Along with Navajo Nation President Peterson Zah, co-chaired a national conference between tribal leaders and cabinet members which helped facilitate the establishment of an Office of Indian Justice within the U.S. Department of Justice.
Along with Navajo Nation President Peterson Zah and other elected tribal leaders selected by their peers, met with Presidents Reagan, Bush, Sr. and Clinton at the White House to present critical tribal issues.
Led a Cherokee Nation team that obtained a Congressional appropriation to build an $11 million Job Corps Center in Tahlequah as well as the John Ketcher Youth Shelter, a homeless shelter for children and youth of all races.
Led a Cherokee Nation Industries team that successfully obtained a special IRS tax letter ruling which allowed the firm to continue to operate as a state chartered corporation but remain free of state taxation when the land was placed in trust. This has saved the company millions of dollars in state taxes.
Led the team that conceptualized, obtained the venture capital, and put on the ground most of the businesses which now comprise Cherokee Nation Enterprises.
Led a team that conceptualized, designed and obtained funding for a series of free standing rural health care clinics, totaling more than $20 million. Also signed some of the first Public Health Service and Interior self-governance compacts in Indian country.
Founded and served as the first Director of the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department which has received a number of national awards for innovative projects utilizing self-help.
Wilma has a bachelor’s degree in Social Services. She has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the International Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She has l8 honorary doctorates from universities, including Yale, Dartmouth and Smith Colleges. She was a Chubb Fellow at Yale and a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth. She has presented more than l00 lectures at universities and published more than a dozen papers in journals and newspapers.
She is a trustee of the Ford Foundation and the Freedom Forum’s Newseum. She co-edited R20;A ReaderR17;s Companion to the History of Women in the U.S., Houghton-Mifflin, co-authored, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, St. Martin’s Press, and her newest book, Every Day is a Good Day” was published by Fulcrum Press in the fall of 2004.
She is one of a handful of Native Americans recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.