30 years ago today, Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to be elected chief of a major American Indian tribe. As Cherokee chief for a decade, she revitalized the Nation’s tribal government and improved its education, health and housing. During her tenure the nation’s membership more than doubled, to 170,000. The Oklahoma resident, who died at the age of 69, was the author of a bestselling autobiography, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People and co-authored Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Roald Amundsen‘s exploration team became the first to reach the South Pole (1911)
- The Clash released London Calling, an album mix of punk, reggae, rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and hard rock, which was ranked #8 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (1979)
- Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe taking office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (1985)
- The Dayton Accord was signed by leaders of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia ending the bitter three-year Bosnian war (1995)
- President Bill Clinton watched as hundreds of Palestinian leaders renounced a call for the destruction of Israel (1998)
- The highest bridge in the world, the Millau viaduct, was officially opened near Millau, France (2004)