Obama, BIA head and others praise Mankiller’s life, legacy

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (AP) April 2010

President Barack Obama and others are praising the life and legacy of former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller.

Mankiller battled numerous ailments, including breast cancer and lymphoma, but it was pancreatic cancer that took her life April 6. She was 64. Funeral services were scheduled for April 10th at 11am in Talequah, Oklahoma.

Obama said Mankiller transformed the relationship between her tribe and the federal government and served as an inspiration to all women.

Bureau of Indian Affairs head Larry Echo Hawk says her childhood, her family’s financial struggles and relocation to California as part of a federal government program helped her gain insight on how to improve the lives of her people.

Cherokee Chief Chad Smith said when tribal members can be inspired by Mankiller’s grace in the face of so many trials and tribulations.

Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole says we won’t soon see anyone like Mankiller again.

Comments on Passing of ex-Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller

*****

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wilma Mankiller today. As the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief, she transformed the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the Federal Government, and served as an inspiration to women in Indian Country and across America. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she was recognized for her vision and commitment to a brighter future for all Americans. Her legacy will continue to encourage and motivate all who carry on her work.” – President Barack Obama.

*****

“We are saddened by the passing of our friend Wilma Mankiller, a woman who exemplified the enduring strength of the human spirit. As the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, she was not only the guardian of the centuries-old Cherokee heritage but a revered leader who built a brighter and healthier future for her nation. During her two terms, she worked to create jobs, break down social and economic barriers, improve access to health care, and address the roots of both rural and urban poverty. She led her people with dignity and grace, fostering a sense of community, cooperation, and shared values.” – Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

*****

“We feel overwhelmed and lost when we realize she has left us but we should reflect on what legacy she leaves us. We are better people and a stronger tribal nation because her example of Cherokee leadership, statesmanship, humility, grace, determination and decisiveness. When we become disheartened, we will be inspired by remembering how Wilma proceeded undaunted through so many trials and tribulations. Years ago, she and her husband Charlie Soap showed the world what Cherokee people can do when given the chance, when they organized the self-help water line in the Bell community. She said Cherokees in that community learned that it was their choice, their lives, their community and their future. Her gift to us is the lesson that our lives and future are for us to decide. We can carry on that Cherokee legacy by teaching our children that lesson.” – Current Cherokee Chief Chad Smith.

*****

“All Oklahomans and every Native American who knew her mourn the passing of Wilma Mankiller. Chief Mankiller was not only the first woman to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, she was a national icon and role model for women and Native Americans everywhere. Her strong, visionary and principled leadership set a standard seldom equaled and never to be surpassed. I had the opportunity over the years to get to know Chief Mankiller personally. She was tough, shrewd and dedicated to the well-being of the Cherokee Nation and all Native Americans. No one more fiercely defended the concept of tribal sovereignty, yet no one was more willing to partner with others of different backgrounds and points of view than Wilma Mankiller. ... We’ll not soon see her like again.” – U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

*****

“We have lost an inspirational leader and a great American, someone who was truly a legend in her own time. As a leader and a person, Chief Wilma Mankiller continually defied the odds and overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to better her tribe, her state and her nation. Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation and the United States will dearly miss Wilma and her visionary leadership, but her words and deeds will live on forever to benefit future generations.” – Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry.

*****

“Throughout her long career of advocating the best for her people, and all of Indian Country, Wilma was a shining example of courage and leadership for all Americans. We will miss her dearly, but we know that her spirit and example live on, encouraging all American Indians to stand up for what they believe in and to step up and accept the challenge of serving in leadership roles.” – U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

*****

“She willingly reached out beyond her tribal community and Indian Country in search of solutions to the social and economic challenges facing the Cherokee people, while sharing her knowledge and insights with anyone who needed them. We honor her with our gratitude for all she has contributed in service to her people and to Indian Country. Her personal experiences in childhood of the economic struggles of her family and the impact of the federal government’s relocation policy on her life led to insights into what should be done, and could be done, to improve the lives of all Indian people. – Assistant U.S. Interior Secretary Larry Echo Hawk, who heads the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

*****

“Wilma Mankiller broke down barriers as the first female Cherokee chief, and her legacy will continue for generations to come. She overcame many obstacles and never backed down to a challenge, which serves as a lesson to all of us as we seek to make our state a better place for all its people.” – Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, who is part Cherokee.

*****

“Chief Wilma Mankiller brought honor to Oklahoma and the Cherokee tribe through her leadership not only within our state and among tribal leaders, but certainly her influence was felt across our nation. She leaves a legacy of service that will be sorely missed by all.” – Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

*****

“She just impacted so many Cherokee lives. She was a tireless worker for the people who had very little. She never spent a day not making sure that the needs of the Cherokee people were addressed.” – Oklahoma State Rep. Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita, a former member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council.

*****

“Oklahoma has lost a legend. Chief Mankiller was a true trailblazer in our state’s history, as well as an esteemed and revered leader of her tribe. Her leadership is an inspiration to us all, reminding us to challenge the status quo and overcome barriers for the betterment of our neighbors, our communities and our nation as a whole.” – U.S. Rep Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma.

***** 

“She was a pioneer for her generation, and for the generations of women to follow. It would be hard to overstate what a great role model she was, not only as a woman and a Cherokee, but as a leader and a public servant. Her death is a loss for all Oklahomans.” – Oklahoma House Democratic Leader Danny Morgan of Prague.

*****

“This is a great loss, for the Cherokee tribe, for the Tahlequah community, and for the state of Oklahoma. Her leadership and her policies will have a continuing effect for decades to come. It was my honor to have known her, and to have seen first-hand the positive impact of her leadership.” – Oklahoma State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, who is Cherokee.

*****

“The loss of Wilma Mankiller is a loss for all of Oklahoma. She was a true icon and a pioneer – breaking barriers for women and for all of Indian Country. Through scores of trials and mountains of adversity, Wilma Mankiller always pressed on with her work to advance the causes nearest to her heart. She pressed on, with the weight of previous generations and the hope of future generations always on her mind, directing her to do the most good. Chief Mankiller championed community development, focusing those around her on working for the common good. She fostered government-to-government relations between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government, creating an era of mutual respect and recognition. Wilma Mankiller will be dearly missed, but her legacy will always live and her fight will go on.” – Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Todd Goodman.

*****

 
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wilma Mankiller today. As the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief, she transformed the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the Federal Government, and served as an inspiration to women in Indian Country and across America. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she was recognized for her vision and commitment to a brighter future for all Americans. Her legacy will continue to encourage and motivate all who carry on her work.” – President Barack Obama.

*****

“We are saddened by the passing of our friend Wilma Mankiller, a woman who exemplified the enduring strength of the human spirit. As the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, she was not only the guardian of the centuries-old Cherokee heritage but a revered leader who built a brighter and healthier future for her nation. During her two terms, she worked to create jobs, break down social and economic barriers, improve access to health care, and address the roots of both rural and urban poverty. She led her people with dignity and grace, fostering a sense of community, cooperation, and shared values.” – Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

*****

“We feel overwhelmed and lost when we realize she has left us but we should reflect on what legacy she leaves us. We are better people and a stronger tribal nation because her example of Cherokee leadership, statesmanship, humility, grace, determination and decisiveness. When we become disheartened, we will be inspired by remembering how Wilma proceeded undaunted through so many trials and tribulations. Years ago, she and her husband Charlie Soap showed the world what Cherokee people can do when given the chance, when they organized the self-help water line in the Bell community. She said Cherokees in that community learned that it was their choice, their lives, their community and their future. Her gift to us is the lesson that our lives and future are for us to decide. We can carry on that Cherokee legacy by teaching our children that lesson.” – Current Cherokee Chief Chad Smith.

*****

“All Oklahomans and every Native American who knew her mourn the passing of Wilma Mankiller. Chief Mankiller was not only the first woman to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, she was a national icon and role model for women and Native Americans everywhere. Her strong, visionary and principled leadership set a standard seldom equaled and never to be surpassed. I had the opportunity over the years to get to know Chief Mankiller personally. She was tough, shrewd and dedicated to the well-being of the Cherokee Nation and all Native Americans. No one more fiercely defended the concept of tribal sovereignty, yet no one was more willing to partner with others of different backgrounds and points of view than Wilma Mankiller. ... We’ll not soon see her like again.” – U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

*****

“We have lost an inspirational leader and a great American, someone who was truly a legend in her own time. As a leader and a person, Chief Wilma Mankiller continually defied the odds and overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to better her tribe, her state and her nation. Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation and the United States will dearly miss Wilma and her visionary leadership, but her words and deeds will live on forever to benefit future generations.” – Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry.

*****

“Throughout her long career of advocating the best for her people, and all of Indian Country, Wilma was a shining example of courage and leadership for all Americans. We will miss her dearly, but we know that her spirit and example live on, encouraging all American Indians to stand up for what they believe in and to step up and accept the challenge of serving in leadership roles.” – U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

*****

“She willingly reached out beyond her tribal community and Indian Country in search of solutions to the social and economic challenges facing the Cherokee people, while sharing her knowledge and insights with anyone who needed them. We honor her with our gratitude for all she has contributed in service to her people and to Indian Country. Her personal experiences in childhood of the economic struggles of her family and the impact of the federal government’s relocation policy on her life led to insights into what should be done, and could be done, to improve the lives of all Indian people. – Assistant U.S. Interior Secretary Larry Echo Hawk, who heads the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

*****

“Wilma Mankiller broke down barriers as the first female Cherokee chief, and her legacy will continue for generations to come. She overcame many obstacles and never backed down to a challenge, which serves as a lesson to all of us as we seek to make our state a better place for all its people.” – Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, who is part Cherokee.

*****

“Chief Wilma Mankiller brought honor to Oklahoma and the Cherokee tribe through her leadership not only within our state and among tribal leaders, but certainly her influence was felt across our nation. She leaves a legacy of service that will be sorely missed by all.” – Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

*****

“She just impacted so many Cherokee lives. She was a tireless worker for the people who had very little. She never spent a day not making sure that the needs of the Cherokee people were addressed.” – Oklahoma State Rep. Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita, a former member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council.

*****

“Oklahoma has lost a legend. Chief Mankiller was a true trailblazer in our state’s history, as well as an esteemed and revered leader of her tribe. Her leadership is an inspiration to us all, reminding us to challenge the status quo and overcome barriers for the betterment of our neighbors, our communities and our nation as a whole.” – U.S. Rep Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma.

*****

“She was a pioneer for her generation, and for the generations of women to follow. It would be hard to overstate what a great role model she was, not only as a woman and a Cherokee, but as a leader and a public servant. Her death is a loss for all Oklahomans.” – Oklahoma House Democratic Leader Danny Morgan of Prague.

*****

“This is a great loss, for the Cherokee tribe, for the Tahlequah community, and for the state of Oklahoma. Her leadership and her policies will have a continuing effect for decades to come. It was my honor to have known her, and to have seen first-hand the positive impact of her leadership.” – Oklahoma State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, who is Cherokee.

*****

“The loss of Wilma Mankiller is a loss for all of Oklahoma. She was a true icon and a pioneer – breaking barriers for women and for all of Indian Country. Through scores of trials and mountains of adversity, Wilma Mankiller always pressed on with her work to advance the causes nearest to her heart. She pressed on, with the weight of previous generations and the hope of future generations always on her mind, directing her to do the most good. Chief Mankiller championed community development, focusing those around her on working for the common good. She fostered government-to-government relations between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government, creating an era of mutual respect and recognition. Wilma Mankiller will be dearly missed, but her legacy will always live and her fight will go on.” – Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Todd Goodman.


 

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