Wilma Mankiller is featured on the third quarter minted in this new program. She was the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and an activist for Native American & all women’s rights.
She was born in 1945 in the Cherokee Nation. Her family suffered devastation to their land after the drought in the 1950s and they were moved to a housing project in California, where young Wilma experienced culture shock, exacerbated by poverty and racism.
In 1977, Mankiller returned to Cherokee Nation where she founded the Community Development Department. She led the creation of community water systems and rehabilitation of houses during the administration of Principal Chief Ross Swimmer. She later became Swimmer's Deputy Chief and after Swimmer left office to lead the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1987, she became Principal Chief.
In four years, Mankiller was re-elected as Principal Chief by a landslide. She tripled her tribe’s enrollment, doubled employment, and built new housing, health centers, and children’s programs in northeast Oklahoma. Under her leadership, infant mortality declined and educational levels rose. Her leadership on social and financial issues made her tribe a national role model. After leaving office in 1995, she remained a strong voice worldwide for social justice, native people, and women.
Mankiller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
Note: Due to high demand, American Women Quarter rolls, are limited to one per purchase.