Books That Inspire 2007

Mankiller: A Chief and Her People
Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis

When I thought of a submission for Books That Inspire with an Oklahoma theme or author, Wilma Mankiller immediately came to mind. She was the first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and the recipient of many honors, including the 1998 Presidential Medal of Freedom. I view this book as an Oklahoma history book from the perspective of an American Indian woman.

Her courage, struggles and accomplishments have broken down barriers for Indian women, and her passion for helping others continues to be an inspiration for me and for other American Indian women who dare to venture into the political world of tribal politics. "Knowing" her has greatly enriched my life and inspired me to continue serving others, especially children and young people. Her message to young American Indian women is that they too can grow up to be "Chief" whether it's the CEO of a large corporation or the chief of their tribe.

"Mankiller: A Chief and Her People" is a colorful history of Oklahoma before statehood: its American Indian people, their history, their culture and rich traditions, their government, their tribal identity and their newspaper which was written in Cherokee and in English - all before statehood. Ms. Mankiller's book educates people about American Indians and their contributions to this great state of Oklahoma.

Francene Monenerkit
Staff Assistant II