Mankiller follows the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, from her childhood in Oklahoma, through her family's relocation to San Francisco, as well as her return to Oklahoma and her rise to power within the Cherokee Nation.
In 1985, with her people feeling deeply disenfranchised by the US government, Wilma Mankiller took office as the Cherokee Nation's first female principal chief. Having relocated from Oklahoma to San Francisco earlier in her life, Mankiller worked with the Black Panthers and the Alcatraz occupation movement, eventually bringing the passion and experience she gained in those movements back to her people. During her decade-long tenure as principal chief and beyond, Mankiller's leadership enabled the Cherokee Nation to become one of the most economically and culturally successful tribes in America.
Through rare archival footage and interviews with activists including Gloria Steinem, as well as with Mankiller herself, veteran filmmaker Valerie Red-Horse and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd present a portrait of a composed and assured leader who persevered through devastating personal setbacks to become one of the greatest activist leaders in American history.