born in 1964, and Gina Olaya, born in 1966.
At age 10, Mankiller's family moved from Mankiller Flats in Adair County to San Francisco as part of the BIA Relocation Program. (Courtesy photo)
Wilma Pearl Mankiller is born in Tahlequah, Okla. at W. W. Hastings Hospital to Charley Mankiller and Clara Irene Sitton. (Courtesy photo)