Indigenous Peoples: Then and Now

Lesson 15


Describe why Wilma Mankiller was a hero.

Readings and Materials

  • Video: “Mankiller” by PBS 

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Target Task


Writing Prompt

Why was Wilma Mankiller a hero? Give two to three NEW examples from the video. 

Mastery Response


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Key Questions


  • 0:00–9:30

    What role did women play in Cherokee culture? Give two examples. 

    What does it mean for history to repeat itself? Why was Wilma Mankiller’s relocation to California like history repeating itself?

    Give two to three examples of what life was like for Wilma and her family when they relocated to San Francisco.

  • 11:10–14:50

    What were Indigenous people fighting for at Alcatraz Island?

    How did Alcatraz influence Wilma Mankiller? Give two to three specific reasons.

  • 17:20–20:35

    What was life like for Wilma and her daughters when they returned to Oklahoma?

    How had Cherokee society changed while she was gone? Give two examples.

    How did she inspire change? Give an example of a program she brought to the Cherokee community.

  • 24:00–27:00

    What work did Wilma do in Bell?

    How did Wilma bring the community in Bell back together? Use the words “hope” and “self-determination” in your answer. 

  • 33:01–35:15

    What is sexism? What sexism did Wilma face?

    How did Wilma overcome the sexism she faced? 

  • 37:27– 40:45

    How did Wilma Mankiller use the power of community to help the Cherokee Nation? 

    Why did people respect Wilma?

    Why did the Cherokee Nation want self-governance?

  • 42:23–44:40

    What does it mean to be a feminist? Why is Wilma a feminist? 

    How did Wilma inspire others? Give a specific example. 

  • 51:31–end 

    What impact did Wilma have on the world?



relocation     (n.)

the act of moving something (or someone) to a new place

poverty     (n.)

the state of being poor

sovereignty     (n.)

a country's independent authority and the right to govern itself

Enhanced lesson plan

Enhanced Lesson Plan

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Common Core Standards

  • RI.3.2 — Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

Spiral Standards