Sue Masten: Wilma Mankiller stood strong for tribal nations
"We, the founding board members of Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations, are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of sister, colleague and friend, the honorable Wilma Mankiller. But we also celebrate her life and her wonderful contributions to this country.

Wilma always exemplified strength, courage, compassion and a willingness to serve the people. Not only was she the first principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and a nationally recognized leader, she was a tireless advocate for women, communities and causes that would improve Native America.

She had vision, and a commitment to help Indian people in any way she could, often volunteering to help with her leadership, time, energy and ideas. For Native women everywhere, she was an inspiration and a role model – overcoming poverty, government relocation and personal health challenges to lead her people.

Wilma was undaunted in her efforts to bring the problems of Indian country into the national spotlight, meeting Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton to seek solutions. She was eventually honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her dedication and hard work, an award she truly deserved.

Wilma understood what it takes to build healthy Native communities. “I’d like to see whole, healthy communities again, communities in which tribal members would have access to adequate health care, higher education if they want it, a decent place to live and a decent place to work, and a strong commitment to tribal language and culture,” she once said."

Get the Story:
Sue Masten: Wilma Mankiller: Standing strong for Indian nations (Indian Country Today 4/8)

Relevant Documents:
CNO Press Release | White House Statement | DOI Statement

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