One of the most prominent leaders of the late 20th century bore a surname that spoke of her impact on the Cherokee Nation, U.S. politics, and indigenous peoples’ rights across the globe. Wilma Mankiller was born on November 18, 1945, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. One version of her surname, Outacity, is an honorary title conferred on a person with exceptional skill in warfare. The title also sometimes refers to individuals who can change minds and affect bodies to avenge wrongs. From her early experiences as an activist and community organizer to her leadership of the Cherokee Nation as the first female Principal Chief in modern history, Wilma Mankiller was just such a persuasive force and role model for Cherokee sovereignty.

Political and Cultural Consciousness

Her family left their ...

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