The First Woman Cherokee Chief
In 1985, Wilma Pearl Mankiller became the first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She had to convince her people that the chief should be the best person for the job, man or woman. Before the English came to what is now the United States, Cherokee women and men shared the leadership of the tribe. This created balance. But the English colonists told the Native People that men should be in charge. It stayed that way for many years, until Wilma Pearl Mankiller made history. She used the concept of gaduji, of everyone helping each other, to make the Cherokee Nation strong.