Cherokee Nation celebrates release of Wilma Mankiller Barbie

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TALEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation is celebrating iconic chief, Wilma Mankiller, and the new Barbie doll made in her image.

Family and friends of the first woman principal chief came together on the very day she was sworn in back in 1985.

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“There may be no such thing as a perfect human, but that woman was as close to perfection as anyone of us could ever dream to be,” said Kellen Quinton, Wilma Mankiller’s grandson.

Family and friends spoke during the celebration of the newest addition to Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series.

The doll commemorates the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief, Wilma Mankiller, who led the tribe for a decade.

“They did sell out, as you know, within 24 hours,” said Charlie Soap, Mankiller’s husband.

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“I think of these little Cherokee children, playing with their grass dolls. And today, we have Cherokee children playing with the Wilma Mankiller Barbie,” said Felicia Olaya, Mankiller’s daughter.

Mankiller focused on improving social conditions and restoring pride in Native heritage.

“Mankiller embodied qualities of strength, resilience and trailblazing leadership to align with Barbie mission to inspire and empower,” said Kim Teehee, the Cherokee Nation Delegate.

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Mankiller proved to be inspiring to all, even current tribal leaders.

“If a chief will tell you the truth, they’ll tell you they want to be Wilma Mankiller when they grow up,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “She used her power as chief to keep striking at the conscious of the united states for it’s broken promises and just as important, it’s opportunities to make right what it had gotten so wrong by indigenous peoples.”

There has been some controversy over the doll’s likeness to Mankiller. Her husband said he is certain she would be pleased with how it came out and would laugh at the critics.

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