TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A standing-room-only crowd gathered in Tahlequah to celebrate the life and legacy of the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief, Wilma P. Mankiller, who is now immortalized on a U.S. quarter released June 6.
“She’s a legend,” Cherokee Nation citizen Henry Carey Jr., 66, of Tahlequah, said. “She deserves it. Wilma Mankiller, she was a freedom fighter, fighting way before she was chief. I really respect her. So I wanted to get some of these quarters.”
Current and past tribal leaders, Mankiller’s family, friends and hundreds of others turned out for the release of a limited number of the coins, which feature the late chief wrapped in a traditional shawl with “a resolute gaze to the future” on the reverse side.
“Wilma Mankiller demonstrated grit and determination,” current Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “She fought for justice for Native Americans. She inspired us all to do more to help ourselves as a people. She made this world a better, fairer and more just place. She did all of this, by the way, before she ever held public office.”
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