Who Am I?

Original illustration courtesy of Emily Owen @emilyowenartist on Instagram
  1. I was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in 1945 and was relocated to San Francisco through a federal program that sought to assimilate Native peoples to urban areas off-reservation.
  2. I was introduced to political activism in San Francisco, where I faced poverty, discrimination and racism.  
  3. I protested in support of the Black Panther Party and African Americans in the late 1960s.
  4. I continued my community activism as a member of the American Indian Party.
  5. I protested with other Native Americans to get back the land that was occupied by Alcatraz Island. “Throughout the Alcatraz experience and afterward, I met so many people from other tribes who had a major and enduring effect on me. They changed how I perceived myself as a woman and as a Cherokee,” I said in my autobiography, A Chief and Her People.
  6. After I had a big car accident, I was put in a wheelchair for over a year and after that had many surgeries. I continued to have injuries and was diagnosed with lymphoma, a neuromuscular disorder, and kidney failure.
  7. In 1985, I was the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation and served for three terms.
  8. I was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the year in 1985. 
  9. During my tenure, I worked to enact policies that centered around healthcare, education and social programs. 
  10.  I doubled the tribe enrollment, created new health centers and increased housing. I resigned as principal chief because of poor health in 1995.
  11.  For my efforts, I received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.
  12.  I had a huge impact on the Cherokee Nation and Indian affairs in the United States, and my work is appreciated among Native Americans. 
  13. I died on April 10, 2010, in Oklahoma. 


Answer: Wilma Mankiller.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *