“It is crucial to tell stories like Wilma’s that inspire women across the globe to have their voices heard. I am happy the documentation of her struggle will be in the capable hands of Gale Anne Hurd and Valerie Red-Horse.”

Liz Garbus, Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker



MANKILLER is a documentary celebrating a leader who defied all odds to make a difference for her people. During a time when American Indians found themselves disenfranchised and undervalued by the United States at large, Wilma Mankiller overcame rampant sexism and personal challenges to emerge as a champion of the Cherokee Nation and became its first female Principal Chief in 1985. As a young girl, Wilma’s family was relocated from Oklahoma to San Francisco and although traumatic, it was in the California Bay Area that she gained valuable life experience during the turbulent 60s, being active with the Black Panthers and the Alcatraz Occupation. She brought this passion back to her people and became a unique servant leader and community organizer reigniting faith in themselves. Mankiller served three terms as the Cherokee’s highest leader, laying important foundations for the current Cherokee Nation’s economic and cultural status as one of the most successful tribes in America. Wilma Mankiller’s leadership style, her ability to organize a community with quiet influence and humility, are all qualities that are extremely topical. Wilma lived her life with the philosophy of “Ga-Dugi” which translated means “in a good way”.  MANKILLER reunites the accomplished documentary team of Gale Anne Hurd/Valhalla Entertainment as Executive Producer and Valerie Red-Horse Mohl/Red-Horse Native Productions as Director/Producer. Charlie Soap, Wilma’s widower, Stacy Mahoney and Kristina Kiehl also serve as producers and Felicia and Gina Olaya (Wilma’s daughters) join the production team as co-producers. Funding was provided by Vision Maker Media and through crowd funding via Kickstarter. The International Documentary Association serves as the fiscal sponsor. 

As the artistic director for the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, this has been the year of the ‘Woman’. Wilma Mankiller was a true revolutionary who stood for what we fight for today. Gale Anne Hurd and Valerie Red-Horse are the perfect producers to trust with her story.
— Paola Mendoza, Artistic Director of the Women’s March on Washington