Today, I am grieving. I just read that Former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller has died and now I am in mourning.
And although I had never met her, I was/am deeply proud of Wilma Mankiller. As the first woman to lead the Cherokee Nation, it was exciting and deeply satisfying that she was also a strong feminist.
She resembled my mother in many ways, especially her younger photos. I used to wonder if my mother would have turned out like her if she had been allowed to grow up in her own culture. I loved to read her words, hear her speak and gaze at her photos. It was as if my mother was still alive and was still able to impact this world in the flesh.
And I confess that I loved her family name. I wondered what our family name had been. I use to pretend in my fantasies that we were related somehow. But truthfully, my mother was from the eastern band.
I am so sorry she spent so much of her later life ill, a trait she shared with my mother. And they both died so incredibly young -- Mankiller at 64, my mother at 59. It is maddening how often this happens for Native American women ... especially the strong ones.
I want to scream ... and tear at my hair ... and go burn something the fuck down! I am so angry ... and hurt.
Why do *we* die so quickly when all the terrible fucks live on and on ...
I know ... I know ... there is no answer ... only pain and grief.
Wilma Mankiller .. Rest in peace ... What is remembered lives ...