By Carter Camp
I just received this sad news about our friend and comrade in the movement, Chief Wilma Mankiller. It seems she is reaching the end of her journey now and our prayers are needed for her safe and easy passage to the spirit world. Wilma has always been so strong it's hard to believe she's leaving us but I know she's at home trying to cheer everyone up and being strong for her family.
I met her back in the early 70's in the Bay area when Dennis Banks and I helped her start an alternative school. We set up a drum in her back yard and sang warrior songs far into the night even though the neighbors thought they were going to be attacked and scalped. Soon she returned home to her people and did many great things for them. In their appreciation and in recognition of her work they elected her the first woman Chief of the Cherokee Nation in the modern era.
Although she was known internationally and won many awards Wilma remained the same homegirl we always knew, much more at home among her folks than speaking at the United Nations or to the American Congress although she was magnificent there too. She liked powwow dances and Indian doings all her life, she loved her family and her Cherokee people above all else and they are all better off because she was their Chief. We are all better off because we knew her and can see the mark she left on this world for Indian women and for us all. Many words will be spoken for Wilma in the coming days, all of them deserved, I can only add my few in tribute to my friend, my sister, Chief Wilma Mankiller.
So tonight my relations we must take out our sacred items and use our sacred herbs on behalf of this great soul and the family she leaves behind. In the morning we will see our Grandfather rise in the East and we'll ask him to watch out for our warrior friend as she continues her journey in this life and the next.