NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Wilma Mankiller (1945 - 2010)
Wilma Mankiller’s father was a Cherokee Native American, and Wilma had a deep appreciation for her Cherokee heritage. She was Director of the Native American Youth center in Oakland, California and became a baccalaureate level social work student. In Oklahoma, she founded and directed the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department where she identified new strategies for implementing renewal projects for rural Cherokee communities. She became the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and facilitated establishment of the office of Indian Justice within the U.S. Department of Justice.