Former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller Passes
Former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller died in the morning hours of April 6 at her home in rural Adair County, Cherokee Nation officials confirmed to the Cherokee Phoenix. Mankiller, who was one of the few women ever to lead a major American Indian tribe, was 64. Her passing came a little more than a month after her husband, CN Community Services Group Leader Charlie Soap, announced that she was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. “Our personal and national hearts are heavy with sorrow and sadness with the passing this morning of Wilma Mankiller,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in a statement released by the tribe. “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."