Joplin Globe: Wilma Mankiller was a truly inspiring leader
"The words of Wilma Mankiller would serve us all well in these uncertain times. They certainly provided inspiration for members of the Cherokee Nation.

Mankiller died at her home in Adair County, Okla., earlier this week at the age of 64 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, a foe she was unable to conquer.

The first woman in history to lead an American Indian tribe, Mankiller made a name for herself in 1969 when she took part in an American Indian activism revolt. She and 78 other Native Americans took control of the former federal prison on Alcatraz Island to protest a policy that terminated the federal government’s recognition of tribal sovereignty. The standoff lasted 19 months.

But it was her work in creating jobs and economic opportunities for the tribe that made her worthy of her title as chief. The Rev. Cassie Tritthart, 27, of Joplin, a member of the tribe, grew up in Miami, Okla., and the legacy of Mankiller is one she says she will always remember.

“We would have no economic opportunity existing in the tribe,” Tritthart said. “We wouldn’t have our own fire departments ... health clinics. ... We wouldn’t have Indian housing available. She started all of that. I got to see all of that growing up.”"

Get the Story:
In our view: Inspiring leader (The Joplin Globe 4/9)

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

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