Cherokee Ex-Chief Wilma Mankiller Dies

Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokees, from 1985 to 1996, has died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, and other illnesses. Under her leadership, the Cherokee tribe tripled enrollment and doubled employment; in 1998, President Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In addition to her recent illnesses, she survived a 1979 car crash that required 17 surgeries, a muscular disorder called myasthenia gravis, and a kidney transplant in 1990.