The story of Wilma Mankiller, the first modern female Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
The Cherokee Word for Water is a feature-length motion picture that tells the story of the work that led Wilma Mankiller to become the first modern female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Set in the early 1980s, The Cherokee Word for Water begins in the homes of a small town in rural Oklahoma where many houses lack running water and others are little more than shacks. The movie is told from the perspective of Wilma Mankiller and full-blood Cherokee organizer Charlie Soap who join forces to battle opposition and build a 16-mile waterline system using a community of volunteers. In the process, they inspire the townspeople to trust each other, to trust their way of thinking, and to spark a reawakening of the universal indigenous values of reciprocity and interconnectedness. This project also inspired a self-help movement in Indian Country that continues to this day. The movie is dedicated to Wilma Mankiller’s vision, compassion and incredible grace.