WILMA MANKILLER: Leader of the Cherokee Nation by Della A. Yannuzzi

WILMA MANKILLER: Leader of the Cherokee Nation

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chief Wilma Mankiller was born a Tahlequah, Okla., farm girl in 1945. Although they were poor, the Mankillers were happy in the heart of the Cherokee nation until a couple of bad harvests in a row made them seek government aid. Offered help only if they relocated to a big city, they chose San Francisco. In San Francisco, Mankiller faced racial hatred as well as the shocking change from rural to urban life. She was unhappy, but eventually adapted -- with the help of a loving grandmother who took her in for a year and a father who believed in maintaining strong ties with the Cherokee culture. Mankiller graduated high school, worked briefly, and then married. She had two children and was a housewife and mother until she decided to go to college. There the women's and Indian rights movements sparked her interest in helping her people. She and her husband eventually divorced, and Mankiller moved with her daughters back to Oklahoma. She worked to help Indian communities and eventually became first deputy chief and finally principal chief of the Cherokees. As chief she has worked hard to promote financial independence and self-determination for her nation. Newcomer Yannuzzi offers a fine biography of an amazing woman who, despite constant health troubles and harsh discrimination, leads the Cherokee nation toward an increasingly hopeful future.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
Page count: 104pp
Publisher: Enslow