The First Woman Cherokee Chief: Wilma Pearl Mankiller

Random. (Step into Reading). Feb. 2023. 48p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593568514; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593568507.
Gr 1-3–For many years, the Cherokee nation lived harmoniously with men and women taking equal responsibility and leadership over the tribe. Once European settlers arrived to Cherokee lands, they convinced the tribe that leadership positions were only to be held by men. Wilma Pearl Mankiller was born in 1945 in Oklahoma, on Cherokee land, and lived there for a long time with her family. Her father was eventually pressured to leave and move the family to the city. It took many years, but eventually Mankiller realized that her mission in life was to protect Native Americans’ rights within the United States. In 1987, she became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. Written in simple language, this easy reader is an appropriate biography for younger elementary grade students and also serves as a wonderful introduction to Indigenous culture and the movement to restore rights to these tribes. The illustrations are cartoonlike and will appeal to young readers, but there is an actual picture of Mankiller embedded in the mix. This is an easy-to-read book that serves as a reminder to stand up for the rights of cultures and genders.
VERDICT Recommended for purchase in a school or public library, this work is historically accurate on an underrepresented topic in the curriculum.

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