Wilma Mankiller was the first ever female Chief of the Cherokee people. She was a fighter, personally and professionally. Surviving a near fatal car accident, cancer, lymphoma and a kidney transplant, Mankiller’s resilience and work ethic helped grow and develop her nation’s tribe from 55,000, to over 150,000. She also preached civil rights, created programs for improved working conditions for women, bridged the gap between the US and Tribal government, dramatically improved the infrastructure on the Cherokee reservation.. the list goes on and on. In 1998, she was the Presidential Medal of Freedom award winner, amongst the numerous other distinctions in her career.