"This is a very important book. It could be the most important of this new century if it were to get the mindfulness it deserves."—Gloria Steinem, from the introduction
In this rare and intimate glimpse at the resilience and perseverance of Native women, twenty indigenous female leaders—educators, healers, attorneys, artists, elders, and activists—come together to discuss issues facing modern Native communities. This illuminating book found its genesis with Wilma Mankiller (1945–2010), first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. Over a period of several years, Mankiller engaged indigenous women in conversation about spirituality, traditions and culture, tribal governance, female role models, love, and community. Their common life experiences, patterns of thought, and shared values gave them the freedom to be frank and open, and a place of community from which to explore powerful influences on Native life.
Wilma Mankiller spent most of her life in the rural community of Mankiller Flats in Adair County, Oklahoma. Her lifetime of activism began in 1969, when she took part in the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island. She became the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985, a position she held for ten years. Mankiller has been honored with many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and honorary doctorate degrees from Yale University, Dartmouth College, and Smith College. She passed away April 6, 2010, at her home on the Mankiller family allotment.