Modern Cherokees' First Female Chief Shines in 'Mankiller'

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Wilma Mankiller is sworn into office as Deputy Chief of Cherokee Nation in 1983. (Photo: Courtesy of Wilma Mankiller Foundation )

The documentary "Mankiller" follows the story of Native American and women's rights activist Wilma Mankiller, who was the first female elected first principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. As chief, Mankiller improved the nation's health care, education and housing systems, and developed partnerships with the U.S. government. Even towards the end of her life, Mankiller remained a force in tribal affairs. We speak with the filmmakers about her early roots as a Bay Area activist and the barriers she broke in the indigenous community.


Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of "Mankiller"

Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, director and producer of "Mankiller;" owner/founder of Red-Horse Native Productions

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