Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea

A statute of Sakakawea, with her son Jean Baptiste strapped to her back, represents North Dakota in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Photo from Architect of the Capitol

A group called Women on 20s wants to convince President Barack Obama to put a woman on the $20 bill.

But of the 15 candidates being pushed as a replacement for president Andrew Jackson, none represent Indian Country. The omission hasn't gone unnoticed -- Ginnie Graham suggested the late Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected to lead the Cherokee Nation, in a column for The Tulsa World.

"The Tahlequah native became the first woman to lead the Cherokee tribe in modern times by focusing on social and financial issues," Graham wrote of Mankiller in the March 18 column. "During her decade as chief, Mankiller tripled the tribe’s enrollment, doubled employment and built health centers and education programs."

"A best statement would be to honor a Native American in place of the president who was called 'Indian Killer,'" Graham concluded

A reader of The New York Times also has a suggestion that represents Indian Country. Sakakawea was the only woman on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

"It’s unlikely that she will appear on the $20 since no portrait of her survives," David Forster writes in a letter to the paper. "Nevertheless, considering Andrew Jackson’s treatment of Native Americans, her picture replacing his would be poetic justice."

Although no Indian women are among the top 15 candidates, the Women on 20s group said Wilma Mankiller was a serious contender. Others who were considered included Sakakawea, Sarah Winnemucca of the Northern Paiute people in Nevada, Queen Alliquippa of the Seneca Nation and Queen Ka’ahumanu of Hawaii.

Related Stories:
Column: Replace an Indian killer on $20 bill with Wilma Mankiller (3/18)

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