Mattel Releases Native American Wilma Mankiller Barbie, Cherokee Nation Chief Issues Statement
KTUL - November 13, 2023 6:10 am
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — For its “Barbie Inspiring Women” series, Mattel released a Barbie of Native American and women’s rights activist Wilma Mankiller.
Wilma Mankiller was the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and is known for having advocated for Native American, women’s, and children’s rights. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.
The doll of Mankiller is carrying a woven basket based on an iconic photograph of her and wears a vibrant cloth dress with stripes to represent the four compass directions. The stripes and their colors symbolize her commitment to all people throughout the world.
Mattel credits Carlyle Nuera as the designer of the Barbie.
Mattel says Nuera took inspiration from the iconic photo of Mankiller to emulate her richly colored turquoise dress and basket.
Current Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin Jr. shared the following statement on the doll’s release:
When Native girls see it, they can achieve it, and Wilma Mankiller has shown countless young women to be fearless and speak up for Indigenous and human rights. She not only served in a role dominated by men during a time that tribal nations were suppressed, but she led. Wilma Mankiller is a champion for the Cherokee Nation, for Indian Country, and even my own daughter. She truly exemplifies leadership, culture and equality and we applaud Mattel for commemorating her in the Barbie Inspiring Women Series.