In her compelling story, Mankiller describes both the triumphs and hardships of being the first female chief of a large tribe. She honors and ...Show synopsisIn her compelling story, Mankiller describes both the triumphs and hardships of being the first female chief of a large tribe. She honors and recounts Cherokee history, including the historic Trail of Tears, and tells of her own family's relocation when she was only 10 years old. 32 pages of photos.Hide synopsis
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In "Mankiller: A Chief and Her People," author and former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller recounts her experiences growing up on reservations, government relocation, and her activism in Indian affairs.
This book is well written and offers, if nothing else, of a peek into the mid 20th century Native American and reservation experience.
There is no doubt that those of us with Native American heritage, particularly Cherokees, have been dealt less than a fair hand throughout the history of the United States, but I find it unfortunate when such potentially powerful leaders of social movements that seek to rise above past adversities, place generalized blame on "white" community at-large. It is regrettable that Mankiller, who is herself half-white, can wholly reject one part of her heritage while fully embracing another.
Mankiller speaks with contempt of the "white lady" do-gooders, who tried to reach out to her as a reservation bound child. This is precisely the type of racial bitterness that keeps many fellow Native Americans depressed and feeling helpless and reservation bound.
Cherokee heritage has a long history of acceptance and assimilation, not necessarily into white culture either. Other cultures (even Europeans) were long welcomed into early tribal clans.
While we must never forget the reprehensible Trail Of Tears or any other federally sanctioned forced relocation of any tribe, there comes a time when all persecuted cultures must move foreword. We must begin to embrace the long acknowledged civility and citizenship of the Cherokee people and stop seeking modern scapegoats for our periods of misery.
Having said this, I commend Mankiller for achievements in both American and Cherokee societies. To have witnessed the transitions of Native American culture at the height and hub of the American Civil Rights Movement grants Mankiller the prerogative to share her story and her perspective in this book.
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