Wilma Mankiller was born November 18, 1945 in Oklahoma but later relocated due to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Indian Relocation Program of the 1950’s. Because the relocation program failed to keep promises it made to Native Americans, Wilma became an activist fighting for the rights of Native Americans (Wallis).
Wilma Mankiller was the first female elected Deputy Chief and later became the first female in modern history to lead a major Native American tribe by becoming the first Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in 1987. With an enrolled population of over 140,000 members and an annual budget of more than $75 million, her accomplishment is equal to that of a chief ...view middle of the document...
Both styles of leadership have their downfalls, and both styles of leadership have been used successfully to achieve the goals set before the people. In the 20th century, few Indian leaders have achieved national notoriety for their leadership efforts, but among these, Wilma Mankiller has achieved national and international acclaim for her labors (Mankiller and Steinem).
In 1983 she won election as deputy principal Cherokee chief, and when the principal chief became head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1985, Wilma Mankiller succeeded him as principal chief (Yannuzzie). In 1987, Wilma ran again and won by a landslide of 83% of the votes. She did it fighting against the usual barriers set against Native Americans, but also by overcoming the chauvinistic tribal hurdles of fellow Cherokees, who had never before been led by a woman (Harris).
Wilma Mankiller is a humble, soft-spoken woman who has worked to bolster her tribe from the inside out. She has created a better atmosphere for her people; make the lives of Indians of America a little easier; and has called upon the American Government to be held at a greater accountability for their unfulfilled promises to the American Indian (Kauger and Du Bey). She didn’t use the media to bring attention to the dire straits of her people; instead, she employed a go-for-it attitude that has created tangible benefits for her people as they enjoy higher literacy, better healthcare, and lower poverty levels. She emphasized the necessity of retaining certain Cherokee traditions by creating the Institute of Cherokee Literacy.
Women have often been in the vanguard of peace and social justice movements. Across cultures and throughout history, women have experienced ongoing systemic oppression; and they have responded with progressive movements of protest and creative alternatives. Harriet Tubman in the fight against slavery: Fannie Lou Hamer for voting rights: Ella Baker and Mary White Ovington in the civil rights movement: Rosa Luxemburg in the German socialist movement: Winnie Mandela in the anti-apartheid movement: Puerto Rican independence leader and poet Lolita Lebron: and American Indian movement activists Anna Mae Aquash, Ingrid Washinawatok, and Winona LaDuke (Mink and Navarro). Women have pioneered in movements for labor rights, prison reform, reproductive rights and health, education, affordable housing, affirmative action and equal rights, human rights, and environmental safety. These women’s leadership styles span a range from soft to harsh, from wielding individual, hierarchical power to possessing a commitment to collectivism, and from identifying as “woman as caretaker of life” to woman as requiring and utilizing equal power to man. There is no one characteristic that applies to all women as social change leaders (Hurtado).
In the United States and the majority of other countries, a woman has never been president: men still dominate the economy. These factual sociological, economic and...