Opinion: Mankiller's death a huge loss for Indian Country
"I was heartbroken and deeply saddened to learn of the death of former Cherokee Tribal Chief Wilma Mankiller.

I want to share my personal experiences because I was blessed with her council and her wisdom on several occasions during my life.

When I was a young woman, I read an article in Parade Magazine about the first Native American woman I had ever seen in print, Wilma Mankiller.

I had never met, saw, or heard of Native Americans in my world, and I no idea what it meant to be a Native child, due to being raised in a non-Native family. This is pre-Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, a federal law that gives jurisdiction over adoption and custody of Native American children.

It was enacted by Congress because of the high removal rate of Indian children from their traditional homes and communities, at a time when 25 to 35 percent of Native American children were being removed from their Indian homes and placed in non-Indian homes.

When I was a young woman, Mankiller was the only woman I had even identified with, and she inspired me to do my best which was not an easy feat being raised by loving parents of two separate races, cultures, traditions and backgrounds."

Get the Story:
PATRICIA ECKER: Mankiller's death a big loss for Indian country (The Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun 4/12)

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

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