State News

Posted: Dec 04, 2023 9:52 AMUpdated: Dec 04, 2023 9:52 AM

Barbie Doll Honoring Cherokee Nation Leader Met With Mixed Emotions

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Nathan Thompson

Toy maker Mattel is honoring the late, legendary Cherokee leader Wilma Mankiller with a Barbie doll as part of its "Inspiring Women" series. A ceremony honoring Mankiller's legacy is set for Dec. 5 in Tahlequah, where the tribe is based.

Mankiller, who died in 2010, was the first female chief of a major Native American tribe and led the Cherokee Nation from 1985 to 1995. During that time the tribe tripled its enrollment, doubled employment and built new health centers and children’s programs.

But not all Cherokee Nation citizens are embracing the idea of honoring Mankiller with a doll. Some Cherokees say she was known for her humility and would not have appreciated a doll with her likeness.

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