Barbie doll honors Wilma Mankiller, First Female Cherokee Chief

Barbie Doll honors Wilma Mankiller and is celebrating the achievements of the late Wilma Mankiller, a renowned activist and the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, with a new doll in its Inspiring Women series. The doll’s design was shaped with input from Mankiller’s estate and representatives from the Cherokee Nation, reflecting her appearance in a 2005 photograph. Mankiller, described as a champion for the Cherokee Nation, is remembered for her advocacy for Native American communities and commitment to constructive engagement with the federal government.

The Wilma Mankiller doll is part of the Inspiring Women Series launched in 2018 by Mattel, immortalizing historic women who challenged boundaries, paved the way for future generations of girls, and inspired them to dream big. Mankiller, who passed away in 2010 from pancreatic cancer, advocated for the self-determination of Cherokee people and was dedicated to enriching the lives of Native American communities in numerous ways. Her work continues to inspire people today.

Barbie Honors Native American Activist Wilma Mankiller in Latest Inspiring Women Series Release

Mattel, the company behind the famous Barbie doll line, recently announced its latest release for the ‘Inspiring Women’ range: a tribute to Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation and a key Native American activist.

Design Involvement by Wilma Mankiller’s Estate and Cherokee Nation Reps

In a careful and respectful tribute to Mankiller’s legacy, both her estate and representatives of the Cherokee Nation were involved in the design process. The doll’s depiction is based on a 2005 photograph taken by her husband, Charlie Soap. The involvement of Mankiller’s loved ones and community representatives in the creation process shows the commitment of Mattel to accurately and respectfully portray Mankiller’s legacy.

Mankiller’s Legacy

Wilma Mankiller, born in 1945, led a life defined by her unwavering advocacy for Native American communities and their challenging relationship with the federal government. She joined the larger movement for Native American self-determination inspired by the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island by Native American students and activists.

Her commitment was evident in her work as a social worker and community advocate in California’s Bay Area before moving back to her home state, Oklahoma. Here, she pioneered community development projects, such as the Bell Waterline Project – a significant 16-mile waterline construction among the Cherokee community in Oklahoma.

Barbie doll honors Wilma Mankiller
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In her 10-year service as the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1985, Mankiller worked tirelessly to improve healthcare and housing services in her community. Her leadership revitalized the Nation’s tribal government and underscored her commitment to Cherokee self-determination. Mankiller’s legacy stands testament to her relentless commitment towards the Cherokee Nation’s welfare and her dedication to the principle of ‘Gadugi’- a term signifying community work for the greater good.

Mattel lauded Mankiller’s profound impact on women’s rights and her fortitude in breaking barriers, calling her an inspiration for Native communities worldwide. The Wilma Mankiller Inspiring Women doll is now available at the Mattel Shop and in retail stores.

The Inspiring Women series

The ‘Inspiring Women’ series, unveiled by Mattel in 2018, features dolls in the likeness of historical female figures who pushed boundaries, established precedents and inspired future generations of girls. The range includes women like civil rights champion Ida B. Wells, renowned singer Celia Cruz, pioneering pilot Bessie Coleman, and trailblazer actress Anna May Wong.

The latest addition of Wilma Mankiller to this illustrious list serves not just as a tribute, but also an enduring testament to her unforgettable legacy.

In conclusion, the release of the Wilma Mankiller Inspiring Women doll by Barbie is more than a tribute to a remarkable woman; it’s a powerful reminder of her strength, courage, and tireless advocacy for the rights and welfare of her people. By creating a doll in her image, Barbie is contributing to keep her story alive, inspiring countless future generations to dream and strive for change.
Categories: Social Good


Who is Wilma Mankiller?

Wilma Mankiller was a Cherokee activist and the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She focused on improving the nation’s government, healthcare, and education system.

Why does she have her own Barbie doll?

Wilma Mankiller has her own Barbie doll as part of Mattel’s “Inspiring Women” series, which honors historical and present-day role models who have made significant contributions to society.

What other women have been honored in the “Inspiring Women” series?

Other women honored by the series include civil rights activist Rosa Parks, astronaut Sally Ride, and pilot Amelia Earhart.

What impact does this have?

Barbie is celebrating her achievements and inspiring future generations of girls to break ceilings and limits by producing a doll in the likeness of Wilma Mankiller.