Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller honored by U.S. Mint, image appears on new quarters

Special event held in Tahlequah, Okla. at the Cherokee Nation capital included the late Chief's daughters and her widower
press conference
U.S. MINT RELEASES CHEROKEE CHIEF WILMA MANKILLER QUARTER TO MASS CIRCULATION — TALEQUAH, Okla. — The late Chief Wilma Mankiller is honored by the U.S. Mint with a quarter released to mass circulation. Her daughters accepted commemorative copies in an event Monday morning. Screenshot press conference courtesy Cherokee Nation.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The U.S. Mint and the Cherokee Nation announced today a limited number of the 2022 Wilma Mankiller Quarters were released to the public in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee Nation, BancFirst, U.S. Mint and Wilma Mankiller Trust partnered to host the “Wilma Mankiller Quarter Release and Celebration” event.

The event honored the life and work of the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation was held at the Cherokee National Capital Museum.

Chief Wilma Mankiller quarter

Courtesy U.S. Mint.

“Traditionally women have had an important leadership role in our Indian Nations, so we are deeply honored for Wilma to be recognized along with the other great women selected to be represented on the quarter,” said Charlie Soap, Wilma’s widower, executive of her trust and a former Director of Community Programs during her term as Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Mankiller was elected chief in 1987, and four years later, re-elected in a landslide. She tripled the tribe’s enrollment, doubled employment, and built new housing, health centers and children’s programs in the Cherokee Nation Reservation. Under her leadership, infant mortality declined and educational levels rose. Her leadership on social and financial issues made the Cherokee Nation a national role model. After leaving office in 1995, she remained a strong voice worldwide for social justice, native people, and women.

Mankiller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

According to the U.S. Mint, only two other Cherokee Nation citizens, Mary Golda Ross (gold $1 coin) and Sequoyah ($1 uncirculated $1 coin) have coins in their names. This is the first to be in mass circulation as a quarter.

Mankiller died on April 6, 2010, at the age of 64, in Adair County, Oklahoma. She was survived by her second husband, Charlie Soap, whom she married in 1986. He spoke at today’s event which can be viewed in whole here. 

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