Courtesy of the United States Mint

A new quarter honors Native American leader and activist Wilma Mankiller – the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. 

The United States Mint made the announcement about the quarter on June 6 – the latest coin to count as part of an initiative to celebrate prominent American women. Now available for shipping, it’s the third coin in the American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program. 

“It is my honor to present our Nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” Ventris C. Gibson, Mint deputy director, said. 

“Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program,” Gibson said. “Wilma Mankiller was a leader in the Cherokee Nation and a strong voice worldwide for social justice, Native people and women.”

Mankiller served as the first woman elected chief of the Cherokee Nation. Her administration revitalized the Cherokee Nation through extensive community development, including health care and education improvements, said The Mint.  

In addition, Mankiller’s leadership on social and financial issues made her tribe a national role model.

On the coin, Mankiller can be seen wrapped in a traditional shawl with the wind at her back. To her left – the seven-pointed star of the Cherokee Nation. 

The inscriptions on the coin include: “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “QUARTER DOLLAR,” “WILMA MANKILLER,” “PRINCIPAL CHIEF” and the name of the Cherokee Nation written in the Cherokee syllabary.

Authorized by Public Law 116-330, the American Women Quarters Program features coins with reverse (tails) designs emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of trailblazing American women. 

The Mint will issue five quarters per year beginning in 2022 and continuing through 2025. 

The ethnically, racially and geographically diverse group of individuals honored through the program reflects a wide range of accomplishments and fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts, said The Mint. 

Additional 2022 quarters still to be released will honor Nina Otero-Warren, the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools, and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood. 

Previously released quarters include Maya Angelou and Dr. Sally Ride.

“Principal Chief Mankiller demonstrated that the power to change our communities is limited only by our vision,” Benjamin Sowards, Mint Coin artist, said. 

“She saw her people as the source of hope for the Cherokee Nation. She believed the strength of the community offered solutions to the challenges they were facing,” he said.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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