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New quarter honors Native American leader and activist Wilma Mankiller : NPR


Wilma Mankiller is honored with a new American quarter.

J. Pat Carter/AP


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J. Pat Carter/AP

New quarter honors Native American leader and activist Wilma Mankiller : NPR

Wilma Mankiller is honored with a new American quarter.

J. Pat Carter/AP

Some coin enthusiasts may add a quarter dedicated to the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief to their collections on Monday.

The Wilma Mankiller Ward is the third coin issued under a US Mint program celebrating the achievement of various prominent women in American history.

Mankiller led the Cherokee Nation from 1985 to 1995 and is credited with boosting tribal enrollment and employment and reforming tribal programs for health, children, and housing.

On one side of the quarter there is a portrait of President George Washington. On the other side, you will find the late chief in a traditional shawl. To its left is the seven-pointed star of the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee National History Museum in Tahlequah, Okla., will host a launch event and live stream Monday morning, where some of the pieces will be made available to the public.

Wilma Pearl Mankiller was born in 1945 in Tahlequah. The surname “Mankiller” refers to a traditional Cherokee military rank, such as captain or major.

“I speak quite softly and people kind of have an image of what a woman named Mankiller would look like, and I don’t think I really fit their image,” she said. Fresh air in 1993. “And I know that’s an unusual name so I, you know, I’m not defensive or offended by people’s reaction.”

Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major Native American nation in the United States. She served two years as Deputy Principal Chief from 1983 to 1985, followed by a decade as Principal Chief.

New quarter honors Native American leader and activist Wilma Mankiller : NPR

The Wilma Mankiller neighborhood is posted in Denver in March. The Mint is hosting a release event Monday at the Cherokee National History Museum.

Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images


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Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images

New quarter honors Native American leader and activist Wilma Mankiller : NPR

The Wilma Mankiller neighborhood is posted in Denver in March. The Mint is hosting a release event Monday at the Cherokee National History Museum.

Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images

Under his leadership, tribal enrollment tripled, employment doubled, and new housing, health centers and children’s programs were established, according to the Wilma Mankiller Foundation.

In 1998, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

Mankiller nearly died in a serious car accident in 1979. She said the experience changed her life, in that it led her to accept what she called a Cherokee approach to life.

“I think the Cherokee approach to life is to be able to continually move forward with some kind of good spirit and not focus on the negative things in your life and the negative things that you see around you, but focus on the positive things and try to look at the big picture and keep moving forward,” Mankiller said. Fresh air in 1993.

“[It] also taught me to look at the big things in life rather than focusing on the little things, and it’s also terribly, terribly hard to shake myself off after dealing with my own mortality… so the things that I learned from those experiences actually empowered me to lead. Without those experiences, I don’t think I would have been able to direct. I think I would have been caught up in a lot of absurd things.”


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