More To The Story: Cherokee leader’s nephew

Dave Staley talks to a local dentist who is a great nephew of the Cherokee leader Wilma Mankiller

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The United States Government is releasing five new quarters this year. Honoring five American women. Five women who’ve made a difference in our country.

One of them is Wilma Mankiller. One of the most powerful women in the history of the Cherokee Nation.

THIS Chattanooga man knew her. Really knew her. And he knows teeth as well. Because you see, Dr. Damien Armstrong is a dentist. And the great nephew of the legendary Wilma Mankiller.

“I knew Wilma decently well. She lived in Oklahoma. I grew up in Montana. Whenever I visited my family in Oklahoma, she was there. People surrounded her. They flocked to her. She was such a sweet lady.

For ten years, Wilma Mankiller was the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The first woman elected to do so. She was an activist, a developer, a social worker and a leader. That’s why her image is on an American coin.

Damien Armstrong says he wasn’t all that surprised to hear about his grandfather’s sister…….his great aunt’s honor.

“I found out about a year ago. They nominated her about a year and a half ago. Officially found out she’d be on the quarter about six months ago.”

All of the coins featuring the five women will be released at various times this year. Family members received the coins in advance.
Damien is the only member of his family that lives here in “The Scenic City.” But no matter where they all live, Wilma Mankiller’s family….walks with pride.

“The family is very proud. They had the ceremony last week. And it was such a cool thing. We all have pride in that, for sure.”

Wilma Mankiller passed away in 2010, at the age of 64. But her legacy lives on forever. A legacy with a link…… Chattanooga.
Dave Staley, News 12

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