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Mankiller: A Chief and Her People Paperback – August 11, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (August 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312206623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312206628
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since 1985 Wilma Mankiller has been Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the first woman to hold this post in a major tribe. Her work in rural development, especially the Bell Project in Oklahoma, has received national acclaim. With Wallis ( Route 66 ), Mankiller recounts the tragic history of the Cherokees and her own personal struggles. In the 1950s, her family moved from rural Oklahoma to San Francisco in a government relocation project. It was a traumatic change for the 11-year-old and her 10 brothers and sisters and brought her face-to-face with racism and poverty. The 1969 Indian occupation of Alcatraz, which she supported strongly and participated in to a slight degree, proved a turning point in Mankiller's life. She became an activist in Indian affairs, eventually leaving her husband and returning with her two daughters to her old home. Surviving a debilitating automobile accident and a kidney transplant, she continues to lead her people. In this inspiring story, Mankiller offers herself as a valuable role model--for women as well as Native Americans. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Written jointly with Wallis ( Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles Arthur Floyd , LJ 3/1/92, among others), this book is an adroitly fashioned dual story of Chief Mankiller's life and a compact history of crucial and poignant episodes in Cherokee history. This contemporary account of the first woman principal chief of the Cherokee Nation describes the development of a modern-day leader. A tale of personal triumphs and tragedies, it begins with a childhood spent on an allotment farm in Mankiller Flats, Oklahoma, and moves through teenage years in the 1960s as an "urban Indian," a near brush with death, and a life of solid accomplishment in service and tribal leadership rooted in Cherokee culture. As more Native American women are celebrated, it is hoped that many high-quality books like this one will appear. Shelve it next to Gretchen M. Bataille's Native American Women (Garland, 1993). Enthusiastically recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/93.
- Margaret W. Norton, Montay Coll., Chicago
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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For anyone interested in Native American History this is an excellent book.
Amber
Wilma Mankiller's book held my attention with a narrative of her life and a historical account of the Cherokee People.
Lisa Gatz
It's history mixed in with personal story-telling and it's a wonderful way to read this book.
Busy Mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Doris Hale on November 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I spent a whole weekend not just reading but absorbing this work of Wilma Mainkiller.On Sunday I could only describe feeling wonderfully enriched by the experience both personally, as a Euro- and Native American person and also as an American. All of us have been denied major parts of our comon American history with the repression of Native American History. The mid section of the book is purely historical, and so much of it was news to me! (I thought that I knew Native history and yet it would prove that I had alot to learn that weekend.) The interection of Cherokee and African American history is fascinating ! It is a reoccuring theme. What history books cover that? The focus is usually Euro-American to Native American, or Euro-American to African-American. At a personal level the experience was tremendous. Putting personal information together with her history, I learned that I have a matrilineal clan affliation (bird). I feel that as the result of her work I myself ,my family, and descendents have connected with something that would have otherwise been lost. Generations ago, two orphaned Cherokee boys were adopted by a white family in Georgia. One later went "white' the other "red". This is not just my personal background. This is a metaphor for so much of American history. Truely, Cherokee culture is the best kept secret in America today, as the author writes. It is our common cultural heritage, like jazz, like democracy. I relish reading other works by this author ! Doris Hale
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on August 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this one in four days ~~ it helped that we had some downtime while camping in a small state park. It is a wonderful memoir about a strong woman who, in spite of physical obstacles, managed to lead the second largest Indian Tribe in America. It is not just a memoir about a strong woman, it is also a history of a strong Indian tribe. It is an absolutely wonderful book and one that every serious reader of history should read.

I picked this book up two years ago while traveling in Cherokee, NC, and never found the time to read it till recently, when I knew that we would be outside and camping again. (It seems that I do my best reading when we're traveling ...) I found the subject title fascinating and when I did finally get to the book, I found it even more fascinating and curious. This is a woman in every sense of the word. Wilma Mankiller is a heroine that every woman should look up to ~~ young and old.

Wilma Mankiller grew up in poverty-stricken Oklahoma and while she was still young, her family relocated to California as part of the Native American relocation program that was offered just after WWII. She grew up in California, married young and had two daughters. She became involved with the civil rights movement and at the same time, she has never lost sense of her own heritage. After her marriage fell apart, she moved back home to Oklahoma, went onto working for the Cherokee National Tribe doing various things and eventually became the first Woman Chief. Intermixed with her personal tale are ancient stories from the Cherokee history ~~ of the times before they left their homelands, about the Trail of Tears, and so on. It's history mixed in with personal story-telling and it's a wonderful way to read this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
The author does an excellent job of reviewing Cherokee history and explaining how the Cherokee individual has assimilated into today's American culture. It was pointed out that education has always been highly valued in the Cherokee tradition and the tribe has remained alive and well because culture never dies when there is communication. The Cherokee people highly value the history of their matriarchs. Women were respected and valued in the tribe. That tradition has surfaced in this century with the leadership of Ms. Mankiller. On a personal note, it was enlightening that Wilma shared much of her personal life with us, the readers. She is blessed to have found a life-partner with Charlie. He comes from a good family. I used to watch the Soap boys play basketball in school. Thanks for a good book about a great people.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found it very hard to close this book! I was riveted to Chief Mankiller's every word and finished her book still wanting more. Her knowledge of Cherokee history and legend is vast and taught me many things I never knew. Also, her strength and enduring spirit is inspiring to me as a Cherokee. She succeeded, through her own life story, in instilling a new sense of pride in me that has made me become more involved in keeping native american culture alive and well. After reading her book I truly felt proud to be Cherokee. She should be an inspiration to us all. Highly recommended reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
This rewarding tome from Wilma Mankiller, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1985 to 1995, alternates between her autobiography and a tribal history. The book's structure is often awkward, but we get more than just the instructive story of a courageous woman who rose to be a great leader among her people. Most rewarding is a crucial recent history of Native Americans and their modern struggles, which are rarely covered in more anthropological histories. Especially stirring are Mankiller's coverage of yet another disastrous federal relocation program for Indians in the 1950s, and unique perspectives on internal Cherokee politics. There are a few problems with this book, such as when Mankiller tries to deliver a social history of her coming-of-age in the late 1960s but keeps falling into thin baby boomer nostalgia, while she mostly avoids several controversies that developed during her term in office (which are covered in-depth in other sources). The tail end of the book also devolves into attempts at inspirational self-help platitudes. But Wilma Mankiller emerges here as a strong human being who overcame great personal struggles to become an effective leader, and her perspectives on the challenges faced by her people are essential reading for any concerned American. [~doomsdayer520~]
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